AFC Bournemouth's general manager and supporter liaison officer Liz Finney talks through the latest fan matters at Vitality Stadium.
As most supporters will be aware we have experienced problems with online ticketing over the past two weeks.
Two issues were identified as posing a barrier to booking online: a time-out/error message and an inability to properly allocate points to associated accounts.
Thanks to those supporters who responded to our request to email us with specific information relating to their booking experience as our ticketing supplier has been able to use this information to identify the underlying issue and put in place a fix on both counts.
We have been reassured by our supplier that the fix is a permanent one and we had a points drop day on Wednesday this week with no recurrence of the problem, which is good news.
We have a significant on sale approaching next Wednesday which will undoubtedly test the robustness of the system mends, but we are hopeful that these initial problems with the ticketing upgrade are now resolved.
We will meet with senior management from our ticketing supplier shortly to review recent events and plan a way forward.
Undoubtedly it has been a tough couple of weeks on the ticketing front and a big setback to the progress the ticketing team have achieved over the last few months.
Our sincere apologies go out again to supporters who were inconvenienced and frustrated by the issues they faced in booking online and for the subsequent knock-on effects on service via phone or email.
Hopefully, we can now push on with plans to implement a pick your seat service (subject to away club assistance) for away tickets, online family ticket purchases and further improvements to accessible ticketing and we will update you on progress in these areas in due course.
Season ticket deliveries
Season ticket cards were personalised over last weekend and are with the distributing company as we speak, with a view to delivery to season ticket holders in the first part of next week.
Early arrivals with Valencia
Our pre-season game against Valencia on Sunday, which has a 3pm kick off, will be the first opportunity for supporters to experience our new automated turnstile entry system and we would ask those attending to enter the ground in good time prior to kick off as unfamiliarity with the system is bound to cause a few delays.
Fans Focus Group Joint Meeting
Wednesday night saw the final meeting of this season’s general and family focus groups. Bluebird, our away coach supplier, brought one of their coaches to view and members of their management team were on hand to answer questions.
They took on board a number of suggestions regarding options to provide more leg room, tables and away-day communication and we will continue to liaise with them and feedback to supporters any changes.
Simon Francis was then on hand for a little under an hour for an informal Q&A session. The club captain was relaxed and open in responding to the group’s questions and I think that by the time he left there was an appreciation of why Simon holds the captaincy and a ramping up of anticipation to get the season started.
The meeting then progressed with discussion points around ticketing, away games and the new stadium and, in particular, consultation with supporters on our plans for the new ground.
The club is on record in the published notes of its March meeting with the Cherries Trust board as confirming that there will be supporter consultation in planning for the new stadium and this was expounded on last night.
There were also updates for the young fans present on the new, healthier, Junior Cherries meal box (still only £2.50), our new young fans co-ordinator for matchdays and a save the date for our next exclusive Junior Cherries open training session on 9th August. The full notes of the meeting will be available soon once they have been approved by all present.
In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone from this season’s three focus groups – family, general and disabled – for giving up their time to be part of the process, for contributing to some lively discussion and for their excellent feedback and suggestions.
Looking good for Sunday
Ahead of Valencia, and apart from the newly-installed automated turnstile system, supporters will be able to get up close and see the new away kit in the Superstore in advance of it going on sale on Wednesday 1st August.
Supporters will also be able to view the replacement big screen that has been installed, see how good a job the pitch team has done over the close season and see the new raised viewing platforms for wheelchair users in the Vitality East Stand and CORETX Main Stand.
Plus of course, it’s the first chance to see the team play at home this summer and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Vitality Stadium for the game.