Bolton Blog Zone

Membership Scheme: The Point Being?


Earlier in the week Wanderers, with not a massive amount of fanfare, introduced a membership scheme.

It all seemed fairly innocuous and even quite a nice idea at first glance, but once you read into it things seemed a little different.

Firstly, as you all know by know, it’s mandatory, which is never a great word. You’ll need to be a member to buy tickets for the rest of the season, unless you’re a season ticket holder, in which case you’re alright for the remainder of the season, home or away, but come the summer it will also be mandatory if you want to renew.

It largely seems, at best, a pointless admin exercise. It is free, it can be done online or in-person, and there’s nothing to suggest it isn’t a difficult process. But we already have a de facto membership scheme, through the client reference number you’ve already got if you’re a season ticket holder or you’ve bought online, It’s ages since I’ve bought physically from the ticket office, but I presume they’ve been asking for details already too. Of course, for higher profile matches, you already need to be on the books to buy a ticket. So, it just all seems a bit pointless to introduce this new scheme.

Also, it kills the concept of just walking up and paying on the gate. Of course, whether that’s a security precaution or whatever, it won’t always be possible, but for a lot of our fixtures, we’re possibly doing ourselves out of a few extra ticket sales from people who aren’t necessarily hardcore Bolton fans, or even just people who want something to do on the day, but however quick and easy it is, you now have to go and wander over to the ticket office, sign away some personal details and add an extra layer of faff.

The one thing that has been mentioned, albeit quietly is security. The club’s desire to try and root out troublemakers, after the Wigan game but also some local away days (Accrington a couple of seasons ago was unpleasant to be honest) is understandable. They’ve also suspended match-by-match sales under the scoreboard for now, restricting that corner to incumbent season ticket holders. How they enforce that on the day is another thing, unless they start checking tickets on the stairwell and net that section off.

But, unless they go the whole hog and start insisting on photo ID for fans, then tickets will still change hands when people can’t go for whatever reason, and people will sit in other seats when free. Whether this shouldn’t happen or not, it does. And insisting on photo ID would be whole new slippery slope, something the Thatcher government tried to crowbar through, but couldn’t after a concerted pushback. ‘Key stakeholders’ were mentioned which to me reads: the local police want this, perhaps more than the club do, unless it’s a Neil Hart thing, being relatively new to the club.

But again, whether it’s difficult or not, it’s an extra hoop for football fans to jump through, which doesn’t happen in many other forms of entertainment. I’m all for punishing people who turn up to matches just be anti-social piece of work, but any response has to be proportional.

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  • Michael Moore says:

    I have bought tickets for most games at UniBol this season. Sometimes I take a mate and buy two tickets.
    What happens then under this scheme. Can I still buy two tickets? Do both have to be members ? Maybe one mate can’t come and another takes his place. Is that allowed?
    Seems to me a scheme doomed to fail.

  • geoffrey sambrook says:

    I have friends who live in the Sale area who support Doncaster and Stockport and would happily sit with me (a BWFC season ticket holder) and would be guaranteed not to create any unwanted attention in the event of their team scoring . I can safely say that they’re unlikely to join the BWFC membership scheme to attend the upcoming games and will probably just not bother. I understand the need to monitor and root out the troublemakers, but this mandatory requirement really discriminates against the casual supporters

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