Catering price hikes a big mistake

John Tilson, NCISA I think it is best if I do not dwell on the subject of Friday night's performance by certain individuals other than to say that a vast improvement is required by one or two of whom greater things were expected.

John Tilson, NCISA

I think it is best if I do not dwell on the subject of Friday night's performance by certain individuals other than to say that a vast improvement is required by one or two of whom greater things were expected.

The hype surrounding the game and the eager anticipation was quashed by two elements, Sky cameras at Carrow Road and the fact that we have an appalling record in opening day fixtures in recent times. These are by no way to be used an excuses and in Lambert I am absolutely positive that another game littered with the basic mistakes we witnessed over and over again will not be tolerated.

Now is not the time to be looking for the next scapegoat but in fairness one or two did offer themselves up for the title!

A lot has been written over the summer on internet chat boards and in letters to the local media around what I would describe as the club's attempt to maximise revenue at every opportunity covering virtually everything that the "punters" purchase on a regular basis.

Many fans have grumbled about the cost of casual match tickets, the grading of games and the booking fee. Personally I think that we have reached a peak with regard to the cost people are prepared to pay for a casual ticket and the club must not turn fans off from attending because once they find something else to do socially on a match day that does not hit the disposable family income to such an extent as tickets priced around �30 it will be hard to try and tempt them back.

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In fairness I do not think there is an issue regarding the booking fee of �1.50 as it is in line with the entertainment industry as a whole and in fact stands up well against what you pay for show and concert tickets for example. The matter of grading games is a mystery to us all I am sure and this issue is one that NCISA is attempting to get an answer about from the Customer Services Manager Richard Gough. His response will be published on the all new NCISA website Richard has always told me that he will speak personally to anybody who either pops in to see him or ring him on his office direct line 01603 218713 with issues that come under his remit. You cannot really ask more and I wonder how many other clubs would adopt that attitude.

Before I move on to another finance driven subject I think it is well worth pointing out something that many fans are unaware of and it is that around fifty per cent of our fantastic season ticket holder base of 20,550 is made up of concessions whether it be over 60s' or children. My view is that we must all brace ourselves for some unpalatable changes in that makeup in years to come and from someone who turns 60 next season I just may be a victim. Before anyone starts screaming from the rooftops many clubs older persons concessions start at 65. Have we had it good for too long I will leave it for you to decide.

Mr McNally is currently basking in a year long honeymoon period that has been given to him by last season's results and whilst i am one hundred per cent behind virtually everything he has done to run the club on a more business like platform I must take issue with catering. Maximising revenue is one thing but plain downright profiteering is another. 40p on beer, 30p on such items as coffee and soup, �2.50 for a sausage roll. It was obvious to see the resistance to these increases in the concourse kiosks on Friday night.

Mr McNally must realise that Morrisons are a hundred yards across the road and numerous bars within a five minute walk that sell beer for in excess of �1 a pint less. The couple of thousand or so who use their company's plastic to entertain clients and friends in the hospitality areas is one thing but the twenty odd thousand who have to hand over hard cash from their pockets is entirely a different ball game to use a pun.

The new prices are a big mistake and the open letter sent out telling us that there are better, larger and more products is plain misleading because on Friday night I paid particular attention to what was on offer in the Wensum concourse bars and it was exactly the same as last season.

Mr McNally this is one thing you have got wrong and the tills will prove me right.

t Finally can I just remind you all that the NCISA Canary Challenge is taking place this year again with the closing date being 31st August. Full details are on the NCISA website. We need all you good people who have supported it in recent years to do so again but maybe you could get friends, work colleagues, neighbours and family members involved this time round.