Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Ball ball ball, soggy soggy soggy
FOOTBAAAALLLLLL! COME ON YOU KICKERS, KICK THE BALL INTO THE GOAL NETS!
David doesn’t like football much, so it was no surprise that when Tara, Bernard and I wanted to go Coventry City’s opening match of the season against Portsmouth he was washing his hair. That was back in August, so it must be very clean by now. Coventry won the game 2-0, Eastwood’s opening goal (and the first goal in the league) coming after just four minutes.
Not that we saw that goal, due to a big old balls-up at the ticket collection office. A King Kong’s balls sized balls up (I didn’t say ping-pong balls).
We’d arrived half an hour early to pick up our reserved tickets, by then there was a queue of around one hundred and fifty people in front of us. Only one ticket window of three was open, and the whole ticket office was woefully understaffed. It's not like you can blame CCFC, after all how could they possibly know how many pre-ordered tickets they'd sold in their automated online shop? I guess that they were too busy counting the takings from the orders to count the number of matchday staff they'd hired.
This meant that by kick off at three o’clock we were still about fifty people away from the front of the queue. There must have been another hundred people behind us at this point. It was pouring down, meaning everyone’s spirits were as drenched as their jeans. The grumbling in the line of supporters was in full flow by the time we heard the opening goal go in, by which point the stewards were panicking, asking people who had reference emails printed off to make their way to the stands.
It wasn’t until fifteen minutes into the game did the management realise the bleeding obvious - nobody would be queuing in the piss-wet to collect tickets at a ticket collection point if they hadn’t pre-bought them. They twigged and printed a hundred tickets off to hand out to the remainder in the queue.
After the game I wrote a letter of complaint and asked for some free tickets to another match. We heard nothing back for over two months, by which time we’d given up on supporting a club who couldn’t be arsed to even reply to a genuine complaint. However, I had a missed call and message from Coventry City FC in November. Brilliant, I thought, they’ve finally got round to apologising. Except they hadn’t. On calling back I found it was a sales enquiry asking if we’d be interested in buying a batch of discounted tickets.
Lots of anger, some mild swearing and several phone calls later, and Fraser Boyd of CCFC had offered us free tickets and a tour around the ground.
Bernard, Tara and I met Fraser a couple of weeks later for the tour. Fraser was very apologetic and a real gent, showing us round and sorting out the replacement match tickets. We saw the changing rooms, press rooms, ran out to the pitch and sat on the dugout seats. It was a good evening with smiles and jokes, Tara talking about sweary managers and rapey players, and Bernard harking back to the players he remembered seeing as a child in the 1930s. Only kidding Bernard. I’m sure you were in your twenties by then.
This brings us to last night, watching our compensatory match. Coventry outplayed Swansea for most of the game but ended up losing 1-0. We will be back though, thanks to the efforts of the one man who could be bothered to help us. Cheers Fraser, my next letter to Coventry City will be more positive, here’s hoping it doesn’t get ignored like the last one.