This Christmas I thought it would be a nice surprise to take my family to the Birmingham City v West Ham football match on Boxing Day. Unfortunately, the BCFC ticket policy means they would rather I turn up alone than with family.
Below is an extract of an email sent to Birmingham City Football club describing the lack of transparency of their current system. No reply was received by Birmingham City, and since my original e-mail I’ve become aware of others that have been denied ticket sales. Many thanks for your response over Twitter regarding purchasing a ticket for the West Ham game on Boxing Day. I was trying to purchase a ticket for my wife and I for this game.
From your comments and my wife’s telephone conversation with the ticket office on Thursday, my understanding is that I am allowed to purchase a ticket for this game as I have done so in the past. However, I cannot a purchase ticket for my wife as she has only registered recently.
As a football club that makes many claims about being family and female friendly, a family visit to St Andrews on Boxing Day seems an appropriate activity. Indeed, I expect many Blues fans who live outside of Birmingham are likely to be in the area over Christmas and would want to attend. However, the current system is actually stopping families from attending. I can attend on my own, but not with any family members.
1. The e-ticket registration confirmation email is sent from firstname.lastname@example.org and invites you to “hit reply to this email” if you have queries. As per your note on Twitter this appears to be invalid so I believe that my wife’s emails to this address have gone unread. Would it be possible to correct this initial email to give the correct address someone can reply to?
2. I have not been able to find anything on the website about the tickets for West Ham being only available to prior members. You mention this is advertised as being the case, so please could you provide me with the link that states this. Part of my frustration is that it’s not clear who can/cannot purchase tickets – clicking through the ticketing website states that they are “on general sale”.
3. My initial attempt to purchase tickets was online on Sunday night. Originally, I had planned to get the tickets as a Christmas surprise for my wife. However, after selecting the seats the site stated that “Not all items in your basket were assigned to members. Please use “assign” to do this, or remove the offending items using “remove”. My natural response was to create an account for my wife and submit her details. That also meant the tickets were no longer a surprise as she soon received the welcome email. Believing that I would now be allowed to purchase her ticket, I assigned her seat and was then shown the message “Unfortunately, one or more items in your basket is assigned to a newly registered client, which is not allowed”.
This process was most frustrating and at no point was I made aware that despite registering my wife she would still not be able to accompany me.
4. During my wife’s conversation with the ticket office, a number of different reasons were cited as to why she could not purchase a ticket. These included the steps were taken “to stop West Ham fans buying tickets”, “at the Board’s request”, “at police request”, “you registered at a London address, if you were in Birmingham you would be allowed to purchase tickets”. In relation to point 2, if the intention is stop West Ham fans from purchasing tickets, please can you clarify what process you are using to decide who can/cannot purchase tickets. I am a legitimate fan, but I am unable to make a purchase despite the tickets being advertised as being “on general sale”.
5. If I ask my mother to visit the ticket office to purchase tickets, or I visit the ticket office on Christmas Eve with my wife, would we be permitted to purchase tickets?
In closing, this problem appears to have affected others, as described here:
Of course, the users in the above post could be West Ham fans trying to sneak into the game, and I appreciate there’s a need to keep the stadium safe, but it just seems to me that the current approach in screening ticket purchases does not work, is not family friendly and is not transparent.