Memo to Ian Ayre

The Spirit of Shankly have collated responses from members in relation to the recent meeting we had with Ian Ayre, Commercial Director of Liverpool Football Club and also the significant response we got relating to the changes planned to the PTS. Below is the content of a memo sent by the Union’s Club Liaison Officer today to Mr. Ayre reflecting our members’ views and suggestions on a number of issues. We will report upon any response we receive.


We published the minutes of the meeting we had with you on the 27th May 2009 on our website, and also received significant feedback from our membership relating to the PTS plans. I have put together a précis of the comments we have received which pose some further questions for you. As you might have guessed the PTS scheme caused the most feedback and concern.


PTS Scheme


Overall we received 308 emails in relation to the Club’s announcement about the PTS scheme. The comments we received relating to the planned changes to the PTS overall can be characterised as follows:


   1. Members were happy to pay £55.00 to guarantee tickets as it enables them to make travel plans. When coming from abroad members are at the mercy of the airlines if they are unable to make plans until only a few weeks before the game.
   2. For PTS members who used the scheme regularly the chances of getting a ticket have now reduced significantly so how can the ‘Belong’ scheme be described as ‘exclusive access’?
   3. There is a feeling amongst members that the new scheme is just based on making money and that the Club needs to admit this.
   4. Are the Club setting a precedent with the PTS – are season ticket holders next?
   5. Many people have to use the already expensive, overused and unable to cope with demand, phone lines and internet. Many people do not have access to these means during the day and thus rely on postal applications which we understand will no longer be used. The current arrangements discriminate against individuals with no phone or internet access during the day.
   6. The new scheme works in favour of touts, travel agents and day trippers who will spend more in the Club shop but will not necessarily be able to recreate the atmosphere we all want.
   7. The ‘Belong’ scheme is being used as a way to make up the difference in revenue because of failures elsewhere in the Club, such as sales of merchandise, which is always out of stock, especially on the website.
   8. Many members on the PTS have been on the season ticket waiting list for more than 10 years – they saw the scheme as the only way to get tickets and to be rewarded for their loyalty – a second tier of season tickets almost - and now this has been taken away.
   9. Where is the season ticket waiting list and how do you check your position? Despite what you said at the meeting there is still a very strong view that it does not exist.
  10. The Club has many tiered levels of ticketing – boxes, corporate, hospitality, red bar, PTS – so why remove the PTS on the basis that it gets rid of unfair access to tickets as this is simply not true?
  11. The Club needs to be more transparent about ticket allocations publishing the numbers per game – this will encourage people to trust the Club more over its claim to being “fair”.
  12. If so few people are using the PTS then why are all tickets snapped up for the majority of games via this method?


This feedback resulted in some suggestions about what the Club might or should do next:


   1. The Club should consider attendance and loyalty and recognise the regular users of the PTS should be rewarded within any scheme otherwise their loyalty will have counted for nothing – this would not impact hugely on overall ticket allocations.
   2. The PTS should be retained but there should be a condition that it has to be used a minimum number of times or membership is lost.
   3. A loyalty scheme for Premiership games should be introduced not just limited to cup games. Possibly based on points system where lower profile evening games attract more loyalty points.


There were also a number of supplementary questions raised by members in addition to those posed when we met:


   1. Are ex-PTS members guaranteed membership of the ‘Belong’ scheme?  Will membership numbers on the new scheme be limited or unlimited? Are PTS members expected to pay the full ‘Belong’ membership cost?
   2. Is the system of allocation for cup games (domestic and European) going to change?
   3. You indicated that a review and consultation had taken place with fans which informed the decision to cancel the PTS. Will you be releasing the findings of this identifying the respondents and the feedback that was collated? And if not, why not?
   4. Transparency in the season ticket waiting list must improve. Why can’t we be supplied with position numbers and an exact number of people on the list?
   5. Can you confirm that approximately 500 tickets for each away game are not included in the normal selling procedure as away games are selling out on much higher credits that in any previous season?
   6. Can the Club publish an improved explanation over the issues relating to Fancards, PTS and the ‘Belong’ scheme as many people are confused about the changes?
   7. Are more tickets being given to Supporters Clubs and will they be required to pay the £29 fee to ‘Belong’ as per the number of tickets they receive? And if not how exactly will they be dealt with?
   8. Will you be considering the return of window sales given the added expense of the internet and phone sales and the removal of postal applications?
   9. Will the new scheme enable people to book tickets in groups as with the PTS?


Feedback from members from Meeting


The PTS issue may have overshadowed the report we put out of the meeting with you, however the general comments we received included the fact that members were pleased to see communication with the Club on issues that affect so many and that the meeting did cover most of the issues that concerned fans. The issues that were fed back to us to seek further information from you were as follows:


Kids on the Kop

Some members were disappointed with the decision to remove the adult and child tickets from the Kop. The original position for adult and child tickets had been in 305 and 306 and this has now been replaced with the RTK section. Rather than moving the adult and child tickets forward they were simply discontinued. There are concerns that the future generations won’t grow up understanding the nature of the Kop and thus how to create the famous Kop atmosphere.


Season Ticket Waiting List

As with ex-PTS members this is an extremely sensitive issue. Few people believe the waiting list even exists and have never received any communication that suggests the data is ever cleaned. Evidence supplied by members suggests that people have been on the waiting list for anything up to 13 years, or have registered on a number of occasions, and have never heard anything.  The question most people asked is if the list does exist then why is the ticket office not able to tell people what position they are on the list?

I would welcome feedback from you on the issues raised by our members, most pressingly in relation to some accommodation for the loyal users of the PTS scheme within the new ‘Belong’ arrangements.

Spirit of Shankly


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