Why Saints Fans Should Renew Their Season Tickets Early
Monday, 22nd Jun 2020 14:43
Saints announcement last week that they were putting season tickets on sale today sparked a few negative comments on social media, but there are some very good reasons why Saints supporters should renew their tickets sooner rather than later..
There were a few negative comments about Saints putting the season tickets on sale before this season is even finished with some even asking why they should pay for games that they might not even be able to go to, but the truth is these are not normal times, there has been a air of negativity about the place for the last six years, ever since Mauricio Pochettino left, despite the fact that the following three years were the most consistent in the club's history and saw a flurry of top 8 finishes and a Wembley Cup Final.
Some just cannot get out of the habit of picking fault with everything the club do and have forgotten just why we support football teams, luckily this is not the majority, in fact it is a small minority but with social media it can at times seem that the bulk of the fanbase is in uproar.
Now however I am seeing increasing positive reactions towards the club and the silent majority are turning the tide.
When the club announced it's season ticket prices and details, they did not perhaps get everything right, but truth is they produced a package that is acceptable to most supporters and they have tried to get cover as many bases as possible.
So lets take a look at some of the comments I have seen on Social Media and consider whether they are wrong or right.
1. Why are they putting season tickets on sale now when this season isn't over yet.
Actually this is not the first time this has happened, back in the 1990's and early 2000's the club used to offer early bird renewal tickets tat went on sale in March.
There is also the question of finance, this season having to be completed was all about money, sadly that is the case and will be as long as the Premier League retains it's current format, but the issue now is the amount club's have to repay to the television companies, they have budgeted for the income for last season, they cannot just write that off without major issues, look at Spurs pursuit of Pierre Emille Hojbjerg, they cannot afford to put much actual cash on the table, they are trying to do most of the deal by offering us at least two of their players in exchange.
This means that Saints like all clubs need to be able to bring in money now, the matchday income was lost when the season was suspended and that equates for a reasonable amount of cash, normally we would have all renewed our tickets by now to cover some of the outgoings in the summer, but not only have we not had the money back in March , April & May we aren't getting that income but we haven' got the season ticket money, clubs budget for income that comes in at certain times they need the mone, 20,000 season ticket holders could be worth as much as £8-10 million in cash.
That is not just to run the club but to put towards transfer fees etc, yes the club have extended the deadline till September 1st but they need the money now, not in the last week of August.
2. I want the refund of this season's matches now.
All individual match tickets have been refunded, it is just season ticket holders who are out of pocket so to speak, to the tune of 4 home matches, that means that with an pro rata price of £30 - £40 per game, you are owed between £120 - £160 refund, this is a significant amount, but it is not money you were expecting to see back, so why is it suddenly so important to have it, OK perhaps some will have suffered financial difficulty since they bought the ticket, but for most it is not an issue.
But for the club it could be, they are faced with potentially having to repay £2 million in one hit at a time when they have no income.
This is something that could be tricky, the players deferred some of their wages to help the club, so is it wrong to ask the fans to defer refunds and take it as a credit against next years season ticket.
I would say not and the club have offered incentives to do so such as a £35 voucher that can be used in the club shop as well as a price promise that if games are played behind closed doors next season the there will be a pro rata refund at that point.
Again the sad thing about the Premier League is we lose sight of why we actually go to the games in the first place, we lose that sense of loyalty to the club that comes from the pre Premier League days when you felt part of a family.
In the lower divisions many fans are not demanding refunds for the games cancelled, they are not even demanding credits for next season, they are donating the money to the club itself as they understand it badly needs it, Saints may be on a larger scale than say Mansfield or Grimsby, but the situation is still the same whether you need £20 k a month to run the club or £2 million, if you haven't got it then you are in trouble.
So we need to again ask ourselves are we still Supporters ?
3. It's better in my pocket than their's
Actually this is just not true on any level, aside from the fact that as just explained Saints like any football club need income to help them through what will have been a six month period without it assuming we can re start with fans in September, with interest rates so low there is no financial benefit in holding on to the money till September 1st.
If you have £600 in your bank for next season's season ticket then unless you stick it into a savings account then you get zero interest, if you put it into a savings account then you will get some interest, 0.10% is as good as you can get for a year and that is taxed, so £600 x 0.10% would pay 60p per year gross or 48p net, so that equals 4p a month net, ie you its better off in you bank by 8p for the next two months.
However if 20,000 pay their £600 then that is £12 million in their bank account and it not only helps pay the bills but gives us confidence we can spend in the transfer window.
4. I'm paying them for games I might not be allowed into !
This should not be a problem, the club have a guarantee in place that they will refund any game that fans are not allowed into within 14 days of that announcement.
5. Why don't I just wait and see as the season progresses and get a half season ticket.
Aside from the financial reasons mentioned it could be likely that early games next season have restrictions on the size of the crowd allowed to attend, season tickets holders have priority in a ballot. This presumably means that should the number of season ticket holders be less than the reduced capacity then they will get in, but should there for example be 18,000 season ticket holders but capacity restricted to 15,000 then it will on a ballot basis with season ticket holders the priority so that no non season ticket holders would get admission, so there could be some real benefits for seasons ticket holders then.
If this is the case then away allocations are likely to be reduced as well meaning that it will be very unlikely that non season ticket holders get much of a chance at away tickets.
6. They should have given everyone refunds before putting in the new ticket system.
This was about the strangest gripe I heard, it is the chicken & egg scenario, some have moaned that the club put in a new system having not refunded money to fans, yet without the new system they would have been unable to facilitate the potential large scale refunds and/or the ability to credit supporters etc.
In conclusion I think the club has done its best in a difficult situation, yes there are some things that could be done a little better, but overall they have handled things reasonably well.
It now all comes down to how we the fans react and it is here we need to remember why we support Southampton Football Club, yes it is a big business these days and some hark back to the old days, claiming we are just customers now and not valued supporters.
I don't think that is strictly true, back in the 70's the Dell might have been a magical place, but it was the worst place to watch a game in the top two divisions in terms of facilities, both ends of the ground were open, toilets and refreshments were basic and minimal in comparison to the number of fans present and if you were behind the goal you couldn't see the actual goal line itself.
Things might have seemed better but those who ran football clubs were more contemptuous of the supporters than nowadays, they knew they had our support whatever, so gave us nothing as fans, they got away with it because they were peceived as local businessmen with connections to the area.
These days football clubs are big business and yes perhaps to those running them we are little more than customers, but unlike their predecessors they know they have to work harder to keep our support and keep us coming, so we are listened too and treated better than before.
I have never been subservient to the club, I have always told it how it is, I have stood up where I needed to be counted no matter who it was in charge and I have never stopped telling them when they have got it wrong.
I have always given credit where it has been due even when it has seemed that everyone disagreed with me because they wanted a villain of the piece, I have always placed the blame where I think it was deserved.
But when it all comes down to it I am a supporter of Southampton Football Club, I want it to succeed, I want it to do well and when it needs supporting I try and be there for it.
Therefore in these difficult times we need to try and help the club and not hinder it, if you are not going to renew your season ticket then that is your right to do so, but if you are then look at the bigger picture and if you are able to do so then do it as early as possible to help the club get through this tough period financially.
As I write there is much to be pessimistic about, we are only 3 points off of 10th place, only 7 behind Sheffield United in 7th, this season could yet have a top 10 finish, we have some good foundations to build on, forget the money for a minute, we have come through some tough times now we have a progressive manager who is taking us forward, we need to banish the negative vibes and move forward, the past is over and can't be changed, but the future is unwritten.
Photo: Action Images
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