Arsenal make fans renew season tickets BEFORE end of season

The sneaky Arsenal board have set a ridiculously early deadline for Club Level renewals and strongly hinted that season ticket renewals will also have to be confirmed before this season has even finished.

In a statement today, CEO Ivan Gazidis announced:

“Supporters wishing to renew Club Level season tickets have until April 10, 2012 to guarantee their seats for next season. The process for supporters to renew Gold Level season tickets will start in April.”

So not only do Club Level holders have to stump up an extra 2% this year, but they must commit at a time when there will still be seven league games to go and the fate of European qualification will probably be undecided. I can only speculate as to what the Gold Level process “will start in April” means, but logic dictates a commitment to renewing will need to be made then as well.

Ivan Gazidis

Give us your money Gooners so I can keep drawing my £2m salary

So why are Arsenal taking this unusual step? Last year’s equivalent announcement was on May 4th, today is February 23rd — why so early this season? It’s purely because they don’t want supporters to know if we’ll be in the Champions League before deciding whether to renew or not.

The 6.5% price hike last season drew massive criticism and fans began to question whether paying the highest prices in Europe to watch a declining, under-motivated side win nothing for six years was value for money anymore. They certainly would think twice if European football wasn’t on offer so Arsenal have cynically side-stepped this issue by demanding an early decision.

They’ve also dodged the very pertinent query raised by the AST this week of whether there would be a price reduction for season tickets should we fail to qualify for the Champions League. Today’s announcement is an emphatic ‘No chance’ to that. Instead, Arsenal have simply ignored the AST and attempted to put a positive spin on the news, opening their statement with:

“Arsenal Football Club has announced a price freeze on General Admission season-ticket renewals for next season. The move means 35,000 existing Gold Level season-ticket holders will see no price increase in watching games at Emirates Stadium for the forthcoming campaign.”

Well after last summer’s increases I should bloody well think so. That price hike was hard to take for most fans and ultimately only raised about £3m for the club. A few weeks later Arsenal made a £17m profit from summer transfers — was the rise really necessary?

Gazidis continues with more shameless spin:

“Our season-ticket holders are the heart of our Club and we are recognising their loyalty by holding their ticket prices for next season.”

Bullshit. If you want to ‘recognise our loyalty’ wait until the end of the season to see whether or not we qualify for Europe and set next season’s prices accordingly. By not doing so you’re ensuring we have to pay Champions League prices again irrespective of whether we get to see any Champions League football.

This unprecedented move is yet another example of an increasingly cynical board treating us more as customers than fans. I still remember Arsenal Commercial Director Tom Fox commenting on our 40,000 season ticket waiting list a while back:

“As a US sports executive… you think, you’re not charging enough for tickets.”

And hey presto, a 6.5% increase. I understand it makes economic sense, but in terms of fans already paying top-dollar that is not being re-invested properly in the team, it smacks of exploitation to raise prices even further in such hard economic times. Which of course is what last summer’s price hike was — exploitation.

I now look forward to more spin from the board to help convince us fans to renew. I still remember what Gazidis said last June as reported in The Independent:

“Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has told his club’s fans he shares a “profound disappointment” with them but has promised a busy summer in the transfer market as the club look to end their six-year trophy drought.”

It was indeed busy, but not in the way Gazidis had spun it. He was trying to placate angry fans and make them think Arsenal were about to bring in real quality to improve the team, but instead we sold two of our best players and then panic bought on deadline day.

He misled us, which is something I’ve gotten more and more used to recently. It’s like the club insisting there’s 60,000 at every home game despite 10,000 empty seats. I don’t want to know how many tickets were sold for the match, I want to know how many people attended it. That’s what an attendance figure should show. But to admit disillusioned fans aren’t coming to games anymore doesn’t sit nicely with this board’s agenda.

Now there are stories running from ‘sources close to the club’ that we will have £100m to spend next season and that we’re about to smash our wage structure to keep van Persie and buy Gotze. Hmmm, I wonder who these ‘sources’ are?

Sadly, I expect more spin and lies from the likes of Gazidis in the coming weeks to persuade us to renew.

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Comments
  1. NorthBankLegend

    The club are very clever, they will see early on the level of season ticket renewals and will then had sell any Club Level tickets left unsold.

    The club should allow fans to opt in or out of cup games as part of season ticket.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  2. Jason X

    The club aren’t clever, they are sneaky as the author says.

    Good article exposing their real motives.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  3. AshburtonMark

    There are times when I’m proud to be a season ticket holding Gooner…. this ain’t one of them. Just getting mugged off…again!

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  4. Highburyhonker

    Unfortunately a very accurate article. Our club is taking the support of loyal fans for granted. We cannot afford to pay the highest season tickets in world football, whilst seeing our money not being reinvested.
    I will support Arsenal all my life, however the people who are running the club are ‘business’ people, the club a ‘product’. I would suggest that the Board,Gazidis and Kroenke are mere custodians of our club. We will still be supporting The Arsenal long after they have gone.
    We deserve to see our hard earned cash being put into top players, get rid of the deadwood. There are so many players on our books who will NEVER make it, Release them. In contrast, those who do well want to leave to play for Barcelona, Madrid or reap in the cash at Man Citeh.
    Wenger has too much power, he seems to think that players have his level of loyalty and morality and integrity, get someone who can deal with players and agents, otherwise our quality players, Van Persie, then Wilshire, then the OX will leave. We will be left with Djourou, Squillachi and Abou Diaby.

    Always Arsenal

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

    • Gooner Steve

      I totally agree. Unfortunately, the ‘deadwood’ is not so easy to release. Witness Denilson, Bendtner and Vela on loan because we can’t even give them away due to their large wages that no other club will match.

      The dross that Wenger has assembled are mostly on long contracts and will be here for years to come sucking wages out of the club.

      Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  5. TC

    Already made my decision after 49 years of going 35 a season ticket holder – no more – watch on the TV and pick up a ticket now and then. Giving Djouurou a new contract is the last straw. They’ve lied too often and I simply have lost faith in the Wenger/Arsenal board spin city.

    PS: 5 friend also chucking it in after 20-30 years.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  6. McRogers

    There is no ridiculous waiting list, for season tickets! Someone i know who was well into 5 figures 1 year before, got a season ticket last year!

    It’s already difficult enough, We get council tax, water rates, Gas & Elec all at the same time, so if this story is true, i know which one is most definately going to go. Coupled with the economic crisis going on, it show how out of touch the decision makers are, with not only the supporters but also whats going on their in real life.

    Loyalty only stays if at the very least it is appreciated, and this seems like a blatent attempt to shove it up the preverbial.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. goonermichael

    My son has been on the waiting list for 5 years. He started on 49,000+ He is now on 31,000+ your friend must be on a different list

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  8. BigL

    @goonermichael

    I have been on the list for about 7 years. I stated at about 40k. After 2 years I was offered a ticked but declined. I’m now at around 3k.
    I will decline this time around again.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. goonermichael

    My son is being victimised then

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. McRogers

    @ goonermichael, he’s not a mate of mine, just someone i see at the emirates, i must confess i didn’t ask for documentary evidence!

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. BigL

    @goonermichael I have no idea how the list works.
    When I was offer the ticket i was at around 30k. Last year I heard about people at around 25k being offered tickets while I was at around 11k and heard nothing. I think if you turn them down you are over looked for advancing the list next time around.

    I am actually on the list twice which might be why they contacted me because it was for 2 season tickets. They probably target pairs and fill in the singles after.

    My 2 cents

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. TeeCee

    I know several people who were between 10,000th and 13000th on the ST waiting list last season who were offered tickets at the start of this season. I would expect at least 5000 people not to renew for next season as well. Everything about our club stinks at the moment, mis-management at every level, lies and BS from the manager, it’s a disgrace. I gave up my ST this season after having it for 31 years. I will not be rushing to get another!

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  13. Gooner Steve

    Who knows how the club decide who to offer season tickets to and when — I’ve even heard there is more than one list.

    What I do know is that judging from the reaction across the internet today, and from people like TC above, all of you are very likely to be offered one this summer! :)

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. rellends

    the board think we are stupid. every time gazidis opens his mouth i hate him more.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  15. BigL

    I just read that Stan will be at the game on Sunday.
    Please give him some grief if you are going

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  16. goonermichael

    a Season Ticket – Position on list: 21792

    It’s dropped quite a bit very recently.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. DanS

    The season ticket waiting list is the biggest lie teams tell their fans, well except maybe “we’ve got a big transfer budget this year and intend on using it.” Back when I lived in Tampa, the Bucs always had this thousands long waiting list. Yet if you had the money, tickets would magically be found for you within a day or so. Beware of the Americanization of your leagues.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  18. hobo

    Great article… if only our boys were as passionate about our club perhaps we wouldnt be in such a mess…. or should i say if only most of our boys weren’t infact our boys then we would not be in this mess. It is true most of our squad is second rate & not fit to wear the badge. Would i trust Wenger to spend this fictitious money pot we supposedly have coming on the type of player fit to wear the badge…. not anymore & that is said with a heavy heart. Its time for change Gents!

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. Big Tall Paul

    I upgraded to club level after being a normal season ticket holder for 15 years and I also attend around half the away games. I emailed the club yesterday asking why the prive increase as I felt it was morally wrong and why the early renewal when we wont know what we are paying for? This was there reply:

    “With regards to increasing Club Level prices, the board has made this decision in order to keep pace with our own rising operating costs. On average the Club has kept the increase below the annual rate of inflation, and I can see that the price of your seat has increased by 2%. The club continues to make improvements to club level where possible to provide platinum members with the highest level of hospitality as possible.
    We have approximately 45,000 season ticket holders so historically we have always introduced Club Level renewals at this time of year in order to stager the renewal process for our all of our members. Whilst I also appreciate the fact that we will not know definitively whether we will be playing in the Champions or Europa League, the club level offer is inclusive package regardless of the number of first team fixtures we host.

    The increase is a reflection on the money that have been reinvested in the club level facilities over the last two seasons which is not something that has happened on the GA levels.

    Our intentions are not to alienate our Platinum Members but to continue to provide the best service in the best facility we can.”

    It’s interesting that they dont consider the number or quality of games to have any impact on the price of the season ticket as long as they upgrade one bar each year?? Sadly I think the only way they will change is when half of the stadium seats are both empty and UNPAID for.

    This is the final straw for me and I will not be renewing, not because we havent won a trophy but because they are charging us the highest prices in Europe and not re-investing in the team. As for the £100m to spend on players leak around renewals time, forgive me if I dont belive it and see it as a cynical move. Why wasnt some of it spent in January to help secure 4th place??

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • Gooner Steve

      Thanks for sharing that email.

      It’s interesting that they focus on the upgrade in hospitality as an excuse a reason for increasing the price. What they fail to realise is that we are first and foremost fans and want to see an improved team, not an improved bar.

      Like you say, maybe they’ll get the message when there aren’t enough people left to drink at their swanky new bar.

      Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. John

    Also a club level season ticket holder since Emirates opened and a supporter for nearly 50 years. I love the club but just feel its there to suck money from me now if we do not qualify for champs league the club get at least £500 from me for nothing. By time I have travelled up to London I have spent thousands over last few years, I hate to say it but on moral grounds I an unlikely to re new and will probably watch another team (Charlton season ticket is £240!!)

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0