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CHIEF EXEC: The fixture release date is the game changer

Nigel Clibbens on when we might start selling 20/21 season tickets

28 July 2020

With the club having around 2,000 season ticket holders on a season-by-season basis we wondered if the October return date for fans into stadiums would include a place of some kind for our season 19/20 season ticket holders.

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Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “Having looked at the numbers and having studied the Safety Advisory Group’s 85-pages of guidance, I think it’s clear that if we can work out something within the restrictions of access into the stadium – entry and exit – then we’ll be fine, because that could be more of an issue for us than the capacity.

“Even if there’s room on the terraces there are limits on how many can go through each entry and exit point. That will put a cap on how many seats we’ll have and how many fans can go into our stands.

“Overall, I think we should be ok, but I don’t want to make promises or commitments that ultimately I’m not 100% sure of just now. It is fast-moving, but I know we’d all like to think you could get 2,000 fans into an 18,000-capacity stadium with proper social distancing in place.

“That’s even more the case if we start to look at opening up the Waterworks to get that extra capacity for standing fans. I do think we’ll be ok.”

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As for when the club is looking to start selling for next season, he commented: “The game changer on when we start to sell season tickets is when we see the fixture list.

“At that point we can then form a view on how many games we will have up until around that October release date. That gives us a lot more clarity.

“I’m really strong of the view that I don’t want to be selling a ticket to a fan and taking their cash as we say they can have 20 games, and then two weeks later the fixtures come out and actually they can only have 18.

“I just don’t think that’s right. That’s why we’ve taken the approach we’ve taken on this particular issue. Hopefully the fixtures will come soon because the timing of that release will become a problem in itself if it’s delayed for too much longer.”

And on the potential for having Early Buy discounts, or other offers, he said: “That’s one of the things we’re looking at. There’s a bit of a trade-off between selling early and offering discounts, but then not being able to deliver on what you’re actually selling, as opposed to selling something that’s actually real.

“I don’t want us to just take a loan off a fan to help cash flow, which I think clubs can be criticised for having done, so we’re not going to do it.

“The timing of offers is something we’re looking at really closely because it may well be that we take a risk on the number of games, and get them on sale, but the result of that is that we can’t offer an Early Buy offer for as long, or with as big a discount.

“It’s going to be a condensed period of sales that we’ll be operating within anyway but, like I say, at least things are starting to become a little bit clearer.

“Normally at this stage we’d know the fixtures and we’d be booking coaches and hotels for the team, and the fans would know which games they might miss, but nobody knows any of it.

“That means our fans don’t yet know if a season ticket will work for them. It just isn’t easy for anyone at all.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Nigel Clibbens on iFollow United now.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.


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