It’s a frenzy, isn’t it?
The photo above was taken today at about 11am at KM, for the Wycombe tickets. About 90 minutes later, the ones for the Tempest End had entirely sold out, and at time of writing it looks pretty much nailed on that the WB will be gone and probably the JS as well.
Rather amazing, isn’t it? While this season hasn’t exactly been short on good will and vibes, there’s something pretty pleasing at the way people have come out on a bloody cold late autumn morning, and in the middle of half term. But then, it’s the FAC against a decent league side. It’s where we’ve always wanted to be since 2002. Be honest, it’s a helluva lot more convincing than in the past when we got excited about AFC Wallingford.
This will be a sellout. If there are any tickets available from AFCW come Wednesday evening I’ll be seriously amazed. There were quite a few fears that we wouldn’t have a full house, that we’d look shit on telly and forever be tarnished in the eyes of a cynical nation. This morning and afternoon has certainly dispelled that.
Mind you, some are unhappy that they won’t get their usual places, and I’ve got to be honest that allowing four-per-person (non ST holders) wasn’t the best idea. This must be, what, the second time we’ve ever had to deal with a likely 4k plus crowd with proper segregation with a large away following?
Don’t get me wrong, the way we’ve done it ain’t perfect. I could have easily bought four tix today for the TE then plonked them on eBay. The fact I chose not to is irrelevant – something like this should only be 1 per person for non ST holders and 2 for those with their little books. Certainly, ST holders should have had 24 hours priority. Any left over from that should go on general sale. That said – last time I looked we don’t sell STs for individual parts of the ground. If we did, those complaining that they can’t get their sacred spot would have a case. In the future, we probably will need to do something like that, especially if we commit to revamping KM. And especially if we start getting 4k regularly, which should we be in the Conf next season is a legitimate possibility.
I’ve no doubt the majority of proper AFCW fans who want to get in will do so anyway though. Lest we forget we “only” had 2900 for the AFC Coldseal playoff final in midweek (though a mixture of major traffic problems and the general vibe around AFCW at the time reduced that), and no doubt some who would go normally will have to find a mate with Setanta because of work/family commitments on a Monday evening.
But hey, it’s a work in progress. We like to portray how professional we are to the outside world anyway, even if sometimes that image falls a bit short. I’m sure AFCW will be looking into how it can make improvements for the next time this happens (hopefully for the second round…). I do wonder if there should be a special ticket membership scheme in operation, not just for this but generally. Our regular crowd sizes suggest we could justify having one, and if capacities get reduced while we’re in the process of revamping KM, we’ll need it. Maybe Â£10 a year to guarantee you’re not left out so much in the cold? Or Â£20, if you feel that it’ll be open to abuse. Certainly for somebody like myself can’t justify paying Â£200+ for a season ticket each June, goes to just about every home and away game, but has less guarantee of a ticket than Mr One Game Attendee who just so happens to have a five-year stub
How would it work? Well, off the top of my head……… join up, get your membership number and with it a dedicated ticket hotline along with the ST holders. Could be a boon for away games as well. Maybe if it turns out successful you could start enhancing it, like “tiered” membership. If you could work out how many people travel away, you could start getting regular away travellers super-duper priority for the games where we will only get 500 allocated. Maybe, just maybe, even on-line booking? The technology is there certainly, and is cheaper and more reliable to do these days. When I went to Anderlecht last week, all they needed to do was send an automated PDF file confirming my details, and you just handed it to the nice man who dished out the tickets at the game. Just because we’re not a league side doesn’t mean we should shy away from thinking about this sort of thing….
As for why this can’t be part of DT membership, I don’t know either. Apparently, current regulations prohibit a trust doing this sort of thing, which to my mind is bloody stupid. Even if people just joined up for getting tickets, it looks good to have a big membership. And let’s be honest here – how many people are really interested in the day-to-day (or month-to-month) running and strategy and whatnot of the Dons Trust? One for the future methinks, and maybe a future that isn’t quite as far away as you think
Oh, and how glad are we that we built the Main Strank Stand extension now?
Amongst all this, we’ve forgotten we’re at Chelmsford tomorrow. Hopefully the players won’t be as distracted about it as we are right now. Actually, I’m in two minds about this – losing tomorrow won’t nearly hurt as much as last season. If we do, it’ll simply mean we weren’t as focused as we should be and they’ll still be the team to beat this season. Yet it’s because nobody’s been shitting themselves this week about this game that might, just might work in our favour. Remember last season where it was the be-all and end-all? And how our mood slumped when we went 2-1 ahead, went to 2-2 afterwards and that was the regular season gone?
Tomorrow is, dare I say it, just another game. Seriously, you honestly wouldn’t have said that when the fixture was announced. But then, that’s what drawing Wycombe has done to us. Don’t get me wrong, once the game starts I’ll be wanting revenge for last season. But again, there’s been no buildup from our end. There’s been no talk of revenge missions, no week long slanging matches on t’internet (OK, there never are between us and CCFC, apart from their obsession with our crowd sizes). It’s the top two and yet this feels like 10th v 11th playing instead.
A cursory glance at Chelmsford fans’ predictions of this game suggests if they’re half right in their pessimism we could well get it. It’s worth remembering that the first time we played at MP, we won 3-0. Nobody remembers it, because we were distracted by Darlogate (if I remember, it was the last game before the 18 points got deducted). Should it come to pass, it’ll be the build up to Wycombe that we all want. That glow of overcoming last year’s rivals should further impregnate into the warm fuzzy feeling that surrounds AFCW right now. Yet another step towards our ultimate goal, and our ultimate dream that we have put so much blood, tears, sinew and hard cash into.
And when we lose 5-0 tomorrow, I reserve the right to say how fucking shit we are and how Wycombe should just send their reserve team to KM…