There has been much coverage of the discounted local community tickets at the West ham v Man City match last.It has also brought some unwelcome press in the Daily Express, Star and Mail.
I understand there is much mis-information on this subject.
The first thing to explain is this discounting of tickets for the local community is nothing new for West Ham. The discounted community trust offer started at Wigan home match last season and was featured on BBC Match of the Day. I understand around 400 tickets were discounted during that first match.
There was another community discount ticket offer at the Stoke home match for another 80 people from one particular community project.
There have been allegations that between 2,000 and 2,500 discounted tickets were sold. I understand the true number to be around 1,500.
West Ham say they have nothing to hide and are proud of their close links the Community. The West Ham United Community Sports Trust website clearly states that affordable match day tickets are available for pupils in Schools in East London and Essex are priced at £5, Tickets for Junior Football clubs with accompanying parents are available for £5 for the child with the adult going free of charge and Tickets for Troops can bought tickets for £10 www.community.whufc.com/
Possibly the biggest difference for this match was it was category A match and every previous community related match had been category B.
I understand the community partners can request discounted tickets for any match. It just so happens there were tickets left for the Man City match and the decision was made to extend this offer to the Man City category A game as the match was unlikely to sell out. This fact appears to have been confirmed by Jack Sullivan when he tweeted “The 5 pound ticket were [Sic] a one off to the local community to fill empty seats for a TV game”
Stories that locals were given free tickets or that 2,500 tickets were given to Newham council to distribute are wide of the mark.
West Ham confirmed on Monday in a WHUFC.com article that “As per the terms of the contracts with said partners, the tickets were offered at a discounted rate, but absolutely no tickets were provided free of charge and fans from all locations, background, race and religion were included”
Although the media have highlighted a facebook video of a small number of members of the local community praying just before half time I understand no complaints of racism or harassment was made to the club by these local community members. The media seem to going for sensational headlines without any real substance.
I am sure the club has learnt from this experience and need to be much more transparent and up front about these community offers to dispel any ill feeling from season ticket holders/supporters and negative headlines.
There were also reports that members of the local community celebrated Man City goals. I was sitting in the Sir Trevor Brooking lower close to where these tickets were situated and didn’t see that happening. I also know no-one else who did. Many of the local community who came to West ham for the first time were wearing West Ham tops so that accusation doesn’t hold much water for me.
Many of us live and/or work in one of most of the diverse City’s in the world and we are one West Ham Family.