Danielle SLO wrote:The offer still stands! I am happy to meet with you to discuss your concerns and ways of helping to resolve issues. MTFC has an inclusion group called Football For All. We work alongside Reach, OneWalk and Notts LGBT to make MTFC a level playing field. We support individuals at the stadium and hopefully moving forward in the wider community. I think you would benefit from seeing what we do on a matchday for supporters with additional needs.
That's very kind Danielle but again, i really don't feel there is any point. I do not need support at the stadium. I don't really have additional needs, least in terms of needing any special care on the day. Most of my issues would be solved simply by sorting out the archaic and frankly offputting ticketing system that the club have in operation which currently prohibits me from attending. I can micro manage the rest myself.
I'm unsure who is responsible for the ticketing decisions and stadium decisions but if i was JR then i'd be asking them to seriously consider their position. The whole area of ticketing needs re-evaluating and revamping to bring it in line with most other clubs in the area and to actually make it easier for fans rather than deter them from attending. Which is what we've seen on a few threads on this site already in the recent past. People being so restricted or put off by the ticketing system that they've either gone elsewhere or done something else instead of going to games at Field Mill.
Here are a few recommendations for the football club on how to help me and perhaps help other fans who aren't autistic who just want things made easier:
a) MAKE ALL BLOCKS OF SEATING AVAILABLE FOR FANS TO PRE-BOOK AND UPDATE ACCURACY OF SEATING PLANS.
Being as i am, i like to know well in advance where i will be sitting and i like to guarantee that favourable spot by booking in advance. Due to having a restricted number of seats that i can sit in due to autism then i am limited to end seats. Preferably at the back of stand or if not then at the end of stand on a wing where i have nobody to my left / right. I am able to manage an end seat in blocks of seats that are in the middle of stands but it' not preferable and not ideal.
Therefore when i go onto the online ticketing site i am excluded from purchasing tickets in the IGU end wing BLOCK J which is probably the most ideal area of seating in the stadium for my needs. I am aware that you can turn up on the day and buy tickets for this area but as i am someone who cannot do this and has a requirement to know well in advance where i will be seated then this option is of no use to me. So that rules that out. Then you come onto the block next to this which is BLOCK K. Again, not able to pre book seats online for this block either. Also no option to select seats and purchase season tickets for these areas either or even see what would be available.
This restriction on these two blocks then makes the rest of the blocks look more crowded on the online ticketing portal which puts me off and the availability of suitable seats in these middle areas is pretty much non existant. If i move along to end block of the IGU which is block R then i am able to pre book these but the end seats usually are already sold. In addition, i notice that the more 'boisterous' supporters frequent this area of seating or they did the last times i went and thus this would be the worst area in the ground i could sit.
So i move onto the IGL and again i can't book the most ideal block which is the end block BLOCK A. It is still indicated as the 'FAMILY STAND' on the portal when i thought that the family stand had now been moved to the end of the QLE. BLOCK H of the IGL is also indicated as a 'FAMILY STAND' on the portal and similarly i am unable to pre book tickets in here either.
If i move onto the QLE which is my least favourite stand as it always feels dark and oppressive, even on summers days. The away end is miles better as a home stand. Spacious, bright and a great view as i've been in there a few times. I've no idea why home fans were moved from this stand into the QLE but IMO home fans got the raw deal.
Anyway the QLE. So the family stand i believe is now at the end of the QLE yet this area (again not pre bookable online) is not indicated as a family stand online therefore needs updating to reflect this.
The other end block on the QLE, BLOCK E doesn't have an aisle at one end therefore although i could book an end seat there i'd be hemmed in and have to pass all the fans on my row if i wanted to move or go to the toilet or whatever and i'd get claustrophobic so that's not an option. If there was an aisle / steps at the end then fine but there isn't. This only leaves end seats in the middle blocks and a lot of the time they are usually only available nearer the front.
So the ticketing portal needs updating pronto as it's archaic and barely fit for purpose. The availabilty of tickets / seats needs to be clearly shown and that means ALL blocks which allows fans greater choice and flexibility in booking. Only by doing this will this help me. Not doing this won't help me so as i've already explained, if Danielle cannot get this changed then it can't help me and thus no point in discussing anything despite my appreciation of her offer.
b) MAKE BOOKING DISABLED / CARER TICKETS AN ONLINE OPTION
Currently if you are disabled or have autism or whatever then you have the option of booking two seats as you get a seat free for a carer or just to leave empty if it helps. However these seats cannot be booked online. You have to ring the ticket office or visit and faff about each time you want to book tickets for yourself and carer making access to tickets for disabled people more difficult than for people who don't have any problems. Which clearly is ludicrous.
My proposal is (and as happens at a lot of clubs) that you first of all email your proof / evidence to the ticket office and they keep it on file so you don't have to produce your documents every time. Then you go online and book your seats and select 1 option for adult and 1 option for free disabled carer ticket and when you come to pay you just pay for the one adult. Even Torquay United had this as an option on their portal last season and they were in the National League South!
As L2 clubs aren't likely to have that many disabled people buying free carer tickets then it's easy for the ticket office just to quickly check the evidence of record before sending out the tickets.
c) MAKE MORE GAMES AVAILABLE TO PRE BOOK
If you go on the portal now you can only book tickets for 3 friendly games coming up. The first home league game is in a months time v Morecambe. Why can you not book tickets for that game now? Yes it's a month away but some clubs have tickets to purchase for games months away and it gives people more flexibility and choice. If i could i'd book a ticket for Morecambe then i'd do it now and then it's done.
So to sum up. If i could book a ticket today online for myself and a carer for the Morecambe game, get it sent out without having to ring anybody and have an end seat in the IGU J or IGL A then it's happy days. I do it, it's done and i can look forward to that and crack on with life. Job done.
I can't do any of these things and i see absolutely no reasons why. If anybody can enlighten me i'd welcome that.
Until i CAN do these things then i have to watch other football as football is my obsession and i can't not go and watch live football. It's what keeps me going. Not only that but the longer my sabbatical from MTFC goes on i feel further alienated from and disillusioned with the club, stop buying stuff from the club shop regularly and stop my income stream to them. All for what? Because somebody responsible for ticketing at the club cannot bring any common sense to proceedings and help bring it into the modern era.
Usually i would just write to the club and air my grievances but i dont' feel there is any point in doing that either. Fans have been moaning about the ticketing portal for a long time now and yet the club still doesn't see fit to sort it out. If they can't see that's it rubbish then telling them won't make a difference. It should be obvious to them.
Anyway thanks to Martin, Edwinstowe and the other Stags fan who donated to the cause. I'm sure Ian really appreciates it and so do i as i know the money will go to help lots of people.