Season ticket holders feel duped over Celebration Sunday

Last updated : 30 January 2004 By The Chairman
Season ticket holders at Boundary Park have been complaining that the free-for-all Celebration Sunday has left them duped as they have already paid for the free entry game. Athletic’s new owners are flabbergasted and said that they were “surprised and very disappointed” at the supporters response.

Simon Corney said, “The vast majority of our 3,500 season-ticket holders are behind this, but the reaction of a few is bewildering. Since we announced the free game, we’ve had a lot of calls from people saying they get nothing from the initiative. It’s an attitude we find very hard to understand - especially as we weren’t legally bound to honour those season tickets anyway. They were bought from the old company and all our business advisors said we’d be mad to honour them because the club couldn’t afford it, but we were never going to start off by hitting fans in the pocket. It cost us a lot of money to keep those season tickets running, and we are going to lose an awful lot more in keeping Latics alive.”

“I’m not painting us as heroes, but we are spending x-million to save the club whereas season-tickets holders are losing about a tenner on Celebration Sunday. We want those staunch fans to be part of what we do, not criticising our attempts to increase the crowd or improve the atmosphere. We’ve been made to feel welcome and have about 20 ideas to get people through the turnstiles, so should we not bother, just in case a few season-ticket holders don’t like it? We recognise that the vast majority are with us – anyone could see it was better to have 9,000 against Sheffield Wednesday this month than 5,000 against Brentford – but we’ve been surprised and very disappointed. And anyone who says we had a moral obligation to honour season tickets is wrong. After all, if you move house and the previous owner left a gas bill for £300, are you morally obliged to pay that?”

Athletic’s new trio of backers will forfeit around £25,000 in normal gate receipts in an attempt to fill the ground as a new era at the club begins. Mr. Corney added that any disappointed season ticket holders will be guaranteed a reply if they officially complain to the club. Let’s hope that they see sense and join in the celebrations at a club which would not even exist if not for the new buyers.