A damaging misunderstanding risks denting Bradford City’s reputation

Image by John Dewhirst

A huge City following enjoy £15 tickets at Doncaster earlier this season, but Rovers fans won’t receive the same deal this Saturday. Image by John Dewhirst

By Tim Penfold

The introduction of cheap season tickets in 2007 has been one of the best decisions that this club has made in recent history. The boost in attendances breathed new life into a club that was dying, and, when finally combined with success, has led to crowds and a home atmosphere that this club can be justifiably proud of.

It is not too much of a stretch to say that affordable football is now central to the club’s identity.

Therefore it is disappointing to see the club caught up in an argument about ticket prices with Doncaster Rovers.  In October, Doncaster announced reduced prices for our game at the Keepmoat Stadium, and stated that this was a reciprocal agreement.

Today it has emerged that, despite what Doncaster may have thought, no such agreement was in place.  The Width of a Post understands after speaking to the club that Bradford City did make this clear to Doncaster at the time, and even has a record of this.

There are parts of this situation that could’ve been handled better by the club.  Firstly, a statement should’ve been made back in October, when Doncaster made their announcement, that the deal was not, in fact, reciprocal.  Secondly, the situation today was allowed to rumble on for too long without anything being said by the club, and the statement eventually released has not convinced many fans, particularly from Doncaster.

A boycott by Doncaster’s fans would damage the club undeservedly, both in terms of reputation and financially, so if the board has more information that would stop the proposed boycott it would be wise to release it.

The reasoning given behind not reducing prices as a one-off is that it would disappoint season ticket holders.  As a season ticket holder myself, I could easily accept a one-off drop in prices to attract new fans – for someone who has not been before, £25 is a high price to pay.

A one-off drop in price could encourage new people along and turn them into season ticket holders the following year, and would also fit in with the club’s commitment to affordable football.  The goodwill that could be regained by dropping prices, particularly when the club is reliant on the support of its fans for the current “Upgrade the Parade” campaign, would make it well worth the potential drop in gate receipts.

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Categories: Opinion

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10 replies

  1. City come out of this no credit whatsoever. Massive mistake in my opinion.

  2. Totally unprofessional in terms of communication at the same time as copies of a 2013 squad photo are being sold as “rare signed photographs”.

    My last involvement with the successors to Dave Baldwin was in fundraising and producing the fallen players plaque in the 1911 reception, with John Dewhirst, not only did they not get it, they made no attempt to get it.

  3. “The reasoning given behind not reducing prices as a one-off is that it would disappoint season ticket holders.”
    I think this is a case of the club hiding behind the fans. There are many reasons why we buy season tickets – one of which is to support the club financially, as much as to gain the advantage of paying less for a seat at each game. You’d have to be a pretty mean person to resent the club offering a deal on a one-off basis to a club who had given the same advantage our fans.
    Get a grip Mason, eat some humble pie and ring Doncaster in the morning – you’ll look silly, but at least you won’t look mean.

  4. I am a season ticket holder and will be again next season and probably the ones after that too, and I have no problem with the club offering cheap tickets to visitors. The more in the ground the better, in fact the more people in Bradford the better even if they only buy a pint in a pub, or maybe have a visit to one of our museums, or Saltaire,or Haworth, whilst in the area.
    That can only benefit us all, particularly if they are made to feel welcome, they might come back.
    Thats in addition to any money they spend at VP or the atmosphere they help to generate.
    I am quite proud of my club with their cheap season ticket offer, flexi card, etc, that have made football affordable in what our joint Chairman often refers to as a “low waged City”.
    I think they could have handled this a bit better.

  5. Club should have anticipated the situation and as you say made a clear statement at the time. Consequently it’s gonna be hard to come out of this with some credibility

  6. Am I being a bit thick but why would offering £15 tickets to Donny fans affect our season ticket holders? How many City fans will sit in the away end to get a £15 ticket?
    As far as I understand, clubs can’t charge away fans more than they do home fans. So why not let Donny fans in for £15 ’cause if we don’t I’m pretty sure that next season we’ll get charged a fortune to go there.
    I’m a season ticket holder even though I’m stuck out here and would welcome any initiative to get cheaper prices for away fans and bums on seats. Too often clubs milk Bradford because of our large away following so I’m with Donny on this one (my penny’s worth).

  7. It’s blatently obvious what has happened just that the Donny board are a bit stupid and misinterpreted it. City – “We have a lot of fans who go to away games. Would you reduce your prices so we’ll get more fans down?”. Donny – “Sure. We’ll reduce the all the tickets including the home fans”. City – “Thats a good idea”…which leads Donny into thinking we would be doing the same.

  8. Apparently it’s noted in the supporter’s boards minutes that the club also turned down Barnsley’s offer of a reciprocal cheap ticket deal. So, while that perhaps backs up the claim the club didn’t enter into anything concrete with Rovers, it surely shows a certain level of disregard for OUR travelling fans who missed out on a more affordable trip to Oakwell?

  9. Whilst the feelings of us season ticket holders are important, it’s worth throwing into the mix that many non-season ticket holders attend City games, paying £25 a time, and Flexi card holders pay £10 per game. Any discussion about lowering prices for Doncaster fans should include these groups too.

  10. Just to add to many voices who have already commented here and elsewhere, as a season ticket holder, in a group of 6, then we would have no problem with a ‘reciprocal’ discounted arrangement. As a Season Ticket holder I could then benefit at the reverse fixture. In reality at £15 entry, then if you went to every match on that payment basis, it would cost £345 for a whole season.
    If the club clarified to all other clubs in the division, that it would consider say three applications for such an arrangement, then I would be in favour of it.

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