Corporate Marketing v Crowd Safety – The Eternal ArgumentPeter Houghton
Why is it that our Corporate and Marketing departments deliver what could be seen to be unacceptable challenges at key matches by selling spaces to visiting fans?
We have seen this at many stadia over recent seasons, usually on Champions League nights against German clubs or the likes of Celtic.
This time it was a challenge for Steve and Boyd at Newcastle United where places in the Millburn Stand were sold to Liverpool fans who missed out on tickets in the visitors section. With Liverpool winning the match with a last gasp goal, it was always going to be something that would light the blue touchpaper and cause upset among Newcastle’s fans. And according to the Chronicle in Newcastle this seemed to spill out on to the streets afterwards.
It does not take a genius to note that when the address section of an online booking contains an out-of-town post code, the request should be looked at more closely, especially if that post code is typical of the visiting team, but in reality does it happen? How long is it before the pattern is recognised?
I recall one occasion at the Etihad when City were due to play Lech Poznan and Sue Tilling, then at Spurs contacted us to warn us that that when Spurs had played a Polish team, they had pockets of Polish ex-pats springing up all over the stadium. This enabled us to run an audit and we discovered thousands of ticket applications from people with Polish names from post codes all over the UK. We were able to redesign our operation plan to control up to 6000 Lech Fans which was double the norm.
Clearly, when our stadium has sold out, as the Newcastle- Liverpool match did, this is not possible, but when we have planned our match day operation as diligently as we do, isn’t it just a nightmare when such a googlie is bowled at us?
The Chronicle had the following to say….