Date: 23rd August 2020 at 12:59pm
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With football appearing to sort itself out amidst the Coronavirus outbreak and returning to some sense of normality, one of the other big chats that has kept fans of all clubs – not just Aston Villa – busy, is the topic of fans returning to their home grounds to cheer teams on.

With plenty of talk of some supporters being allowed back into Stadiums at the end of September, Government guidance as it stands (the last meeting being held last Thursday) has October 3 pencilled in, so presumably the Villa hierarchy are also working on that basis.

Naturally, fans focus on their own team, but if reports about away fans being banned for the whole campaign are correct, then obviously Villa have a touch more wriggle room to let a greater number of Villans in if attendance is ultimately capped at 20/30% of total capacity.

Vital Villa’s When will fans be able to go back? When will you go back? Forum Thread

The expectation is that the Premier League/EFL/Government want a ‘one size fits all approach’ for simplicity, but whether or not clubs can individually decide for themselves within the greater guidelines, one question still stands out.

What process do you use to select which fans attend which games and can you please everyone here with some kind of rotation system?

The thread linked above covers plenty of pitfalls here and makes for a decent read as the issues go far beyond just ‘fan selection’ that I’m more focused on here. Okay, social distancing in the seats is one thing – but then we’ve got to consider getting to the seats, queueing to enter the stadium, people needing to piddle mid-match. Add half time and facilities into the equation and so on.

So ignoring that tangent, you would assume Season Ticket Holders would be prioritised over Match Day public, then Membership schemes next in line. But do you prioritise long term Season Ticket Holders first on a length of service basis or would that be counter productive for the next generation?

Do we tweak social distance measures by stand, where higher risk age groups distance more, with less at risk age groups packed in a touch closer?

It sparked quite a few interesting thoughts, so I’ll pick out a couple as they are all on the above link anyway.

The Fear
You could have one row empty, you could have a space between each fan (so an empty seat) but we’d still have to queue, how bottlenecked would that be at even 1 m apart? Then what, straight to your seats not standing in the concourse? No drink or food? If there is drink/food you can take your mask off, so that doesn’t work. And then you go to your seat, at a distance from the next fan BUT to get to your seat, you have to go by other fans and that is close contact.

ironside
If crowds are limited in size you could have a situation with rationing where you are only allowed to attend one in every three or four games.

MF
Yeah, even down to burger vans etc and that ‘side’ of the business. The authorities can’t just think of stadiums in isolation. Even if VP could operate one way systems…as was said above, what about someone needing a toilet trip…what if 70% of the ground go for a piddle at the same time ie half time.

Old Trinity Villan
To me it should be done on ST holders and their length of service so to speak. If some of the older members wish to not take up the offer due to health issues it should be offered to the next on the list. I don’t see how you could be fairer?

sirdennis
Whichever way you do it, someone will be unhappy. 30,000 season ticket holders in theory so do 10,000 per game on a rota so everyone goes to 1 game in 3. We need to encourage new supporters and by them not being able to go we may lose them.

VillaTomB38
Absolutely no argument with the above points, those who’ve been season ticket holders the longest should be front of the queue if they want to go. I’m not sure how there could be any arguments with that, if you’re a casual fan/member then you just have to accept it. Personally I would even go as far as not including those who bought a season ticket after promotion.

MF
surely the brains at the club can come up with a system that rewards each ‘decade group’ more than the one that follows. 70’s/60’s/50’s etc. That way longer term holders get more preference for games across the season than 1yr holders, but 1yr holders still get a few games to keep them engaged.

Holte139
I think all season ticket holders should be treated equally, otherwise what’s the point in people in their 20s, 30s or 40s having one? We all pay our money, at the end of the day. There’s also a medical case for younger supporters coming back, as so far the data shows that those under 50 are less likely to develop serious illness. I’m sure people will always find a way to argue against whatever the system is (like I’ve done above!) but the only fair way I can see is a ballot of season ticket holders, done in a way where every ST holder has to be successful once before anybody gets a second ticket.

Melon Donkey
I think it’s unfair to choose between season ticket holders giving priority to those who just happened to have been born before others. Hardly fair to prioritise a 60 year old just because he happened to have been born 30 years before an equally as committed and passionate 30 year old, for example. It’s just luck that the 60 year old has a 30 plus year head start. Maybe the barometer should be priority starts with those since 2016/17. This is the most recent test of loyalty, when we went down. Those who stuck with or even bought for the first time or came back to be a ST holder that first EFL season be the priority.

gator
I started to think of the young lads I have met over the last 5/6 seasons who got season tickets when they were 16/17, who are now early 20’s and still going strong girlfriends/wives and even having kids hasn’t stopped them, so to me they are your next generation core which should be both rewarded and encouraged in equal measures. But anyone who travels regularly will surely be able to tell you that there has been quite a big contingent of young fans who travel every away game and have been for quite few seasons now. So I do feel they should also be given the chance to attend too and I say this as someone who has been going for a few years now. So now I have been swayed into Sirdennis’s way of thinking that all season ticket holders should be given the chance to attend a third of the home games.

VillaTomB38
Minus the 6,000 odd who bought a season ticket after promotion would leave around 24,000. If the club are allowed 12-15,000 inside then season ticket holders will be able to go every other game. That’ll do for now.

Would You Prioritise ST Holders?

All Season Ticket Holders First

All Season Ticket Holders First

There Has To Be Rotation For All To Be Fair

There Has To Be Rotation For All To Be Fair

I think the only thing everyone agrees on, is they are glad it isn’t them that has to make the decision!

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