JUDGING by the reaction on Twitter, Liverpool’s local ticket sale, a plan first announced in February to distribute a limited number of tickets for home games to members with an ‘L’ postcode, hasn’t pleased everyone.
Do those upset by the idea have a point?
The more I thought about it the more I realised that for many the issue wasn’t about locals being given priority for some tickets, but rather that they themselves didn’t have the same opportunity.
I can’t really get my head around any scenario in people from Eastbourne and Glasgow would be angry that people from Liverpool were given a helping hand to enter the football stadium of a club from Liverpool.
No, they were angry because it’s really difficult for them to do it, too.
The anger around the local sale is really one about access in general and it’s ground that has been well-trodden over the years.
If fans travelled from Eastbourne or Glasgow with a ticket for the Kop and the new Main Stand in their hands would they be annoyed if they entered the ground and were sat next to a Scouser with his son or daughter? Of course not. They’d be delighted to be there and they would be happy to be mixing it with a local, perhaps learning a new song or a great Scouse phrase (‘Gegging in’ remains my favourite).
The problem is that it remains incredibly difficult to get tickets for Liverpool games. Despite the paucity of success in recent times, Liverpool Football Club is still a huge draw; perhaps even more so with Jürgen Klopp in the dugout, pulling faces that scare babies.
When it was announced that a further 8,500 seats would be added to the Main Stand it sounded like a step in the right direction. It wasn’t a new ground with 90,000 seats but it was an improvement on what had gone before. It wasn’t until we started to dig into the details that we realised the issue: Less than half of the seats would be general admission, with the rest being taken up by various levels of corporate hospitality.
As fans it’s difficult not to look at that and be immensely disappointed. The club market the ‘Twelfth Man’ on a regular basis, yet between rising ticket costs and increasing hospitality sales it’s becoming harder and harder for that ‘Twelfth Man’ to get into the ground.
The club, of course, would tell you that those corporate sections are necessary to raise match-day funds through ticket sales that, in turn, will allow the team to be more competitive on the pitch.
Fans, in response, might point out that we’ve just ended a transfer window with a positive net spend and FSG didn’t invest any money at all in the building of the squad. John Henry and pals would doubtless reply that they invested a huge amount of money developing the ground in the first place.
On and on the argument will go, with both sides making entirely fair and reasonable points.
Another one that often gets overlooked is that UEFA demand stadiums have a certain level of corporate hospitality if they’re going to be considered for a five-star rating. Of course we shouldn’t be surprised that UEFA bigwigs want an area where they can be wined and dined at somebody else’s expense, but that’s a conversation for another time.
However, the reality is that having a five-star-rated stadium is a prestigious thing that would allow the ground to hold events such as the Champions League final.
Imagine if one day in the future Liverpool got to play in a European Cup final in front of the Kop. That will never happen unless the ground is developed to meet UEFA’s self-serving standards. The rights and wrongs of that can be argued forever, too, but that’s just the way it is.
The sad truth about ticketing for football matches in the 21st century is that it’s an immensely complex issue. Touts are still a major problem, but what’s the best way to combat that?
In Poland football clubs know the name and address of every person inside the ground at any given game. It’s not possible to buy tickets for Polish matches online unless you’re a Polish citizen with a PESEL number. Is that the way forward in the UK?
READ: Poles Apart: From Anfield To Arka – A Premier League Fan In Poland
If it is, then another load of problems expose themselves. How many of us have borrowed a ticket off a mate in order to attend a game? How many season tickets are in the name of a father, sister or uncle who can’t go the match for some reason or another? Where are they all ending up on match day? The tout question needs to be dealt with, but it’s folly to pretend that it’s an easy thing to sort out.
Then there’s the question of the ‘legal touts’ that come in the form of sponsorship partners such as Thomas Cook. Buy a ticket for the match through them alongside your travel and hotel and you’ll pay an extortionate price, but it’s ok because their name is on a billboard in the ground, right? Again, though, corporate partners are a necessary evil for the club to continue to raise its income.
More should be done to help kids get into the stadium on a match day. It’s why I don’t have a problem with the existence of Mighty Red. If a fella in a cormorant suit gets a couple of kids interested in the game who might not have been before and they fall in love with the club then that’s fine by me. I just don’t want to see him anywhere near the pitch, or in the circle for a minute’s silence like that dickhead at The Emirates.
Having a sale exclusively for locals is an excellent idea, in my opinion. The more people we can get into the ground from the city of Liverpool the better. That can only be good for the club in the long term.
I can totally understand why some are upset about it, but they’re not upset with the locals. They’re upset with the club for prioritising money from corporate pockets over songs from general admission voices.
The best decision FSG can make moving forward is to give the go ahead to the redevelopment of the Anfield Road End. We know that the 4,800 seats they’ve got permission to add there would be general admission and that the reason they’re reluctant to do it is because there’s no way to add a corporate section. Now is the time to do more to find a balance between raking in the corporate dough and welcoming in the average Joe.
John Henry said in an interview when the development of the Main Stand was confirmed that he felt that “it will change the future of the club”. Some people are doubting FSG’s ambition but they’re walking a tightrope between not sending themselves out of business and making the club as good as it can be.
One of the decisions they’ve made to help us return to the top of the league is to install Jürgen Klopp as manager. I wonder, if you offered Klopp one £70million player or a Main Stand full of general admission tickets making an almighty racket every week, which one of them would he prefer?
The local sale is about two per cent of tickets. It should be five per cent. It should be 10 per cent.
It should be just as easy for fans from Eastbourne and Glasgow to get into the ground as it is for fans from Tuebrook and Scottie Road.
Developing the Anfield Road end might not help a hedge fund, but it would go a long way to building some bridges with the supporters and there’s no real downside to that.
Listen to the latest *free* Anfield Wrap podcast here:
The club for should be applauded for this move. The reason this club is as big as it is is because of the heritage that local fans built years ago. I follow a lot of sports, especially NFL. Would I be annoyed if a bloke from Green Bay was given priority on a small amount of tickets than me? No, because that team belongs to that town, and primarily the fans who live in it. What is the point of calling ourselves Liverpool if we have no link to the city or people, other than playing our home games there? We have sold our soul on many things over the years, its time the average person in Liverpool was recognised as being part of what makes this club what it is.
Dont understand the club on this one, they seem to make problems for themselves at every opportunity. There are a load of season ticket holders, there are then those that buy 15 or more tickets in the sale, its hard to get tickets unless you are online at the right time twice a year with a good internet connection. The idea of having some tickets on sale before the match is a good idea but by restricting it to an L postcode it creates an us and them and its needless, open it up for all and let people buy them from the ticket office.
The Annie Road is going to be bigger than the Kop, nothing wrong with that because the Kop is now primarily for season ticket holders and it still the historic stand and the one that everyone that goes every now and again wants to look at. Going to a match every now and again is impossible, and the club is missing out of loads of fans and families that can only afford or are able to go every now and again, this is very short sighted, if the club wants to have a new generation of fans then it needs to have the expanded Annie Road built and then look at expanding the Kop. It should be an on going process to make Anfield the biggest club ground in the UK. It may never happen but there should always be plans in place for the next stage and the one after that upto 78-85,000
I agree that all non-season tickets should be available for all. I’m from the states, and my dream is to watch a game at Anfield. Lot harder to do if tickets can’t be purchased at the ground.
It’s all about financial risk and the ability to recoup the investment for the anny road. The simple math is that it would take them longer to recoup the $ for developing the anny road because ticket prices are cheaper. It’s not rocket science to understand that doing one build is more efficient than 2. But in tru LFC style instead of just going for it the club have taken the stupid option of not going for it and instead opted to put in seats in the new maIn stand which you can’t even see the bloody goal from. 25 years to build half a stand. Our owners are like the mate you’ve got who only gets his own ale in because he’s only having 2 pints and going home,
What about those from Liverpool who love the club and live in kent. Also goes all the way to basil and to any game he can get s ticket for.
As an an OOT supporter I believe it is a great idea as local support is were the club grew from.
But for OOT’ers getting all the blame for lack of atmosphere is pure nonsense.
I don’t recall a lack of atmosphere during the 13/14 season when I and many OOT supporters were there. The 08/09 wasn’t too bad either. I would say it’s more accurate that when the team is doing well the crowd are behind them. At lots of recent games it has been locals that I hear constantly giving out about how bad we are and whatever player isn’t doing what.
To say lack of atmosphere is purely down to non locals is wrong and inaccurate.
And I can assure people that I don’t come to Anfield just for a day out!
Great article. I’m a lifelong Liverpool supporter who has lived in the US for the last 17 years. I have no problem with priority access for local supporters. I think it’s important in order to maintain the club’s unique identity but I can understand why some people are upset about it – getting match tickets is not easy for anyone despite what some geographically fortunate fans think. Take me for example. This Christmas I will be in England during football season for the first time in 12 years. As soon as we had booked our plane tickets (in January), my thoughts turned to the possibility of going to a match at Anfield. I’m a member of LFC Atlanta an OLSC so I talked to some people there about the best ways to get tickets and decided that I would try applying through the OLSC first. I waited eagerly for the fixture list to come out to see what matches would be on while we’re there. Fortunately the Christmas fixture congestion means there are two home matches during our visit. Stoke on Boxing Day and City on New Years Eve. My initial thought was YES! And then “oh crap” because I knew my chances of getting tickets to the game against City were slim. Should I apply for those tickets and risk not getting any or should I pin all my hopes on the Stoke match? Even the OLSC’s are not guaranteed to get tickets to a match and are limited in how many they can apply for. I talked to the guys at LFC Atlanta again and asked if I could apply for both matches in order to maximize my chances. They said it would depend on how many other people were applying but if it was possible they would.
Now before I could even apply I had to meet certain requirements. Firstly everyone applying for a ticket has to be a LFC member and international memberships, such as I’ve had for several years, are not eligible for ticket buying purposes so I had to upgrade to a full membership (£44) and purchase light memberships (£27 each) for the other family members. Secondly, Each individual must also be a member of the OLSC – $35 per person for LFC Atlanta membership. So even at Brexit exchange rates that’s $375/£285 for the 5 of us before I’ve even purchased a single ticket! It was at this point that I made the decision not to take my two younger kids. Once all the necessary memberships were purchased, I sent all the info off to LFC Atlanta and waited anxiously to find out if my application was successful. As it turned out, not only were LFC Atlanta able to apply for tickets to both matches but both applications were successful!!! I’m going to the Stoke and City matches!!!
That is not the end of the story though. The OLSC will find out about 6 weeks before the matches how much the tickets are and it is not until we have submitted payment that we will know where our seats our. No matter where they are I will be ecstatic just to be in Anfield and hopefully I’ll be next to a local supporter who understands how much it means to me to be there and that getting tickets is a struggle for most of us.
I am annoyed about this. I live outside an L post code but just 16 miles from anfield. I have been going the match since I was 6 years old 27 years ago and now someone who lives 5 miles closer that has possibly never been a game in their life has more chance of a ticket than me. I’m all for local fans. That goes without saying but I can’t help but be annoyed by this and have emailed the club to express my feelings. The response was basically – tough.
I’m a local supporter, Ive been on the season ticket waiting list for many years and still nowhere near getting one. I get tickets when I can but its difficult to build up your buying entitlement for anything other than the cat C games. I was eligible for the local ticket sale but had no luck there either. Whichever way you look at it with Liverpool there will always be more demand than actual tickets, that’s just the way of our club. And when all’s said and done I think everyone should support LFC, wherever they’re from.
Well said Kathy!
The club promote the black market with the way they distribute tickets. A proportion should always be sold at the window, first come first served. The away games are now a closed shop, I’m a ST holder for 30 years & I’ve given up trying for them. I couldn’t even get a ticket for Derby away in the cup FFS! As for the new stand, it’s just a place for corporates quaffing free ale. Empty seats at kick off? Guaranteed.
I live in Wallasey and can see the new main stand from the end of my road. I’m closer to Anfield then a lot of people in the L postcode. Yet as I live in CH I’m not considered as local? If it wasn’t for the river I could walk.
Was gonna give it to Friday before some supporter threw out “the main stand is rubbish” but here it is on Thursday.
As if corporate seats were just invented by FSG
Tickets are only hard to get at Liverpool
All other clubs are free to locals
People are dying to watch a single match as above but those in anfield leave if asked to pay five pounds more. And these suffering supporters walk out past the lot who wish they could get in once.
Its becoming apparent that the problem is our fan base
Jose you miss the point, the main stand is a fantastic, imposing modern thing of beauty, and credit to the thousands in there v Leicester who sang, jumped & made so much noise, very unlike the main stand I once knew! The point is WHO it was built for, that is the corporate market, the day trippers on package deals etc. It’s not very ‘community’ is it? Nor rewarding loyal supporters etc. And I was right about those empty seats…
All the tickets should be well cheaper and offered first to locals. The cranks in Anfield have basically ruined the club.The only locals who can stand them are basically middle class divs.
You’ve got the nail on the head Adam, people are angry that they still have very little change in their ability to get tickets. 8500 news seats = 4000 hospitality, 2000 season tickets and therefore only 2500 ‘new’ seats for the vast majority of us to access. That is the core of it.
Even rebuilding the Anny Rd is not going anywhere near far enough. Even then the capacity will be sub-60,000, lower than Spurs’ new ground and West Ham. With no disrespect to those clubs, Liverpool shouldn’t be playing in a stadium smaller than them. It’s ridiculous.
The decision to stay at Anfield was made because of money by FSG. For all the talk of heritage and history, the bottom line was cost/return per seat built. From a simple business perspective this is totally understandable, but football clubs (Liverpool in particular) need to understood far deeper than this. Sometimes you should build things, not because it will pay for itself in x-number of years, but because it’s morally the right thing to do for your fans.
I have no doubt that Liverpool need and would happily fill a 70k + stadium. There’s a closed waiting list of 25k people for season tickets, something I’m incredibly unlikely to see in my lifetime at current rates. There’s the current massive over demand for tickets to add to that. There’s the casual local fan who would quite like to be able to wake up on Saturday and be able to go down and buy a ticket for their local club. Theresa the people who just don’t even bother trying because you have to pay £40 a year to be a member just for the odd chance of getting a ticket.
Staying at Anfield is fine by me, I love the place after all, but that decision had to have been made with the future in mind. Surely anyone with any sense knows that expansion of both the Centenary and The Kop is necessary in the near future. The logistics of expanding those 2 sides is obviously a major problem but surely it was one they must’ve thought they could overcome, otherwise they should’ve chosen to build a new ground.
No reasonable fan from anywhere in the world resents local fans getting tickets. I’m not a scouser unfortunately but I want to be in the ground with the majority being scousers, it’s Liverpool FC! The problem is there just are even close to being enough tickets for everyone, and that is a problem that can be solved by treating LFC as a football club and part of a community rather than just a business with a bottom line.
Granted, I’m not a prolific user of Twitter, so I may have missed the fume to which the writer is referring, but I have not heard a single complaint about the local tickets scheme.
I’m an OOT who has supported the club for 30 years from Canada, Japan, and Australia, now living in London. It sucks not being able to get tickets for matches whenever I can get to Anfield but it’s just one more challenge that Liverpool supporters need to overcome. The size of the fan base is such that it’s difficult to get tickets for friendlies in massive grounds in London or Melbourne. Considering that, it’s no surprise how hard it is to get into Anfield with half the capacity.
I have absolutely no problem wit the local ticket scheme, it’s a great idea and perhaps signifies the owners are starting to listen to the fan base more.
I’d suggested before on here that allowing a section of the group to be set aside for purely 16-25yrs olds with tickets going on sale at the ground on the Friday of a match could be a good way to keep,the next generation interested. Make it affordable and allow them to sit where they want as long as it’s in that section.
Imagine 5/600 young’uns all in one section, made up of local lads, singing their hearts out at Anfield. Have it away from the Kop so there’s another singing/chanting section that would hopefully inspire the rest of the ground to follow in their vocality.
The local sale is a good idea in theory but it seems to me it hasn’t been thought through. A more fairer way in my opinion would be to allow those supporters within a certain radius of Anfield rather than simply by post code en bloc. As we’ve heard from the guy in Wallasey, he’s nearer than most in an L postcode yet he’s excluded from the sale because of reasons he can’t do anything about. Hopefully the club will realise this for next season and consider the ‘local’ sale a bit more thoughtfully.
Totally unfair, become a member do I could get tickets rather than pay the disgusting ticket sites who want 3-4 times the value of the ticket, always plenty to buy on line but very high prices!
I have paid £60 for the remove chance of getting a ticket, LFC this is a rip off… get your act together and get a fair system in place, £45 tickets for £200 on line!
I will write to the club asking for money back if no luck this week for a members ticket, sure I won’t it is a con by LFC…
Absolutely Colin. The rip-off by LFC goes on. The chances of getting a ticket through the general members’ sale, for those who haven’t been to at least 4 games in the previous season, are infinitesimally small. Yet the club continues to sell memberships as if they were worth buying, in the full knowledge that the vast majority of the 100,000+ people who buy them will only receive the ‘benefits’ of 10% off at the shop, money off the TV channel, and ‘free’ entry to U23 and women’s games.
In the context of £50m for a goalkeeper and players’ weekly wages that range from £50k to £150k, the fact that they continue to screw ordinary people out of £20+ for ours and our kids’ memberships, for effectively nothing in the case of the light memberships, betrays a club with NO morality that does NOT care about the fans.
Disagree Liverpool has a responsibility to the community. Local fans should get first priority or why not move the stadium to Wembley London