Please find below letter we have just EMailed to West Ham.
Supporters Services Manager,
West Ham United FC.,
London E20 2ST.
September 26th 2019.
Many of our members are expressing concern about the distribution of tickets to our away matches. and we write on their behalf accordingly.Hammers United eagerly await your response to the views expressed in this letter as well as the practical suggestion that has been put forward.
Football. Football is a unique entity. If you ask someone why they have chosen their football club or what their football club means to them, typical responses are likely to share key elements. People might describe themselves as fans or supporters, possibly prefacing those descriptions with another term, such as loyal. They might reference family or community and the sense of attachment and belonging that they feel and experience.
If a football club were to be viewed as a business, and those who spend money at that football club viewed as customers, then this would be a true ‘one of kind’ business operating in a true ‘one of a kind’ market. If Football were a business, it would be a unique one. This would be a business that could turn a profit without customers of its own yet a business where it’s own customers will return, unconditionally, to invest their time and money. A lot of time and a lot of money. The business would not need to market itself to attract custom, it would not need to provide a service to keep it’s customers, it would not need a complex pricing strategy to entice customers and would not have to worry about customers leaving to invest time and money with a rival.
So whether you view West Ham United as a business with customers or a football club with fans and supporters, you cannot argue against the fact that it’s position is unique.
So a question arises. Should the football club look after it’s fans? Or, to ask the same question from another viewpoint, should the business value it’s customers? Financially, it might not be a requirement. Morally, it is surely a must.
Football clubs don’t appear to respond to that question with a consistent answer. There are many examples that demonstrate this. The specific example Hammers United would like to focus on at this point is the travelling fan. This fan often commits huge sums of money and vast expanses of their time to following their team away from home. Should they be looked after? Should they be valued?
Some clubs, on the face of it, would appear to answer the question with a resounding ‘yes’. Ticket details might be released at the earliest opportunity, travel might be subsidised or paid for all together, letters of recognition might be received, gifts might even be bestowed on supporters as they come through the turnstiles in the away end. At present, there is a feeling among our members, that West Ham United might answer that question a little differently. Does West Ham United value it’s loyal travelling support and should it look after those fans?
We are not writing asking for any gesture, such as those listed above, that would cost the club money. Nor a measure of value that would require additional thought, creativity or a great deal of time. We are suggesting something that is free, simple and straightforward to implement: Transparency.
The travelling fan keeps a close eye on their chances of acquiring tickets to away games. If they can’t acquire tickets they look into what they might do to put themselves in a position to acquire them in the future. A lack of transparency around how tickets are sold leads to confusion on this front. A fan or supporter who is valued, would be made to feel valued by being informed.
In practical terms, this would be something as simple as publishing which groups of supporters are purchasing the allocated tickets for any given away game. The travelling fan would then feel informed. They would know which group they would have to belong to, to enable them to secure tickets in future. For example, how many tickets were sold to Away Season Ticket Holders, how many to Corporate Season Ticket Holders, how many to Bondholders and how many to each level of Priority Points holder.
We would like to engage with West Ham United on the matter of transparency and looking after fans and supporters. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this specific topic as well as the sentiment expressed here. We believe a positive step in the specific area of away ticketing will act as a welcome symbol of the clubs stance and intent.
Joint Secretary.Hammers United.
We are doing our best to improve things for West Ham supporters.
Check out our website www.hammersunited.com