The decision means that should Rangers sell all their allocation we will be significantly out numbered in a home game. At a rough estimate they will have 8500 either behind the goals or in the wings of the Main Stand.
Motherwell fans will have the East and the middle of the Main, giving a little over 4000. The plus point is that all Motherwell fans who want to watch the game can do so while we almost certainly sell 7000+ tickets to away fans. This will be marginally more than many recent games against the Old Firm and at £24 per brief, it does not take many extra sales to make some cash. The atmosphere at the opening day of last season was excellent with the ‘Well fans making more noise than usual, possibly due to a combination of more people sitting together and anger at having been moved in the first place. Other clubs change the arrangements when the Old Firm come to visit – Dundee United, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock off the top of my head – so there is little reason in principle for us not to do the same.
The downside though is not inconsiderable. Many fans feel that having paid for their seat in the DC they should be entitled to sit on it for all games – a view which is not entirely unreasonable, even if the club now warns about the potential for movement. John Boyle tried unsuccessfully to increase our fan base and unfortunately failed. Therefore it is vital that we keep on good terms with the fans we do have – not only to encourage them to part with as much cash as possible but to ensure we don't annoy them to the extent they don't come back. The ideal in this is unfortunately abstract – we need fans to keep going but on a purely cash basis it would take a good number of fans to abandon the club (for a long time!) to make it worthwhile to turn down the short term gain of the old firm's cash.
The rights and wrongs have been gone over in the past but the club could do themselves a massive favour but being more transparent with regard to Old Firm ticketing. Do we sell the tickets to Rangers/Celtic and get guaranteed cash regardless of whether they then sell them onto their fans or is it on a sale or return basis? How many extra tickets do we sell compared to the previous system? How much of our extra sales cash is offset in extra stewards and police costs? And, given the fans are making a sacrifice here, why not guarantee any extra profit is spent on a ‘good' cause, such as subsidising buses for fans, or extra youth equipment, or ensuring the people moved from the Cooper can actually hear the Public Address system at normal games?
It is understandable that the club are reluctant to release too many details about business practice but given the recent relationship the hierarchy have had with the support, a constructive leak or two might ease the understanding somewhat. Motherwell fans will put up with a lot to help the club but the club could make things a lot easier for everyone with just a little bit of communication.
The Ticket Office will open on Saturday, 8th July between 10am and 1pm solely for distribution of re-allocation tickets. General sale starts Monday, 10th July. Premium prices apply.