It’s been a good extended weekend. Hell, an excellent one – lots of good friends, good music and good food and drink and some not too bad weather either made my first trip to Bearded Theory a raucous success. As well as getting the opportunity to see many of my favourite bands – The Levellers, Ferocious Dog, 3 Daft Monkeys et al, there was of course the chance to randomly happen upon lots of new music.
Upon getting back home yesterday though a degree of that residual good mood glow has been extinguished by the news that Nottingham Forest have decided, ostensibly as a result of fan pressure, to relocate away supporters at the City Ground to where I sit. Where I’ve already paid for next season’s ticket, so they want me to join the Hoi Polloi tomorrow as season tickets hit general sale to sift through the dregs on offer in the rest of the ground.
Rich and I have sat in block U1 on the front row for a dozen years or more – we’ve made great friends up there, love the view, the atmosphere and everything else about it. There’s nowhere else in the City Ground I would want to sit instead, so the opportunity to relocate to ‘better’ (read: more expensive) seats for no additional charge is an empty offer as far as I’m concerned. Particularly when we’ll be stuck with the higher price come renewal time this time next year!
The worst thing is those seats in the Lower Bridgford end, supposedly highly coveted by Forest fans, will be amongst the most expensive in the ground. Why anyone would pay the £150 more to sit under the away fans hurling god knows what at you compared with the comparable (crap) view at the Trent End I’m not quite sure. So the move is a neat distraction from sizeable price hikes, and as far as I can tell at the behest of a relatively small number of fans who emailed Fawaz about it.
Whether these are the people who will pack that end out for £549 a season remains to be seen. Should the consultation process conclude this move is to go ahead (the council and police will need to approve it from a safety perspective) then my seat won’t be available for home fans, I’ll be seeking a refund and not going anymore. Notwithstanding the ridiculousness of the decision, the manner in which it has been communicated (or rather, not commicated at all) to those affected is shocking.
That no actually robust survey beyond the #nffc Twitterati emailing an ‘Ask Fawaz’ session occurred is scandalous – they have our contact details, they could easily determine what number of fans would welcome a move, and what proportion would relocate to the hallowed lower tier. This is something I suspect that was decided without consideration for supporter needs – even the superficial ‘Ask Fawaz’ ones.
Whilst I realise we are mere walking wallets as far as the powers-that-be at football clubs are concerned, it looks as though this wallet at least might well be shutting itself after many years of freely and liberally helping to fund the club. Now I need to think of something else to be doing with my season ticket money and free weekends, perhaps there is a link to this new dilemma I wasn’t expecting to be facing and my opening paragraph?
Of course, it’s possible that the club will fail to get this move ratified – as I type there are council and police representatives at the City Ground presumably for that purpose. Should they raise objections, coupled with a surprising number of people who are very annoyed at the move, then we might well find the club backtracking with some excuses around safety concerns or otherwise, in the meantime because there’s a bit of a furore everyone forgets that they’ve actually made the prices rather high.
I do hope that sense prevails and this plan is quashed, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to move to an inferior location than the one that I paid in advance for a few weeks ago now.
NB: I thought I’d published this before, apparently I didn’t!