Filed: Thursday, 24th May 2012
By: Staff Writer No.2
Long-suffering season-ticket holders have expressed outrage at West Ham United's attempts to evade the granting of a substantial discount on tickets for the 2012/13 season.
The club promised the 20 per cent discount back in a series of communications back in 2009, including statements in the 2009/10 season ticket renewal pack, direct emails to supporters and a confirmation of the offer on the club’s website (see below), the archive copy of which has been removed.
However, supporters were today contacted by email in which the Club appears to have backtracked on the offer.
The club’s email referred to the offer as a "'statement' made by the people whose irresponsible actions have caused our current financial predicament" and predicts that the granting of the discount would have "a grave effect on the Club’s financial health" were it to go ahead.
The email goes on to make an alternative offer of a five per cent discount each year over the next four years, an offer that would be legally binding on the club if accepted.
However, a legal expert KUMB.com spoke to this evening was not impressed by the latest communication and told us: "The existence of a new offer from the club of this nature does not absolve them from their responsibilities in relation to the old deal.
"The fact that the original offer was made at a time when the club had different shareholders is totally irrelevant as season ticket holders contract with the club not individuals.
"Anyone who has renewed season tickets since 2009 on the understanding that the full 20 per cent discount would be granted for 2012/13 should still be legally entitled to that discount.
"It is notable that the latest communication does not inform customers of this fact, but anyone who believes that they are entitled to the original discount should be entitled to reject the new offer in favour of the old, or there may be a case for action under civil law for breach of contract.
"There may also be breaches of consumer protection regulations to consider."
The club's original pledge that was recently removed from whufc.com
We’ll have more on this story as it develops. To see how season ticket holders have reacted to the news, visit the KUMB.com forum.
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by Robin Essex
12:51PM 25th May 2012
''Legally hot water, however the last owners nearly killed the club and racked up huge debts. I was expecting a huge rise in Season Ticket prices being as we are back in the PL, however the rise is reasonable, the people who need suing are the previous 'owners'!''
11:42AM 25th May 2012
''Thats a very good point. I am not a season ticket holder because I cannot go to every game. However the point that they have not raised the season ticket pricing should be enougth for people. I do ask fans not to make too much of this and remember the finacial state we are in, would you rather pay £100 a year more and our club to survive?''
11:33AM 25th May 2012
''In your article you have quoted the from the club:
'The club’s email referred to the offer as a "'statement' made by the people whose irresponsible actions have caused our current financial predicament" and predicts that the granting of the discount would have "a grave effect on the Club’s financial health" were it to go ahead.'
So are you saying, make the club keep to the offer from 2009 and have no money left for new players, investment etc and watch the club struggle again and go straight back down to the Championship It is that kind of financial wizardry that got us into this mess in the first place!
As it is, haven't the club kept the season ticket prices at the same level as they were before we got relegated last time?? (not 100% sure on that).''
11:23AM 25th May 2012
''The two Daves have got it right here - the last owners nearly bankrupted us.''
10:55AM 25th May 2012
''I agree with Jones... up to a point You have to be very careful how you view this one. Done the honerable thing? Have they? Well, they could have increased prices by an abitrary amount only to subsequently reduce them but not every season ticket holder is eligable for the discount; for this to be a credible strategy some would be left having to pay the 'inflated' price, effectively sibsidising the others. It is a difficult one.
The club is ours and we have the ultimate sanction of removing our support. Let's remember from a cash flow point of view they get season ticket money up front. If we all refused to buy but paid on the day the club would have serious trouble planning. The fans could bring it to its knees... if they chose to. But do they?
The management wil rely on the fact that the we are an amorphous mass; there is no West Ham fan per see, no one view and certainly insufficient organisation to mobile a mass protest. Take the Olympic Stadium move, for instance. There is lively debate but no one opinion... and whatever it is, if there was one, they will not listen to it anyway despite what they say, unless they are forced to.
I think we have to tread a carefully; there is a fine line between laying down, having your belly tickled and doing eveything they say and withdrawing your support, your custom and damaging the club. I don't know what the answer is; hit them in the pocket and take a short term loss for a long term gain? But this is our first season back in the Premier League and it is maybe not the time to rock the boat.''
by John Pritchard
10:44AM 25th May 2012
''Following on from your story and in answer to Jones - I think you'll find ticket prices have gone up sharply - last year's top price ticket cost me £730 for 23 games - this year it wil be £850 for 19 games - that's £13 per game more ie 40% more per game - now whilst I and everyone else is overjoyed at gaining promotion and would expect to pay more to watch Man U rather than Watford, somewhere along the line that's a heck of a price rise.
Clearly last year was full of clever pricing with endless kids for a quid type offers to make sure the ground was full for comparatively attractive fixtures and certain games definitely won't need that incentive next year _ however everyone is feeling money is tight and there will be a limit as to how far fans will go - to treat the most loyal fans ie the ones who renew for that fifth year (many much longer), loyal fans who didn't just drop it last year after relegation and who are fully aware of this 20% offer, this is not a good policy.
We all know the books need to be balanced but a firm statement of policy should be adhered to.''
by Chris M
09:23AM 25th May 2012
'' I think that the fact that Gold/Sullivan have made this offer is far more than we could have expected so best to say well done and take them up on it! I think they are due some credit!''
09:18AM 25th May 2012
''So the better option would have been to keep the 20% discount and put less money into transfers as a result? ''
by Barry Carcas
09:08AM 25th May 2012
''I personally would accept the 5% spread over the next four years as I feel this is in the best interests of the club at this moment in time, and surely that's what we should have at our heart.''
06:20AM 25th May 2012
''Gold and Sullivan could have stuck a 15 per cent rise on the season tickets this year as we've gone up and given a 20 discount discount but they did the honourable thing.''
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