Sunday, December 10, 2006

Come back Temme, all is forgiven

It has been easy to criticise David Temme, the former Chief Executive of Cardiff City. Conveniently placed to take heat off Hammam, he became the public face and scapegoat for any of the unglamorous and unpopular difficult business decisions taken by the club.

But many of the Ninian Park improvements for which Sam happily took the plaudits were in place before his arrival. Apart from the bars, hospitality and web facilities, Temme's main contribution was the ticketing system.

Ninian Park used to see vastly fluctuating crowds. 4,000 could turn into 11,000 from week to week. In this environment it was always difficult to emply the correct number of staff, and even to forecast how many programmes to print. There were always queues at the turnstiles for big games, with some delayed due to crowd congestion.

Temme resolved this by creating the advance ticket sales incentives, and by putting in place a sophisticated electronic ticketing system which has helped create a commercial database of 30,000 supporters. With assistance from Sean Murphy, Cardiff's ticketing improved tenfold.
Both men have now left and it seems that efficiency has followed.

As a paid up member of the club, I had anticipated some priority when a big game turned up, but this was not the case. The club has since admitted to me and I quote; "It's not really a membership, more of an away travel club." Now you tell me.

But it gets worse. I ordered two tickets online on Tuesday for yesterday's game v Ipswich. Attendance at this game was to be the qualifying factor for ticket purchase for the FA Cup at home to Spurs next month. They didn't arrive.

After three phone calls, I eventually sent my receipt to prove the purchase and was told that I could collect on the day. I would need my ticket stubs for the Tottenham game.

It doesn't end there. Apparently, my Ipswich tickets do not guarantee me entry to the Spurs game. For this, I need to take my chance in the queues at the ticket office on 18th December.
But I live 200 miles away.

I sent a mate to collect my tickets yesterday. He now has to send me the stubs, and I have to send them on to the ticket office. Once they have been received, I will be allowed to join the phone queues and apply for my Spurs ticket on the 18th.

Apparently when I get through, they will have made a note that they have received my stub in the post and will issue my ticket for Spurs. Excuse me for being cynical, but experience tells me that the chances of this running smoothly are almost nil.

My point is this. There is a digitised ticketing system in place. I bought online. The club has a history of every ticket I've bought for the past five years. Why do I need to send in a paper stub to prove purchase? It's there in front of them.

I could have applied for the Spurs ticket with yesterdays purchase, and so could the season ticket holders. In fact everybody who paid for yesterday's game will be on the database. Why do we still need 4 hour queues and repeat dial phoning?

Why do they make work for themselves? And why do they insist on wasting my time? Just send me a bastard ticket will you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you - the membership scheme feels really bungled. The Arsenal game away at Highbury last year was not made available to members, as season ticket holders got to take their guests. This bugged me a bit but I don't object to season ticket holders having a higher priority than members for a ticket. To have no priority for Tottenham is massively frustrating, but what can I do? I'm just going to watch it on Sky. I'd like to take a guest into the away end at Luton, but won't be able to buy them a ticket. The games near my home are bubble trips, so I can't go (at least, not in the Cardiff end). The club really do seem to make life harder for themselves than they need to. It's our best season for decades, and I'm rapidly losing interest. (I'm someone who used to get excited about midweek Leyland DAF games at Northampton or Colchester in the old days.) What's wrong with wanting to go to the big games, not the little games - neither money nor time are limitless. I don't go and see rubbish films at the cinema, but no-one objects if I do then go to see a blockbuster.