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My Thoughts on the next seasons ST

So a new season is approaching and obviously the next seasons season tickets need to be sold, with Irish now back in the Championship and the West Stand being the only option available a different pricing structure is required and we have of course a new set of changes to the ST offering.

A couple of key headlines for next season:
  • No Unreserved seating
  • Children are no longer free
  • Goodbye to AFES discount
  • Introduction of Patrons membership
  • Increase in prices
Personally for me whilst I am a bit gutted the unreserved section is going and I have used it previously I'm not overly fussed by this disappearing, over recent seasons it has been watered down to the extent where it almost became irrelevant because people always had their favorite spots and other than sitting in the East Stand did me as a buyer really deserve a reduced ticket price?! That said if Irish were to get promoted after the coming season given the lower attendances of late I don't see any harm in the entire East stand coming back to that model or even closing the East and using the South Stand as unreserved.

Children no longer free I can imagine is a kick in the teeth for many especially those who had two or more kids which essentially has added £100+ a year to support London Irish regularly, I think this will prevent many families from getting a season ticket and I'm surprised Irish didn't offer a family option for those in the far wings of the East stand at a discounted price to help lessen the blow. That said given the increasing financial pressure on the club I can understand the move, given that they were free previously I would love to see the figures of those actually utilized regularly or those who got them for the occasional game they could bring family members. For £50 for a child I would like to see them get a bit more for their buck other than just a seat though, this is a real opportunity to encourage young fans to the club and when I was younger I used to save to pay £10 to join the Digger club for the season. Maybe with these younger members (who wouldn't gain from an ordinary membership) on top of the Christmas party and a flag, maybe some merch (or team poster which I remember getting in the post when I was younger) would help benefit the club long term, this are pretty low cost but a little perk that could help sweeten the deal to families. However even without that if you divide £50 by the amount of games it's still good value for money and you would probably end up paying more for a game elsewhere.

The next difference is the lack of AFES discount, this one personally affects me so I will try and be balanced. Firstly I do not do the job I do for a discount so whilst I am a bit gutted I'm not expectant of a discount. In a case of bad timing for me, I have recently changed shift patterns and now have more weekends off (rather than two out of five weekend off) however I still have the occasional weekend at work (excluding any additional days off that get cancelled). I saw the discount as a way of addressing the balance for the occasional game I would miss.  However without the discount I'm now debating whether its worth getting a ST or I wait to see what the fixture list god produce or I do what I currently do and buy tickets for games I would like to see, I understand Irish need to save the pennies and to be fair I would probably go anyway if I was off so I can see why they have done it. I however would suggest a different approach and keep a lesser discounted version of the ST available for AFES however remove it for one off tickets bar for special events. That way I can still show my loyalty and get rewarded for it but those who would go to one off games don't get rewarded in the same way. That said I still want to see events happening I think where the club has links with the RAF (through Josh McNally) we should support that and do something a bit different on those occasions.

The final thing I will talk about is the Patrons Membership, I think its a good way to raise funds for the Academy (and maybe we should encourage all the different ways of doing so) however by making it exclusive to just ST holders they're excluding those that want to support the academy and want to get closer to the club in an easy way (without having to attend game). As above I may or may not get a ST next season so I might have to go for a ticket-less membership but I still want access to those events and I would probably pay for it. The last time Irish were in the Championship I did what was called then as an Exiles Membership and despite going to as many games as I could (that I could get off from work) I didn't get any invite to the end of season event at Hazelwood, which without sounding too pathetic I just wanted to see the trophy and celebrate! But because I don't have a ST I'm not seen as deserving enough. It does frustrate me as I am no lesser fan and strangely I want to give the club my money but I'm prevented from doing so! I'm going to have to wait and see if I can get one but I hope people do take up the offer.

These are just my opinions on the offer and if you want to have a proper look the link to the Irish website is here


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