Hard to defend Ipswich Town’s own goal over season ticket refund debacle

Ipswich manager Paul Lambert may have made phone calls to supporters during lockdown, but Liz says s

Ipswich manager Paul Lambert may have made phone calls to supporters during lockdown, but Liz says she thinks they'd just prefer to know they will be getting a refund on their season tickets for games cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Football fan Liz Nice says supporters will fall out of love with her team if the club doesn’t rectify their current issue with refunds for season tickets

All my plans for 2020 went out the window when we went into lockdown in March.

The Thetford Forest trip to see Madness. The London theatre trip to see Dear Evan Hansen. The Killers playing in Norwich. None of these things will be happening this year.

However, there were compensations.

I got my money back for Madness straight away. The theatre refund took a little longer but it duly arrived back in my bank account as promised, while The Killers event has been moved to next year.

So far, so good – and the money I saved was much appreciated.

Meanwhile, my Norwich-supporting friends have had their season ticket money refunded already but as an Ipswich Town season ticket holder, I still haven’t had my money back for the games that haven’t taken place. In fact, I am now paying my direct debit for next season already and I can’t help thinking that the club does take me for granted a little bit.

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According to an article in the East Anglian Daily Times last week, “The Blues are one of a handful of League One clubs yet to announce details regarding potential refunds but it’s understood the club’s policy for both season tickets and individual match tickets is close to being finalised after several weeks of talks.”

Personally, I’m a little irritated by ‘several weeks of talks’. How long does it take to decide that season ticket holders should clearly be getting their money back if what we paid for isn’t going to take place?

Like everyone else, Ipswich Town hasn’t had a lot to do apart from sit around and talk so, as a supporter, you might like to think that one of the things that crossed their minds to talk about was doing right by their most loyal supporters.

Watching the Norwich game on Saturday, I was struck by the very clear feeling that if Carrow Road had been full, Norwich might well be on their way to Wembley right now. The supporters are the club – and the worst thing any club can do is not at least give the impression that we matter to them at all.

In some ways, they have got it right. I know of a supporter, a senior citizen who was shielding in the first 12 weeks of lockdown, who received a telephone call from Paul Lambert himself to check that she was doing OK. This meant a great deal to her and made her feel that the club does actually care.

Those who purchased actual match tickets for the unplayed eight games have also been told that their money will be refunded – but how many people will that actually affect compared to season ticket holders?

There will be many people who could really use their money being returned and who will be asking why it is instead sitting in an Ipswich Town bank account gaining interest, rather than their own, while most other clubs, and cash strapped theatres, and all sorts of other venues that will have their own financial pressures, have managed to do the right thing.

According to the East Anglian Daily Times, the hold up is due to staff who would process the refunds being furloughed and a change to a new ticketing system but none of these issues would stop the club at least letting season ticket holders know what is going to happen in due time. We have to wait until early July apparently – why has it taken so long?

Apparently, the refunds would cost the club £800,000 and there is a hope that many fans will leave the money with the club. I am sure many people will be guilted into that action, even though I find it hard to believe that any football club needs it more than they do. But I can’t help feeling that if you want people who love you to act out of love, it’s a good idea to remember that, at times, that love has to come from both sides.

Are readers having trouble getting refunds in other areas? I know of several people who are having issues over their holidays for example. Do let me know at liz.nice@archant.co.uk

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