As some of you may or may not know I am the under 25 fan rep for Manchester City’s new fan initiative ‘City Matters’ where 10 reps from different sections of the fan group meet with members of the city board to discuss how things can be improved for the everyday city fan.
The committee was set up at the start of the 2018-19 season with 10 representatives:
- Families and Young people
- Disabled supporters
- Female fans
- Under 25s
- Over 65s
- BAME Supporters (Black and Minority Ethic)
- LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer)
- OSC (Official Supporters Club)
- Seasoncard Holders
- Seasonal Hospitality
The members all put themselves forward for the role and were voted in on the City website to meet with the club and discuss matters that affected City fans and the club.
One of the things that I have seen heavily discussed and criticized coming out of an earlier meeting with the club is the initiative to allocate 5% of away tickets specifically to fans aged between 18-25 who are season card holders.
Firstly, I will say that initially I had discussed with fans of similar age the difficulty in acquiring away tickets more specifically games that were going to be in high demand. I am fully aware that those who have been going for many years have rightly built up their loyalty points and therefore deserve priority. The problem is that the gap between those with and those without is continually growing in this current system, people with the most points are getting more points because they are getting to away games (or selling the ticket to someone else) and those who aren’t are falling further behind.
It is without question that people have been abusing the point system for years to ‘stay ahead’ so to speak (around half of the tickets sold to Shahktar away which were only a fiver were actually used.) I take the point that it’s not impossible for younger fans to acquire tickets but unless their parents willingly bought them a season ticket throughout their childhood they aren’t going to have built up thousands and thousands of points. There are other means of course,through supporters’ clubs or buying off somebody who does have enough points but cant make it, the problem is obviously they would get the points and not the fan attending.
The suggestion to create a small window of opportunity for younger fans to apply to tickets was discussed and agreed as a group and presented to the club. People have argued that it is not fair on people aged 26 and above, point taken but where is the line drawn? 18-25 was the agreed age group as it cut off youngsters who could get tickets from their parents and stopped before fans who may have already built up enough points to not need the ballot. I am fully aware this isn’t the case for everyone but unfortunately there is no pleasing everybody.
5% of tickets equates to around 100-150 tickets depending on the away game, only season card holders can apply so the question of ‘loyal fans’ being shafted was one that confused me. Are season ticket holders who are aged 18-25 not loyal fans?
The last thing I want is for die hard city fans to feel like they are being screwed over. I have been a City fan all my life and I only want positive changes to be made by the City Matters group. I and every member of the City Matters group want the fans voices to be heard, I want to go into meetings echoing the opinions and putting forward the suggestions of the fans I’m representing, not my own views.
If people have opinions or suggestions I am more than happy to listen, my twitter DM’s are open, and I will respond to any email I receive. Now that the communication line is now there to directly contact reps hopefully the specific issues that fans are having will now be the priority. It’s just disheartening to see people criticizing without discussion when all we as representatives want to do is make positive change. The more we communicate with the people we represent the better chance we have of moving in the right direction.
Us blues all have one thing in common and that is our love for Manchester City and I hope in the future more positive things will come from City Matters as it is a great group of people who have the fans best interests at heart.
To view the City Matters page or contact any of the reps visit: https://www.mancity.com/fans%20and%20community/club/city%20matters
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