IF there’s one thing that annoys me more than people leaving football matches before the end it’s people who buy season tickets and don’t go.
Every week you hear people say there were never the number of people in the ground the club said there was.
A bit of research by my news reporter colleague at The Bolton News, Dale Haslam, a couple of years ago unearthed some remarkable figures from Manchester United.
They showed the Reds regularly had crowds in the mid-60,000s but gave it out as 76,000.
They’re not on their own. I was at the Etihad Stadium last year for end-of-season dead rubbers against Wigan and Fulham when the attendances were given as full houses despite there clearly being around 10,000 empty seats.
We get it at Bolton. When I ask how many were at the Reebok the story’s always the same. “They said it was 15,000 but there were no more than 12,000.”
And so it goes at every ground.
And in every case, the reason given is the same – that the clubs include season ticket holders in the figure they give out.
Wait, hold on a minute, what are they saying? That there are people who buy season tickets and don’t go?
And not just a few but thousands at every club?
That’s incredible. Who buys something they don’t use? And there must be tens of thousands of people all over the country who are doing it.
You wouldn’t buy a car and never drive it, so why buy a season ticket and not use it?
Apart from anything else it’s disrespectful to other fans who do want to go to the games.
They’re probably the same people who complain about Germans on holiday putting their towels on sun loungers to stop others using them.
It doesn’t only happen in England either. Speaking of Germany, Bayern Munich are looking to take action by taking away the season tickets of fans who don’t show up to at least eight of the 17 home games.
That’s lenient. I’d make it 13.
This disgraceful practice is carried out by people with more money than they need buying up a seat and stopping another fan from using it for the purpose it was made... sitting on it.
Even at Bolton, where there’s no difficulty getting a ticket, this activity can cause a problem.
Next week Wanderers are allowing adults to upgrade cheap concessionary tickets to an adult one for free for the Blackpool game.
This will hopefully get the bums on seats which aren’t happening due to stay-at-home season ticket holders.