Fans' fury at ticket fiasco
Michael Bailey Hundreds of fans are set to miss Norwich City's season finale at Charlton Athletic after 800 tickets originally pledged to go on general sale today have already been sold.
Hundreds of fans are set to miss Norwich City's season finale at Charlton Athletic after 800 tickets originally pledged to go on general sale today have already been sold.
The club confirmed last Wednesday the seats for City's clash at The Valley on Sunday, May 3, would go on sale to the public, after they received more than 2,500 written applications for tickets through their ballot system by the April 13 deadline.
Application forms for the ballot stated no applications would be accepted if received after the bank holiday deadline. However, by Monday the Canaries revealed their entire allocation of more than 3,000 tickets had been sold through written applications and none was left to go on general sale, leaving supporters who had hoped to snap up a seat today set to miss what could be one of the most important fixtures in the club's history.
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John Moore, a season ticket holder for more than 50 years, said: “We rang them last Tuesday and we were prepared to walk our applications down to the ground. But they said 'don't worry, we've got 800 spare tickets going on sale', so we thought fair enough and arranged for my mate and my wife to get some time off and go down at 8am to get the tickets.
“Obviously we were astounded when they then said they'd gone from 800 spare to no tickets for anybody else. I know I should've got it in on time but to ring and be told it's okay, don't bring the application down, there will be some on sale, and then they're not, it's not good enough.
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“If they don't put some tickets on sale somehow, there will be three season tickets going back.”
Ken Sutton, a Norwich supporter living in Waterford, Ireland, had planned to fly over for the game once he heard there were tickets available - but has cancelled his plans.
“I used to travel over but haven't had too much of a chance; I had planned on ringing today for the tickets but no joy,” he added. “I was just disappointed with the way we've been treated, especially with the club needing as much support as possible.”
It was a similar story for City season ticket holder Matt Crowhurst, of Three Score, Bowthorpe, who had hoped to take his 11-year-old daughter along to the match in south London.
“Where have the tickets gone? I don't see how they can advertise one thing and then say all the tickets have gone,” he said.
“For me, it seems they have had this deadline for ticket applications and then carried on selling them; suddenly they've all been sold and they're trying to get away with going against what they said.
“It just seems like they take the fans' support for granted. It doesn't matter how we're treated, they've still got 20,000 fans every week.”
Charlton have confirmed no more seats will be opened up to away fans for the game to avoid moving home supporters and season ticket holders, while the Addicks have also had to hold fire on membership applications as City fans without a ticket desperately try to get a seat for the game.
The Canaries are said to be considering the possibility of beaming live coverage of the crunch match back to Carrow Road for supporters left without a ticket for the match after the mix-up, which arose following a “phenomenal” demand for tickets on the club's imposed application deadline.
The club announced on its website last Wednesday: “The club received over 2,500 written applications before the deadline of April 13, and all of those supporters who pre-applied will receive their tickets in the post.
“In addition there will be around 800 tickets on general sale from 9am next Wednesday, April 22 from the ticket offices at Carrow Road and the Canary Store.”
However, by Monday that story had been replaced by a second announcement that the ticket cupboard was bare.
“The club received a huge response with more than 3,000 written applications and all of those supporters who pre-applied will receive their tickets in the post,” said Monday's statement.
“Norwich City can confirm that their full allocation for this game is sold and no further seats are available for this match.”
The club declined to comment further yesterday, instead backing customer services manager Richard Gough's thoughts from Monday.
“There has been a massive interest in this game from supporters which has led to hundreds of applications arriving on a daily basis and our full allocation of tickets for our game at The Valley has now been sold,” said Gough.
“The good news is that everyone who has applied in writing has got a ticket. The demand for this game has been phenomenal and is once again an illustration of the passion and loyalty our supporters display when following the Canaries.”