Filed: Friday, 18th May 2012
By: Staff Writer
The Football League have been forced to issue a statement after they were contacted by hundreds of angry ticketless West Ham supporters ahead of tomorrow's Chapionship play-off final against Blackpool.
The League, who are responsible for the ticketing fiasco that will result in up to 10,000 empty seats at Wembley tomorrow claimed that Blackpool were equally at fault by requesting an allocation almost identical to that of West Ham's, of which roughly one quarter remain unsold.
In an email to a KUMB.com member earlier today, a representative of the governing body said: "Blackpool requested approximately 38,000 tickets with West Ham having slightly more than 39,000.
"The last time Blackpool were in a Championship play-off Final in 2010 they sold approximately 37,000 tickets. Therefore a request for a similar allocation this time was not considered to be inappropriate and obviously both clubs deserve to be treated equally and fairly."
However in the statement released this afternoon on football-league.co.uk, the FL insisted that it was "unreasonable" to expect them to have amended the process so that empty seats could have been returned and given to some of the thousands of West Ham supporters who will not now be able to attend the game.
""The Football League and Wembley Stadium have co-operated to provide West Ham United with more than 40,000 tickets for the Championship Play-Off Final, the largest ticket allocation a club has received since this match returned to Wembley," read their missive.
"Given the need to segregate supporters in seating, concourse and turnstile areas, the only way of providing West Ham with a greater number of tickets would have been to restrict Blackpool's ticket allocation to 30,000 at the outset of the ticket sales process.
"However, with Blackpool having sold more than 36,000 tickets for this same match two seasons ago, that would have been unreasonable."
The lack of availble tickets has led to several hundred Hammers purchasing seats in the opposition end. Far from avoiding potential problems with regards to segregtion, the Football League's short-sighted policy only appears to have increased the chance of potential problems.
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05:10PM 20th May 2012
''@micktpr: So you'd be happy with West Ham playing Man Utd at Wembley and West Ham getting an allocation of 20,000 with Man U fans in the West Ham end?
As the article states, we sold 37k tickets two years ago and expected the same, hence started selling in all sections from the get go. Once one ticket was sold to a Blackpool fan in each section it was impossible to reverse and with an online/ticket master booking process this was bound to happen. Nobody can explain why 7k didn't go this time other than the simple reason Blackpool have just as many plastic supporters as West Ham and every club do.
Clamourring for 50k tickets when you average 30k each week? There are empty seats at Upton Park every week too.''
09:30PM 18th May 2012
''Yet again the true supporters get screwed by the football authorities. We spend our hard earned cash to follow our team all over the country but that don't matter. I bet that all of the Football League hangers-on and their stuffed suits will have as many complimentary tickets as they can get!''
05:56PM 18th May 2012
''I'm not suprised at this monumental cock-up at all, the football authorities in the UK are a joke. Some of us sit here desperate for a ticket and the stadium won't be full, a great advert for the Championship eh? ''
04:13PM 18th May 2012
''How have West Ham fans managed to buy tickets in the Blackpool end? You had to have a history of purchasing tickets to get one, didn't you?''
04:04PM 18th May 2012
''What they should do is base the ticket allocation to clubs based, pro rata, on the average home attendance each week for the season. I don't care about Blackpool fans who never attend matches not being able to get a ticket for Wembley. At least we support our club through thick and thin even if we are terrible, over-expectant whingers!''