AFC Bournemouth’s behind the scenes administrative problems appear to be continuing as hundreds of loyal fans are set to be disappointed this Sunday.
The club has struggled to get to grips with its ticketing problems meaning that many fans who have purchased Season Tickets for the forthcoming Premier League season have been left high and dry. The result is long queues of disgruntled fans outside the club – with some reporting that the club was refusing to issue tickets that they had paid for months ago.
Many are still waiting for their season tickets to arrive just 24 hours before the new season begins and it appears that what they thought might have been a slight oversight by the club or even a case of a few lost tickets in the post is actually a far more serious problem.
With phone lines jammed, emails unanswered and tweets ignored, many have resorted to travelling to Dean Court to try to collect tickets that should have arrived weeks ago. The club later advised any supporters who hadn’t received tickets that they should make the journey to the ground to collect them.
Unfortunately for many cherries fans, even waiting in the long queues proved fruitless with many being turned away empty-handed. Scenes of crying children and angry parents were witnessed with one irrate fan who didn’t wish to be named commenting: “I didn’t think things could get any worse after last year’s ticketing fiasco but it seems nobody knows what’s happening and the club is in even more of a mess than it was last year. I’ve just queued for over 2 hours to try to collect my season ticket which I bought at the beginning of July, only to be told I can’t have it as my seat has been sold to someone else.”
This appears to be a familiar story with other supporters confirming they’d been told the same thing. It doesn’t look good for a club that is struggling to come to terms with the commercial aspects of running a Premier League football club and has tested the patience of many long-suffering fans.
Brian Case, Life Begins Magazine’s Sales Manager is one of the affected fans and is resigned to the fact he won’t be seeing the glittering season opener against Manchester United: “My season ticket hadn’t arrived so I thought I ought to ring and find out what happened. I waited for over an hour on the phone lines only to be given an automated message at the end of the queue to say the lines are busy and try later, I was then cut off.”
After taking to Social Media to voice his annoyance, Mr Case was contacted by AFC Bournemouth’s Commercial Director Rob Mitchell who told him it was too late to post missing tickets out and that he would have to go to the ground to collect them. A bit of an inconvenience but a simple solution – if only.
“I jumped in the car in my lunch hour to perform the simple task of collecting the tickets in person from the ground, but when I got there, there were long queues with many saying they’d been there for ages. There was no dedicated queue for collecting season tickets and I was left waiting in a long queue behind people trying to buy tickets for other games. I spoke to a few people there who’d been turned away because they didn’t have proof of purchase”.
Reports suggest that although the club took people’s money for season tickets, the ticketing system didn’t register the purchase or issue a receipt and so many seats have been resold again. With no proof of purchase, the fans have been left locked out of Sunday’s game.
Charlotte Giddins, mother of 16 year old Thomas Giddins who is also a disabled supporter who hasn’t received his ticket said: “I’m so angry, it’s a complete shambles. My son is disabled and football is one of the few things he’s really passionate about and it really cheers him up. He was so excited about the new season and seeing the first game against Man Utd but his ticket hasn’t arrived and it looks like it won’t now. Life is difficult enough for us without being told we have to now go down to the ground and queue. With my son’s disabilities, it’s not that easy, so it looks like he will now miss the game and we’re still none the wiser about when the fiasco will be sorted out. I’m not sure how the club is going to compensate supporters but any compensation is going to seem a bit thin compared to missing one of the biggest games of the season. I haven’t had the heart to tell him the bad news yet”.
Mrs Giddins story is not an isolated one and long queues are expected tomorrow (Saturday) and on Sunday before the game. The club have announced the ticket office will be open from 9am – 5pm on Saturday and from 8.30am on Sunday and supporters are advised to visit the club with proof of purchase. If they have no proof of purchase, fans should take a bank or credit card statement to show the payment for their season ticket.
Life Begins Magazine tried to contact AFC Bournemouth for comment but we were unable to make any contact due to the high amount of traffic on the clubs phone lines.
*BREAKING NEWS* News is coming out that the club have advised that supporters should where possible take a bank statement with them to prove the date they made their season ticket purchase. In some cases, it seems the club have sold season tickets for the same seat twice. They will need to see evidence of who paid for their ticket first. The club have not made any official announcement regarding this nor have they confirmed this but feedback from cherries fans is suggesting that this is the case.