Anger over Norwich City membership revamp as loyal supporters say they could miss out on away tickets
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
A revamp of Norwich City's membership scheme has sparked controversy, with supporters claiming loyal fans are being punished through the new system.
The Canaries have confirmed the remaining 1,500 seats available to City fans for home top-flight games next season will match the Premier League's price cap for visiting supporters, regardless which club Carrow Road is hosting - so no ticket will cost more than £30.However, with demand set to outstrip supply, City have also carried out an extensive revamp of their membership scheme for adults, junior fans and those set to follow City on the road.
The club has introduced a new tiered membership system. That home and away tiered membership system consists of a Premier and Standard membership, costing £50 and £35, which the club says gives all fans a fair and equal chance to buy tickets.
The Premier membership gives priority access to casual tickets and standard members get access before season ticket holders and general sale.
The club said 2018/19 members would get a £10 discount towards home membership for next season.
And that change is what has angered Norwich City fans, saying loyal fans who travelled to away games last season have not been rewarded for their support and could miss out on tickets to newer fans who bay Premier membership.
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Supporters took to Twitter to express their anger at the changes.
Will Jennings said: "Don't remember being this disgruntled with a decision from #ncfc for a long time. Had a season ticket and went to every away game last season and now I need to pay an extra £50 to make that loyalty even worthwhile in accessing tickets?? Farcical. Petition anyone?"
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Matt Lewendon posted: "So, I've been paying £500+ for 10 years, but a Liverpool fan from Beccles can pay a one off £50 for a membership and have a better chance at getting away tickets? Oh right. Cheers."
Paul Booker said: "Ridiculous decision to penalise season ticket holders who've supported the club for years."
Matthew Bunn complained: "The away system worked fine as it was... why should I (who attends most away games in a season) stand the same chance of getting a ticket as the guy whose never been to a game but chucked £50 at membership. No reward for loyalty."
Christine Dye posted: "As a member I don't agree with ticketing for away games - members and season ticket holders should still get the priority over everyone. After all these are the people who have travelled and supported for many seasons and now feels like a kick in the teeth."
Sharon Bowles said: "The club has got this wrong. Need to rethink this."
Ben Kensell, Norwich City's chief operating officer had anticipated criticism. Speaking yesterday, he said: "We know there will be some that will look at it and say why have you changed it?
"We wanted to put in a system that was fair. We spent a lot of time focusing on what's right for our fanbase.
"We've consulted with fans as well, and we believe the tiered membership scheme will work if fans give it time and give it the importance and focus that it needs.
"There is a lot of detail involved with changing something that's been in place for a long time, but we wouldn't do it if we didn't think it was for the best interests of all fans at Norwich City.
"We also wanted to manage loyalty. It's really important and there are many fans that have the opportunity to do - as well as some that haven't had that opportunity.
"So it's got to be fair and we've got to make sure it's the right scheme for us. We think we've got it right - but there will always be criticism, especially when change is involved."
Norwich City's new membership scheme goes on sale at 9am today, with City's Premier League fixtures for the 2019-20 campaign revealed 24 hours later.