I’ve become interested in football (soccer) recently. As a kid I was mildly interested, like most English children are. I inherited the sport. I also inherited my team, Chelsea FC. I remember going to a game or two with my Dad to see them play. Wether I requested to go or not I can’t recall. All I remember is being mostly scared. 40,000+ people around you is a nightmare for any introvert. It wasn’t too bad in the stadium. Everything’s organised and fairly controlled, despite the noise. It’s the ludicrous amount of people you encounter on your way. On the trains in particular.
Anyway, I went to a few games and slowly became less interested in football. Last year though I started playing Football Manager. It’s a simulation game that to most sounds as dull as Snow Plow Simulator. However, it has a massive audience and is amazingly addictive, even for someone like me who had been away from the football ‘scene’ for 5 years. I eventually wanted to see these data ‘players’ for real. (Well, on a TV screen) I wanted to put a face to a set of attributes and I slowly began watching TV football games more and more, consuming every game I could.
After a year of watching frequently on the TV I last week decided to go to a live game again. I decided to watch ‘my’ team. Chelsea. This is where the nightmare begins.
I go to ChelseaFC.com > Tickets > Buy tickets online > Match tickets > Non-members. I see a game called “annual lunch”. Apparently it’s an away fixture. ‘Mmmm,’ I thought. ‘Never heard of that team.’ I click “buy tickets”. I’m presented with “£168”. ‘OK’ I thought. ‘I’ll try an unofficial site. It is a little odd I can’t buy tickets from the fucking Chelsea FC website though.’
I Googled around, but… nothing. Nothing as in ‘not one game’. No site was selling available tickets. I eventually found a website called viagogo. It appears to be a website where people, and presumably companies, sell-on tickets. I didn’t like the idea of that, it sounded dodgy. But, yeh, ‘I’m desperate.’ ‘Yes! Arsenal game! Arsenal game! Oh. £158 a ticket.’
I go back to ChelseaFC.com. I find my way to the membership page. It seems becoming a member for (at least) £42 you gets you more access to tickets. ‘Okay. Whatever. I don’t care anymore. I’ll do that I guess.’ I pay £48 for a two year membership for “tickets only” on their SSL-less shitty website and after a couple of days my membership finally becomes active. I log in with the password they sent me over e-mail. [They required a password when I signed up. Quite why I don’t know, since they reset it and send you their own chosen one anyway.] ‘Okay. There are more games available.’ It seems the only home game that isn’t already sold out is over a month away. ‘That’s a long time, but okay.’ I spend quite a while evaluating the seating plan attempting to get the the right seat. I call my Dad to make sure he’s off work that day. He is but complains, like me, about the price: £51 a ticket. (That’s over 50p a minute). I go to buy. ‘Mmm. So it seems I can only choose the stand where I want to sit, not even the section, or let alone seat. ‘Huff Whatever.’ I go to payment.
“You can only buy one ticket per member.” ‘One fucking ticket?!’ … … …
Seriously?! I completely understand a limit. They don’t want one member buying 30 tickets or anything silly like that. I also understand that Chelsea has a small-ish stadium for the size of a club it is. But they limit it at 1?! Say you’ve got an American friend to visit and he wants to see a Chelsea game. He has to become a fucking member to buy one single ticket just once?!
Maybe I am just over-reacting. However, I’m cutting my loses now and just getting away from this whole dirty rotten business. I don’t feel wanted and neither does my money.
Note: This seems a common problem, not just with Chelsea. I’ve attempted to buy many tickets this past week. I tried Bayern Munich and Ajax. I thought I’d turn it into a little holiday as my birthday just passed. But, Bayerns ticket site isn’t in English and Google translate is no good. With Ajax I can’t remember the specifics. The only thing I do remember from their buggy website is that I had to buy an overpriced buffet if I wanted a ticket.
I’ll probably eventually go see my local team, Watford FC, play. Despite being such a small team they had the best ticketing system. They were the only team where you could pick your actual seat. However, at the moment “there has been an unexpected error” on their site. Also, it’s powered by the bastardly Ticketmaster. Not good signs.
One day, some day, I’ll manage to buy a ticket.
October 22, 2011:
Look! An actual ticket for an actual football match!