A free ticket

by Mystical Mike

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I remember when I used to answer the phones for Danny Kelly (now talkSPORT) and we’d sit in the studio wondering what would take off that week. How could we get the phones buzzing? And the one that caused meltdown more than most? The best ways of getting into the ground for free.

Cue stories of people shinning over fences, watching from a friend’s flat and one sly gent pretending he was a scout from the Seychelles or some such exotic destination. We all love getting something for nothing.

This week Chelmsford City have tried a little bit of the Danny Kelly treatment, except in reverse. At last week’s game they handed out leaflets with a list of ways you can get in to watch your club for free, gratis, nadda.

You’d think given the current climate this would be a daft measure, advertising the fact you can watch a decent (ahem) game of football without spending a penny, and in fact this is a criticism levelled at the club. But how would non league sides exist without the volunteers, the gatemen, carpark staff, programme sellers, tea boys/girls, caretaker, turnstile operator? Their wages I’m sure would outweigh the cost of a ticket.

Of course I’m sure there are those that take advantage of the free system at clubs up and down the country without giving much back, but in the main these are the backbone of all our grassroots teams.

So what constitutes a free ticket? I was surprised the first full Saturday I spent at the club how much work goes into just one match day. From those that are up with the larks, to those that are tidying up long after we’re gone, in fairness you have to earn your seat.

Like the majority, I pay to go into the club hoping a) to get a good word in the afterlife and b) to keep the side ticking over. But perhaps once in a while we should all have a go at offering to help our clubs just one game in a season; even if it’s taking your litter home at the end of the game.

I’m sure, if you were to look at every club from Hendon to Wrexham, volunteers are the lifeblood.

In this respect, once again Non League proves it’s head and shoulders above the pro game – I mean can you imagine Manchester United allowing you a seat third row from the back of the stand as they take on Liverpool? And let’s face it, who’d want it??Non League Show
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