Season ticket rethink is a must to temper fans’ anger

Pompey fans have been hit by season ticket price hikes
Pompey fans have been hit by season ticket price hikes

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Pompey’s season ticket hike looks like a directive from the very top to significantly increase charges.

And that is a potentially massive own goal from owners whose motives are being openly questioned by supporters.

The size of the ticket price increases revealed last week has left many supporters rocking on their heels.

It’s not just the amounts being lumped on to the price of watching the team they love at home in the Championship next season, either.

A string of other factors are at play with the announcement of the new prices, and its leading fans to the very reasonable conclusion their loyalty is being taken for granted.

The fact they now have just over a week to take advantage of early bird prices is a source of consternation. Quite rightly, too.

Even harder to accept is the fact debit and credit cards are not being accepted for payments, meaning fans are now having to find wedges of cash or write cheques if they want the reduced rates and don’t want to take up the club’s finance offer (in which the interest-free option now has a £20 administration charge).

What hits home, though, is the size of the increases.

Adult early bird prices are up 13 per cent in the main stands, but adults in the family section paying the final price have been hit by a huge 22-per-cent rise.

Things then become even more shocking with an increase of a whopping 30 per cent for category A games tickets – or a flabbergasting 39 per cent for those bought on the day, including a new £2 extra charge for tickets purchased on matchdays.

It’s a kick in the teeth for fans and, not surprisingly, there are those who say they will no longer accept being ridden over roughshod.

All the signs were that there would be an increase in prices to reflect the increase in VAT and other factors, such as the three-per-cent Football League levy on tickets cited by Pompey.

Noises were being made to that extent from Fratton Park, and were being accepted by supporters who would have understood.

But the reality was very different when the news arrived last week – and fans are right to ask: ‘Why has this happened?’.

Pompey are working hard to build bridges with the community and supporters, whose default setting has become to doubt what they are being told after events of recent years.

Chief executive David Lampitt has made strides on that front with an open and honest approach, while those around him do likewise.

The club has made great strides in the community, recognised with the Blues picking up an honour at The News Business Excellence Awards recently. This weekend the Pompey Hall of Fame returns, and there will be high-level representation there for the first time with Lampitt present.

And on Sunday, Aaron Mokoena was short-listed at the Football League Awards for his work in the community.

This kind of progress is being hugely undermined, however, by an apparent disregard for supporters at the highest level.

As quick as these bridges are being built, they are at risk of being knocked down again by such an approach by those who ultimately call the shots at Fratton Park.

Lampitt was big enough to face fans yesterday and it wasn’t an easy ride for him, such is the strength of feeling on the issue. The signs are they are going to vote with their feet.

There has to be a rapid rethink on the matter to halt that.

As it stands, it simply underlines fans’ suspicions of the club’s owners.