What’s the true cost of “earning your stripes”?

CostlySeats

What could ignite opinion more surely than a change to the cost of going to watch Hull City? A name change perhaps…but we’re struggling after that point.

It’s therefore courageous, in the Sir Humphrey Appleby sense of the word, of City to make sizeable changes to their prices and method of entry.

What’s occurring?

They’ve taken the form of tickets, booklets and latterly swipe-cards – but the season ticket is to be no more. Instead, it’s all memberships. You buy a membership. Three levels exist: “One Stripe”, “Two Stripe” and the very adidasy-sounding “Three Stripe”.

The exact benefits of these are yet to be explained, which strikes us as a missed opportunity. Why set out the tiers without outlining what each incorporates?

Nonetheless, the basic price of a membership including access to every home game is clearly outlined – and the most notable feature is that prices are no longer set by age, but by which area of the stadium your seat is in. Everyone pays the same in their chosen zone. And you pay monthly, throughout the year, not the season.

Whether that works out at more or less expense depends on circumstance. Adults can now pay as little £21 a month…but only if you are prepared to sit in certain areas of the stadium, none of which are down the side. But if you aren’t too fussed about your location, a full season of football could now be just £252 for a full-paying adult. That’s half the current price. So far, so good.

What’s the catch?

Well, you may have to move. Most other areas of the ground cost more than £21pm, rising up to prices comparable to this season’s. And those huge discounts apply only to full paying adults. And there’s a little asterisk besides the club’s advertising image stating that “qualifying conditions apply” – this too is not expanded upon.

If you’re a child (or more likely, paying for a child), or a young adult, or a senior citizen, take a deep breath. Your concessions have gone. We’re all paying the same price now. And for kids, that price is rising steeply.

Do I have to move?

Maybe. You can stay in your current seat and pay more than others will be. Unless you sit in the Upper West Stand, which is now being closed on a matchday to “improve the atmosphere”.

Oh, and if you’re a single adult in the South Stand, you’re also being evicted to make way for an enlargement of the family area.

Who wins?

Adults who are willing to move could make huge savings. Not a freeze, nor a modest saving, but a potential halving of the cost of football.

Who loses?

Kids. People who pay for kids. Teenagers. Seniors. And full paying adults who don’t/can’t, for whatever reason, move to a different part of the stadium. Anyone in the West Upper or South who doesn’t want to move but is being forced to.

How did we arrive at this?

City say this scheme has been years in the making, and indeed it’s an idea we dimly recall being pitched to Adam Pearson when he was in charge of the club.

It’s been said that the club are unhappy with the proportion of adults who use concessionary tickets to gain discounted access to which they aren’t entitled. If so, removing kids’ discounts strikes us as using an elephant gun to tackle a mosquito.

A few weeks ago, at the most recent Fans’ Working Group meeting, those present had an outline of the scheme shown to them, though only after signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Yes, really. The club were very anxious not to have any details revealed. Now, this NDA was made out to “Hull City Tigers”, and as a quick scan of the league table shows no such club we didn’t really feel entirely bound by it, but as courteous guests we naturally abided by it.

The club also asked for feedback based upon a presentation, and invited us to submit further observations and constructive criticism via e-mail. Kids prices were raised by others at the time, though a firm response to this was skipped over. Perhaps this ought to have alerted us that something was amiss.

We strongly advised against compelling people to move. The upper west stand isn’t our cup of Darjeeling, but its patrons deserve better than summary eviction from a seat they may have had for over a decade. It can only generate ill will. Unfortunately this recommendation hasn’t been acted upon.

We thought then, as now, that this is a scheme with some merit. Discounting adult prices is a very welcome move, even if it entails the possible aggravation of moving. A few weeks ago, we offered qualified support, pointing out that several improvements had to be made before it represented the major improvement the club is keen advertise but appreciating that this is something worthy of consideration and capable of offering genuine benefits. We like the principle and we recognise the potential. But…

It is not tenable to price out kids and families in this way, and could cause immense long-term damage to the club. We remember the dog days of the 1990s, when City’s prospects were so bleak an entire generation of kids grew up wearing other team’s shirts. Repairing that damage and making the club attractive to kids took many, many years. We’re risking the same situation again.

Please, City, have another think.

26 replies
  1. Northampton Tiger
    Northampton Tiger says:

    I don’t have a season pass as I don’t attend every home game but when I do attend I do enjoy the view from the West Stand Upper. I will miss this view but I can see the sense in putting the away fans up there. Why? Because the West Stand don’t sing and rarely get behind the team vocally.Away fans can be guaranteed to get behind their team so putting the away fans in there will create an atmosphere in the West Stand and it might (emphasise ‘might’) improve the atmosphere in the stadium all round. As an occasional supporter though I’m waiting to see what my ‘membership’ will comprise.

  2. Chris Stern
    Chris Stern says:

    5th March 1966 I saw my first match, Hull City v Southport FA Cup Rd 5 Swan, Davidson, Butler, Jarvis, Milner, Simpkin, Henderson, Wagstaff, Chilton, Houghton, Butler 2-0 ( HT 0-0) Chilton 2 67, 69 38,811

    Hull City v Rotherham will be my last ever match. From the center of the Upper West Stand I have a choice, move to the wings of the south stand (will these become known as pensioners corners?) or pay a huge amount more for an inferior seat, or give up. I’ll take the latter. My lifelong love for and loyalty to Hull CITY counts for nothing under the current owners.

    For once, if I may say so, I feel a lack of understanding from the writer above for what it feels like to be at this point in life, where you are leaving behind most of what you have done forever, but expect to have continuity supporting the team you love. Losing that is devastating.

    Great for those who save some money, of course that assumes you are not bumped to accommodate displaced supporters from another area. There is going to be chaos. And, they will lose a huge proportion of the youngsters we once were when our seeds of devotion were sowed.

    The sacking of Nick Barmby was a pointer to how and why things would go the way they have.

    The Allam’s have no empathy with us at all.

  3. Mr Ed
    Mr Ed says:

    Is this the last spiteful move of the despot “custodian” aka our clubs owner because he never forgave his customers for having the audacity to say no to an ill thought out idea to change the clubs name? I have been a season ticket holder for 15+ years and my 12 year old son since he was 5 years old. Like many I felt a reduction post relegation would be appropriate but continued to support the club even though this did not come, after all your club is part of you through the good and the bad. However, enough is enough and I feel compelled to end my 40 year love affair with Hull City as our dictator has gone too far. I will still follow and will happily return when we have someone who has the clubs and fans best interests as heart and does not treat us like we are a bunch of naive subordinates. It is not the cost it is the principle! This behaviour (disrespect of the fans) was seen at Leeds by Ken Bates and have they ever recovered?

  4. Bunkers Bill
    Bunkers Bill says:

    Another sad day for our club on the eve of a big game too- the usual impeccable timing.

    Messily and incompetently rolled-out, and seemingly only half rolled out. How typical of these two chancers who ‘run’ our club and have convinced themselves they are ‘experts’ in their every business venture.

    These two never paid to watch a football match in their lives, they’ve never supported a club, they just don’t get ‘support’.

    Too arrogant to listen and consult, too isolated to understand why people get angry about it.

    I’m not out yet but I’m sidling another step towards the door……

  5. Ambertigerfan
    Ambertigerfan says:

    Where are the 10 pounds tickets Allam promised? Surely this revamp was his big chance to match his rhetoric with reality?

    Ah no, wait, Allam is a lying scheister. Don’t expect him to sell the club either. The “interest game” is far too lucrative. Never trust an ols Egyptian accountant!

  6. Dr Seuss
    Dr Seuss says:

    I ‘ve written about this a couple of times on the HDM website so my views are fairly clear. I totally agree with Chris Stern and others here. I will, after 51 years of supporting City, not attend another live match after the Rotherham game. I will shake hands with people around me in West Stand Upper and walk away. I’m 64 in a couple of weeks and I have never had a concessionary seat there. Yes, top price every season for a top class view and I didn’t begrudge it ( well not much) but obviously that wasn’t enough for the owners. A walkout was suggested on HDM site and I would support that totally but I can’t see it doing anything to alter our Leader’s actions. Another interesting post on the HDM site cited what a “private members club” such as City will become with these changes can do without challenge from the FA. I’m not sure how accurate it all is but the future looks very worrying for all of us who love the club.

  7. Andy
    Andy says:

    Chris Stern, I’m not sure about our “lack of understanding”. Not only did we appeal to the club not to evict those in the Upper West, we too recently faced the prospect of having to walk away from City, over the name change.

  8. James Winfield
    James Winfield says:

    It’s really disheartening to see the club lose fans such as Chris, with yet another ill-thought out measure.

    The idea of having the fans closer together to improve the atmosphere is not a bad one, per se, but the cack-handed execution of it should surprise nobody.

    Perhaps a more sensible proposal would be to employ a nudge strategy to encourage those who prefer upper west to choose to move rather than be evicted, for example tickets in other areas of the ground could become cheaper – or perhaps other areas qualify for senior concessions. If people still want to stay in the upper west, so be it.

    Then again, if ticket prices were more competitive – perhaps we wouldn’t need to think about closing the upper tier either.

  9. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    I am a OAP concession in the south stand,sitting with my daughter & her nephew.
    We have gone to several away games each season as well.
    If it’s to become NO concessions I can see quite a few like me that will just not renew.
    Also quite a few concessions both children & OAPs do go to away matches I can see this dropping as well.
    Bottom line is… Is there any other football league clubs who have dropped concessions?
    But away fans will still get concessions, so again Hull City have crapped on again their own supporters.

  10. Jon
    Jon says:

    Myself, wife and sons (11 and 14) had to think very carefully about renewing last season as the price increased by roughly £300. Under the new system if we wished to remain in our current seats we’d be looking at yet another increase of nearly £700. However, we aren’t able to remain in our current seats in west upper so we’d be forced to move to a position in the lower west where the view (in our opinion) isn’t as good. Agreed, if we moved to a family area in one corner we would be paying less but still more than we paid in 2014/15 for a view that is the worst in the ground. Unfortunately the proposed changes leave us with no alternative but to walk away from the club, a club I’ve followed since 1979.

  11. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    I think the fans before the season finishes ought to show their disgust the same way that the Liverpool fans did and walk out during a match.
    After all the Liverpool owners took note and dropped the increases

  12. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    Mind you our owners don’t go!! So depends if they are watching their feed at home I suppose

  13. Ruisliptiger
    Ruisliptiger says:

    As the current owner of four sprogladites. I would suggest any price change that makes away games cheaper to attend than home fixtures, could impact attendances significantly for families.

    In this decade of unrivalled success we are enjoying. It would be a shame not to capitalise and develop a throng of avoid new Tigers fans.

  14. Officer Crabtree
    Officer Crabtree says:

    “As the current owner of four sprogladites…”

    Let’s hear it for Ruisliptiger’s tallywhacker.

  15. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Currently I pay £605 for me and my son to sit in the East Stand. Same seats next season £822
    Even if I move to the cheapest area its still £504. So yes a saving of £101 but for an inferior view.
    What do I do, tell my son that he can’t come anymore?
    #$$###@@ crazy!!!!!
    We need to unite to bring some sense to this. We now have the most expensive kids tickets.

  16. Aggie
    Aggie says:

    Another attack on supporters! I expected more of an outcry from AN – pensioners and children to pay for reductions for some adults – its outrageous. Another example of the Allam’s favourite tactic – divide and rule! The long term effects are disasterous as families and youngsters will be priced out of attending. I just hope AN and the Supporters Trust mount a credible campaign to reject this latest attempt to destroy our club.

  17. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Michael Coates – completely empathise with you and there is NO way you should be priced out.
    This HAS to be reviewed.
    Surely 1/2 or 1/3 price MAX for OAPS, U-18’s.

  18. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Tinights match review…..AAAAAAAAARrRRGGGHhhh!
    Priced out of going.
    Had to watch in a pub, only for some ar#e&ole to switch over to Rugby after 15 mins.
    Absolutely gutted.

  19. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    As a supporter since 1962, the force was already weakening to indulge in long solo drives in winter… plus the delights of escaping from the traffic chaos around the KC. I too frequent the Upper West Stand when visiting, so not getting in there is another negative.
    So giving the away fans the best view in the stadium plus the opportunity to drop messages of love…like cups of piss…on home fans below is a good idea? How are they to get in and out, get to the toilets at half time, etc and maintain segregation? Has this been run past the police? The better singing hypothesis looks like another let’s get at the West Standers…just give it a rest!

  20. Dr Seuss
    Dr Seuss says:

    gjhdurham I think the bottom line is that the owners don’t like football supporters because they are prone to being independent of throat and opinion and therefore the owners don’t want us in their ground.I’m quite sure the police will have things to say about these plans but by the time it comes to the test we season ticket holders in WU stand will have all fucked off in a huff or been placed in an inadequate replacement seat so we are no longer a problem and the Allams can shut the WU stand forever making the stadium even less viable until the running costs become a burden and a business plan is put forward to “rejuvenate” the site by building an hotel, leisure complex etc and the council will have little choice but to comply as the audit commision will say that the stadium is a “white elephant” and “is not value for money” and force the council into its sale. All hypothetical and close to a Hollywood plot I admit but I’ve struggled to come up with another reason why the owners want to fuck off their customers. I’m sure I’ve never seen that put forward as a business model anywhere else.

  21. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    If we stay in the Championship and this ill thought out proposal is employed then we’ll be down to 12,000 a game, with no OAPS who’ve supported the club for 50 or 60 years and no children who are the fans of the future.
    GJH – agree with you ref: The West Stand too.
    Crazy!!!!
    I will ve writing to the club and to Radio Humberside.
    I implore everyone to do the same.

  22. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Ps. If we go up, then the above will still happen but the seats vacated by long standing genuine fans will be filled with Premier League plastics and tourists.

  23. selbytiger
    selbytiger says:

    I first watched the tigers from bunkers hill in 1971 aged twelve in the mud and crap before the cantilever stand was built.Watched the floodlights going up from school (Riley) and finally progressed to the Kempton.Left Hull in 75 to go to college in London followed by 42 years in the merchant navy, thereby watching the tigers from afar.Retired in 08 and was able to buy my first season ticket.Yes of course being an old git I sit in the west stand upper in one of the best seats in the house, and go to every away fixture (Missed Trencin because as a doddery old git I was too late to book the flight).Over the past 8 years have made some good friends by virtue of being in this position.Now it seems all this was for nothing.
    During my time in the MN went through the Suez canal a fair few times.Now anyone who has made that transit, either as crew or passenger (and I bet theres quite a few of us who follow the Tigers) will remember the bum boat men who came on board to set up their little market place to sell trinkets and phoney ancient egyptian artifacts.Total crap the lot of them, buy a ‘genuine’ Rolex for twenty quid and the beetle died the next day once you were out of sight of land.
    But far more entertaining was the ‘Gilly Gilly Man’. This character came on board and drummed up a crowd, and once he had managed to get a few pennies off everyone would start his little magic act.All very ordinary, a few card tricks, find the ball under one of three cups after he’d shuffled them around etc. But then the big finale.From his coat pocket he would produce four or five baby chicks, they WERE real and would be hopping around the deck, until before your very eyes he would make them disappear, and I do mean DISAPPEAR.Took any first trippers or new passengers by surprise and even the old hands could NEVER figure out how he did this.
    By now you will be saying what the fuck is this old twat burbling on about.
    Well its like this substitute the Allams for the Gilly Gilly Man, and the chickens for the fans and its the same story.That is to say that without doubt many (sadly not all as that would make a very strong statement) of the faithful fans are going to disappear once Gilly Gilly Allam stages his latest ugly ploy.
    Oh by the way there was one big difference between the Gilly Gilly Man and our ‘esteemed’ owners.The dirt poor Gilly Gilly man was a very very likeable man and not at all spiteful like certain millionaires we all know.

  24. Steve Foster
    Steve Foster says:

    My views are entirely liked those expressed above especially the letter from Chris Stern. My first match was Easter Monday 1966 against Oxford United, and the Rotherham game this season will be my last.
    I spat my dummy out last season and didn’t renew my 2 seats in the East Stand, but continued to go to every home came ( because it’s in your blood), and eventually bought a half season pass, ending up in the North Stand.
    Next season it will work out cheaper for me and my grandson to attend, but I find it despicable that some chancer’s like the Allams can dictate to people who have had a passion for the club throughout their lives.I will also try to get tickets for away games because at most other clubs they value your custom.
    I would urge everyone to let their feelings be known at the next few games, and even if you pass the Allams in the street vent your anger ( Martin Fish & Co got more stick than this shower), and please please please Hull Daily Mail & Radio Humberside do some proper reporting on what the fan’s feelings truly are about these s**ts.

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