For the ardent football fan who likes to go to most or all of their teams’ games the biggest obstacle to achieving their aim is the availability of tickets. Things aren’t too bad if you have a season ticket but they can be hard to come by if you support one of the top clubs and even that won’t guarantee you a ticket to every game. I have had many frustrations with tickets over the years leading to numerous supposedly shady dealings with less than authorised ticket sellers. What I don’t understand is why these guys are so vilified.
If you buy something at a car boot sale and then sell it at a profit you are commended for your acumen. Indeed it is perfectly acceptable to buy anything anywhere and sell it on at a higher price except, of course, drugs and tickets. Nobody sensible has any respect for drugs dealers but why tickets? What makes selling these a crime? I have bought hundreds of tickets from touts over the years and despite paying a fortune on occasions I was not bitter, I was glad. I got to see the game and as far as I was concerned these guys had a commodity which they owned and they were perfectly entitled to do what they wished with them.
Tickets are such an emotive subject. When it is an important football match or sporting event of any kind there are always more people who want to go than there are seats. When they go on sale we allegedly all have an equal chance to get our hands on the prized ticket and so touts are vilified as they are considered to have robbed a genuine fan of a ticket. The trouble is that the official ticket sales are not fair in themselves leaving many fans without any chance of getting lucky and this is particularly true of football.
If you have a season ticket you get preferential treatment on sales for away matches and cup finals but you can’t just decide to get one of those either. At the big clubs you may have to waits years to get your hands on one so what do you do in the meantime? Most ticket sales are unfair in one way or another. Many seats for concerts are reserved for a certain section of the population like those who subscribe to a particular mobile phone network. Sometimes such people are given the chance to buy first before others get a look in. What is fair about that?
Leave Them Be
At the end of the day touts are just trying to make a living and they are enabling those for whom football would be a closed shop to see some games. I think many people’s image of a tout is a dodgy guy in a fancy suit who trades down back alleys but the reality is very different. These are mostly ordinary guys in denim who are perfectly pleasant to deal with and who would never escort you down a dark alley if they didn’t have to worry about being caught by the police. In thirty years of buying tickets from these sellers I have only once been sold a dodgy ticket and that is more than I could say for my dealings with many more legal and respected institutions. Why don’t we just leave them be and worry about more important things?
Article by Sally Stacey