While some clubs have been heavily criticised by fans for their season ticket refund policy, there are examples of good practice which deserve a mention.
One such club is supporter-owned Exeter City where the club and the supporters’ trust have been in constant communication to ensure fans are consulted and kept in the loop.
And the result? Supporters have now voluntarily donated more than £40,000 to the club by way of cash donations and foregoing season ticket refunds.
“I think we recognised some years ago that you have to make supporters feel like they own the club and that it’s not just something on your letterhead!” says Exeter City Supporters’ Trust chair Nick Hawker.
“As a club we make ourselves very accessible to the supporters and that really helps. I think it touches on something that is outside of just playing football.”
The trust heard from many supporters who were keen to help and set out a range of options for fans who wished to do so such as cash donations and handing back season ticket refunds. Supporters who had purchased advance home or away tickets could also choose to hand the cash back to the club.
The FSA believes all fans should be offered a refund and it’s up to each supporter to consider their own circumstances and their club’s financial position before deciding what works for them.
There’s no right or wrong answer for fans – but open communication from the club is key.
Exeter City and the trust have managed that well with their donation request ending on a nicely-judged: “Whatever you decide, thank you so much for even considering this!”
Nick adds: “We worry constantly about the state of our national game, how it’s being governed, how different ownership models control the ebb and flow of success, but at its heart are the supporters.
“At Exeter City our supporters are family. Not just on a Saturday afternoon or a Tuesday evening, but every day of the week. I witness the club doing everything possible to uphold our community ethos and of course, like any family, we all come together in a time of need.”
This is just one example of fans digging deep to help their community-owned club and similar stories exist at AFC Wimbledon, Darlington, Chester and Wrexham. If your supporters’ group has an interesting story to tell please let us know.