Pompey move to allay season ticket anger

Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Pompey moved to address fans’ season ticket complaints
  • Direct debit repayments now over seven months rather than five

Pompey have decided to alter their season ticket payment plans following fan criticism.

On Friday the Blues released details for the 2015-16 campaign, along with the claim season ticket prices had been ‘frozen’.

We recognise the fans’ concerns and hopefully that has now been addressed

Colin Farmery, club spokesman

However, a number of supporters reacted angrily to the announcement, insisting they had actually been left out of pocket.

Among the complaints was the direct debit payment scheme being reduced from 10 to five months, in addition to the introduction of a £10 administration charge.

The club have also scrapped an existing £20 discount for cash and cheques, essentially making some fans’ season tickets more expensive for next season.

Finally, age eligibility for senior citizen tickets has now been raised to 61.

The changes prompted members of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust board to spend the weekend holding talks with the club over fans’ concerns.

Now the direct debit scheme will be spread over seven months, while supporters will be able to pay an initial lump sum up front.

But other unpopular alterations will stay, with the club adamant such issues are beyond their control.

Club spokesman Colin Farmery said: ‘We regularly correspond with the Trust and, following announcements such as this, discuss if any issues have arisen and then try to work together on the outcome.

‘That is what happened in this instance. The club received a handful of queries, while the Trust clearly had some as well.

‘We recognise the fans’ concerns and hopefully that has now been addressed in the form of direct debits to be paid over seven months rather than five.

‘Those changes were brought in as direct debits can be costly to administer, but it is important to offer it. The £10 contribution does not cover the cost by any means, but helps.

‘In terms of the duration, we have had fans cancelling direct debits and also missing payments. The knock-on effect has been us chasing them for money and also having to stop season tickets.

‘With the cash and cheque discount, in an ideal world we would have liked to have continued with it.

‘But weren’t able to. Trading Standards approached us, having been informed by some Pompey fans of this deal, and we reluctantly decided to stop.

‘Finally, the raising of the age for senior citizens fits in with government categorization. However, we are looking to phase it in over five years.’

The club’s climb-down over the direct debit plans has delighted the Trust.

And board member Olly Birch revealed they had acted having been contacted by a number of supporters.

He added: ‘When we receive emails and view message boards where fans are voicing their concerns, it is important we listen to them. The Trust work closely with the club and thankfully it is different to the years when all you would get is a quick reply from Peter Storrie.

‘Mark Catlin has been brilliant. He understood peoples’ concerns aired since Friday and has changed it.’