Don’t forget the fans

Image by Thomas Gadd (copyright Bradford City)

By Rod Lawson

Are fans being taken advantage of? The cancelled games at Colchester and rearranged (twice) Macclesfield are examples which highlight the impact of such developments on the ordinary supporter. The way that these situations have been handled appears to be very poor. This includes all the clubs involved and the governing body, the EFL.

Looking at social media and indeed based on personal information, it appears that a number of City fans have been adversely affected by poor planning. Bradford City supporters bought tickets for Colchester United – this has included match and train, plus a number have booked hotels – only to be notified, a mere 10 days before the fixture, that it had been postponed. Now some of these costs may well be recoverable, but supporters are often in danger of losing considerable sums of money.

In respect of the Colchester game, many simply will not be able to make a midweek evening match, in the middle of winter which is a substantial distance away. There will be no trains back until the following day, and driving for about four and a half hours would mean getting home in the middle of the night. How on earth could young supporters, who potentially would miss two days of school, get to the game?

Surely when Colchester knew that there was a strong possibility that they would seek to cancel the game, due to international commitments of their players, they could have held onto tickets until the position became clear? It seems morally incumbent on any team in such a position that they should not put the tickets on sale until there was final clarification. If for whatever reason (commercial/revenue) they decide they cannot do this, there should be a clear written warning to any purchaser that the match could be postponed. In effect ‘caveat emptor’ (buyer beware)!

To ensure that there is an even-handed approach, the EFL could adopt specific rules which delayed the release of tickets until clarification was achieved, as to whether or not a match was due to be cancelled, due to three players or more being called away on international duty. Given the plethora of rules and regulations the EFL have, then this is something which they could do, a clear instruction would assist supporters in planning which games they can attend.

As such I believe that Bradford City should approach the EFL on this issue and that it is placed on the agenda for a forthcoming meeting of the EFL. Bradford City championing such a proposal would be seen as a demonstrable commitment to focusing on the welfare of its own supporters. It would assist if any minutes were released, so that supporters could understand what importance the EFL gave to the matter.

In regard to the Macclesfield game, the debacle of rearranging it for Tuesday 26th November, only to rearrange it once again, a mere six days later, to Saturday 30th November, is indicative of exceptionally poor planning and perhaps the needs of Macclesfield Town, superseding those of supporters.

I anticipate the new date will suit City, but they also have a ‘duty of care’, and need to think through the implications, before they agree to such changes. I understand a number of City supporters had returned their tickets, on the belief that the game would go ahead on a Tuesday evening, only to discover it had been moved to the Saturday. Apparently, some had even booked overnight accommodation in Macclesfield for the Tuesday match and will now struggle to get a refund.

Supporters are being treated poorly, arguably with contempt. This is not a (Bantams) Family friendly approach. If Bradford City demonstrate a tangible commitment, then it is demonstrable evidence that they are practically promoting the interests of supporters. Going the extra mile if you will.

Categories: Opinion

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11 replies

  1. Why didn’t the clubs and the EFL wait until after our cup replay to rearrange the Macclesfield match? I’m glad they moved it to the Saturday but they should just have waited.

    • exactly I ended up having to return my tickets for a refund because it was changed to the tuesday….pain in the arse to then see it back on a saturday.

      But then I bet the colchester game gets re-arranged for a tuesday night when it makes more sense for a saturday with the distance!! Madness!!

  2. surely it would have been better to rearrange the Colchester game for Saturday and left the Macclesfield game on Tuesday

  3. I fully agree. I’ve been hit by the Macclesfield change of plan. That was easily preventable: an either/or announcement would have been OK, for example. I can only get a refund if I turn up at the ticket office, it appears, – a round trip of 290 miles for me!

  4. Totally agree; so those who bought tickets for the original Macclesfield fixture, then got a refund, would’ve had to go to the ticket office 3 times, if they wanted to go to the rearranged date. It shows a complete disregard for supporters and a complete lack of common sense, as has already been mentioned, why couldn’t they have waited to see if we were knocked out of the cup, before announcing the rearranged date I really don’t know. Really poor.

  5. All the comments you have raised are spot on. I really hope our club can take them forward and be instrumental in affecting a change.

  6. Some very valid points by Rod.
    I’ve a friend who works away mid-week who was planning on attending the Tuesday evening game at Macclesfield. However, now that it’s reverted back to a Saturday, he won’t be attending as he lives in north east England.
    In the past, I have heard about supporters of top division teams getting frustrated because of the fact that games get moved for television reasons.
    As is often the case, the supporters are viewed by some as third rate citizens.

  7. Okay so I’m an overseas supporter so not affected (directly), BUT was only talking to my son about the scheduling and the effect on our true local supporters only a few days ago.
    I admire your dedication that you go to these lengths to follow our beloved BCFC.
    Another great article by WOAP

  8. I agree that the Colchester match would have been far better on Saturday 30th of November and Macclesfield to be in January on a Tuesday evening…but would either club (Colchester and Macclesfield) have agreed to that schedule ? My friend was going to Colchester from North Cheshire on the original Saturday.and could have made Sat 30th November..but doubt midweek in January will be possible. Thankfully as we both now reside in North Cheshire Macclesfield has never been an issue on either the Tuesday or Saturday rearrangements, byt that doesn’t help other supporters not just 20 mikes away ftom Macc.

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