Newsletter – February 2016

It would be fair to say it has been a busy month for the CST, both at a Chelsea level and on wider issues.

Premier League Ticket Pricing

The topic of ticket pricing for Premier League was successfully highlighted by the 10,000 Liverpool supporters who left Anfield after 77 minutes. This achieved widespread publicity and succeeded in placing Premier League ticket prices firmly on the news agenda and creating a healthy head of steam. The fact that Liverpool subsequently climbed down and froze prices shows what supporter activism can achieve.
Representatives from the CST have met with senior club executives to discuss ticket prices and we published a statement on the issue last week. We are in dialogue with other trusts as well as the Football Supporters Federation with regard to identifying tactics for a concerted campaign and will have representation at a meeting to be held shortly, which will have representatives from a number of PL trusts, to discuss goals, tactics and next steps. We will keep you posted regarding developments.
Coincidentally, the Trust has been contacted by a research student at Loughborough University who is working on a project to ascertain maximum price supporters would be willing to pay to watch Premier League games. You can make your views known by filling his questionnaire out here.

Chelsea Safety Advisory Group

Further to the item in the January newsletter, it is pleasing to be able to report that the CST will be invited to pre-meetings in advance of future Safety Advisory Groups (SAG’s), and also to post-meeting briefings. We will also get sight of the agenda in advance and have been advised that any safety or security issues we raise in advance will be covered at the meeting.
SAG meetings take place twice yearly and include attendees from Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Chelsea FC, Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police, Fire Brigade etc. It has always seemed anomalous that there was no supporter input and, though in time we would hope to have representation at the meeting itself, this is undoubtedly progress. The next meeting is scheduled for July and, in good time for that meeting, we will be asking supporters for issues they would like us to raise.

Brompton Cemetery

The CST board is very pleased to announce that in conjunction with The Friends of Brompton Cemetery and The Royal Parks we will hold our first volunteers day to assist with the cemetery “tidy up” and grave tending, on Saturday March 26th at 11.00am.
There are a number of graves closely associated with Chelsea FC and several of these are inaccessible due to overgrowth. Chelsea Football Club has kindly agreed to provide us with any tools and safety gloves we might need.
There are already a number of people who have expressed an interest in helping us on the day and we hope this will be the first of many such events. Further details will be released to members nearer the time but if you are interested in coming along please email enquiries@chelseasupporterstrust.com using the subject header ‘Brompton Cemetery’.

Chelsea Pitch Owners AGM

The CPO AGM, held at Stamford Bridge on 29th January, was attended by a fair number of CST members, with total attendance around 150. It was a fascinating meeting. It was clear that the vast majority of those present were implacably opposed to any attempt by the club, or the owner, to buy back the freehold to Stamford Bridge. Of course it is unclear whether any such attempt will be made, but it is clear that if an attempt is made, there will be widespread opposition. One to watch in the months ahead, though any move to acquire the freehold is unlikely to happen until planning permission is granted.
The CPO Chairman’s statement, by Charles Rose, and the results of the AGM resolutions, can be found here. We strongly recommend CST members purchase a CPO share – details on how to do so can be found at the same link.

PSG Away

We hope all members who travelled to Paris had a safe and enjoyable trip. Representations were made to the club with regard to the inconvenient location of the ticket collection point in Paris and the wristband process. We will be pursuing the excessive ticket prices charged to Chelsea supporters with UEFA. We will also be raising with them other problems experienced by supporters including the queuing problems in the Metro station after the game, which also occurred in previous years. If you had any specific issues or problems out there, please let us know via enquiries@chelseasupporterstrust.com, using the subject heading ‘PSG’, and we will take them up as appropriate.

Next Special General Meeting

We are having severe problems identifying a suitable location for our next SGM. Members will be notified as soon as we have a date and location.

FA Cup Final Ticket Allocations

Following a campaign by the Football Supporters Federation and a lot of hard work by Tim Payton of Arsenal Supporters Trust, the FA have agreed that each team competing in the
FA Cup Final should get an extra 3,500 tickets, which is clearly good news. A CST representative, together with reps from Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool trusts, saw FA executives on a range of issues including final ticket allocations a couple of years ago and it is very pleasing that this issue has been successfully taken forward. You can read about this here.
It is worth remembering that in the 1967 FA Cup Final, Chelsea and Spurs only received 16,000 tickets each so the situation has certainly improved over the past fifty years, though clearly in an ideal world the two clubs would get the vast majority of tickets.

Fans’ Forum

The next Chelsea Fans Forum is on 20th April. If you have any issues you would like raised by the Trust rep, Debbie Coady, please let us know at email address: enquiries@chelseasupporterstrust.com, using the subject heading ‘Fans Forum’.

Calling All Designers

The Club has announced a public competition to design the main gates for the new stadium. Details can be found here.

Transport Information

Advance train ticket alerts from thetrainline.com. Please be aware fixtures are subject to change due to television demands, before booking: http://www.thetrainline.com/ticketalert/football/premier-league

Get a third off rail fares with the Two Together Railcard. http://www.twotogetherrailcard.co.uk/

Travel to the Bridge by train? Weekend travel news from TfL: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/livetravelnews/realtime/track.aspx?offset=weekend

Follow TfL travel status & updates on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TfLTravelAlerts

Statement re Ticket Pricing – 9 February 2016

Chelsea Supporters Trust – 9 February 2016

Ticket Pricing – Statement of the Chelsea Supporters Trust

The issue of Premier League (PL) ticket pricing has, rightly, hit the headlines in recent days. Television money is not being used to cap or reduce ticket prices, as many supporters hoped, but to further fill the wallets of players and agents. For certain clubs to increase prices of tickets at this time shows an arrogant disregard for their supporters that is breath-taking to behold.

There are supporter-related issues which affect Chelsea supporters specifically, and the Chelsea Supporters Trust will continue to campaign on those. The future of Chelsea Pitch Owners, the proposed move to an as-yet-unspecified temporary stadium and the proposed redevelopment of Stamford Bridge are all enormously important issues to Chelsea supporters that we shall seek to influence club thinking on.

There are also wider issues where Chelsea are one of a number of clubs involved and pan-club campaigning is clearly more effective. Ticket pricing is obviously one of these. Discussion at the Chelsea Fans Forum is never going to be remotely as effective as a cohesive and motivated campaign involving supporters from a host of PL clubs.

The CST board wrote a letter to the club two weeks ago asking, among other things, for the following:-

  • A freeze on all ticket prices in all categories for the three years of the new TV contract
  • New money to be set aside to allocate every club a one million pound per season Away Supporter’s Initiative fund, an end to away match categorisation and a cap on away ticket prices
  • Price reductions for 18-21 year-old fans – the future generation of supporters

A similar letter was sent by a number of other PL trusts to their clubs. As a result of that letter, representatives from the CST board were invited to a discussion with senior Chelsea executives. The points made in the letter were reiterated to the club executives as part of a wider discussion on ticketing and related issues. This meeting took place the day before last week’s widely-publicised Premier League shareholders meeting where ticket pricing was discussed. The Chelsea announcement on season and match ticket prices is usually made in late February or early March and it will be very interesting to see what stance Chelsea take.

To their credit, Chelsea have frozen Stamford Bridge ticket prices for most of the past decade, albeit from a very high base, and spend more than double the allocated £200,000 on the Away Supporter’s Initiative. The extra money coming into the game, though, gives them more flex to be imaginative with regard to pricing initiatives, as it does every PL club. Pricing strategy at the temporary home, wherever that is, will be both a challenge and an opportunity for Chelsea. It will be a challenge to ensure crowd optimisation and an opportunity to nurture young supporters.

The publicity generated by 10-12,000 supporters leaving Anfield on 77 minutes last Saturday shows that supporter-driven protest can work and praise is due to the organisers for making this happen. Liverpool are now clearly on the back foot after their ill-advised pricing strategy announcement. To his great credit Jamie Carragher has publicly spoken out against exploitative ticket pricing and Jurgen Klopp has asked that the issue be resolved. If influential figures within the game are actively saying enough is enough and the exploitation of supporter loyalty has gone too far, then the tide is clearly turning. The challenge is to effectively utilise this changing mood to try and effect a sustained reduction in prices for all Premier League matches.

The torrent of television money coming into the game should not be allowed to disappear into the pockets of players and agents, what Alan Sugar once called ‘the prune juice effect’. Why should the loyalty and commitment of the lifeblood of the game, match-going supporters, be continually abused? It seems clear that more and more supporters, across all PL clubs, increasingly feel this way. The trick now is to build on and utilise that dissatisfaction to make a difference.

Supporter Trusts are organised, have effective media relationships, ongoing member dialogue and talk to each other. The sports media in general seem less patronising and more supportive of legitimate supporter concerns than at any time in the past and this clearly helps getting messages across to supporters and the wider public.

It is clear that there is a wide desire to build on the publicity generated in recent days and the CST will be active participants in forthcoming discussions as to the most effective way to nationally campaign on PL ticket pricing in the weeks, months and years ahead, building on existing initiatives. It is too early to say what form future campaigning will take, but we will aim to keep CST members and the wider Chelsea supporter base fully informed and engaged.

Download the above Statement re ticket pricing 9 February 2016 in pdf format.

Regards
Tim Rolls, Chair
On behalf of the Chelsea Supporters Trust board

Chelsea Supporters Trust
Making your voice heard

Email: enquiries@chelseasupporterstrust.com
Twitter: @ChelseaSTrust
Facebook: /ChelseaSupportersTrust
Website: www.chelseasupporterstrust.com