Many fans assume that they will be refunded for an abandoned match or given free entry to the rearranged fixture but that is not always the case – so well done AFC Telford United for bucking that trend and offering free admission to all after being forced to abandon their home game against Tamworth.
Credit James Baylis/AFC Images for the image used in this news story.
The two clubs met on Easter Monday but the match was stopped by the referee after 37 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch which saw conditions become too dangerous for the players involved. But fans left high and not-so-dry were last night [Tuesday 17th April] given free entry to the rearranged fixture along with anyone else who fancied visiting the New Bucks Head Stadium. The club also extended the deal to away supporters.
Supporters responded with the home side’s best crowd of the season as 3,477 saw AFC Telford United win 1-0 and mathematically secure their Blue Square Bet Premier status for the season. The bumper crowd compares very favourably to the club’s average attendance of 1,923 while the extra pies and pints which were presumably sold should compensate club chairman Lee Carter for his generous gesture of goodwill.
"We were expecting anything between 3,000-5,000 and the crowd fell in the middle so it represented a very good return," said Mike Sheridan, web editor for the club. "The emphasis was on not ripping people off as the last game was a bit of farce but it's turned out fantastic. There were lots of new fans who'll hopefully come back."
Earlier this year the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) looked at a randomly selected sample of 13 customer charters in relation to match abandonment across the Premier League and Football League and the results didn’t make for particularly fan-friendly reading. This was on the back of Southend United fans’ near 200 mile Boxing Day round-trip which was abandoned mid-match due to floodlight failure at Aldershot Town.
If a game gets so far as the second-half many clubs might not even offer reduced tickets for the rearranged fixture meaning fans could pay twice to see only one result. Other clubs made no mention whatsoever of their policy surrounding match abandonment and related ticketing issues despite both the Premier League and Football League making clear that a club’s customer charter and ticketing policy should be clear.
When clubs get things wrong it’s easy to criticise but the FSF also feels it’s important to give clubs the credit they deserve when they get it right. So well done AFC Telford United and here’s hoping many clubs a little higher up the football pyramid take note the next time they have to abandon a game mid-match.
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