Norwich City fans queuing for West Ham game seats express frustration at new membership system
PUBLISHED: 09:44 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:11 13 August 2019
Excitement among fans queuing at Carrow Road for seats at Norwich City's Premier League match against West Ham was marred by mixed feelings over a new ticketing system.
The Canaries are due to play the Hammers on Saturday, August 31 at London Stadium.
Some 2,500 away fan tickets for the match went on sale at 9am today (Tuesday) and sold out within 40 minutes.
Fans were queuing at Carrow Road from 6am to secure themselves a seat.
However, many expressed dissatisfaction with changes to the membership system. Fans can now pay either £35 or £50 for a membership to get advance access to tickets, but some say loyal fans who travelled to away games last season have not been rewarded for their support.
Brothers Dan and Adrian Hall, 52 and 55, have been Norwich City season ticket holders for 30 years. They were among the first to arrive at Carrow Road at around 6am - but said it was years since they had had to queue for tickets in such a way.
Dan said: "After the issues around the Liverpool game it has created the desire to get here early. But the people who don't get tickets this time, will they be here even earlier next time?
"The points system had very few complaints against it. This is about the ability to buy loyalty.
"They should make the effort for folks who have made the effort to queue."
Ian Shepherd said his wife and son had queued from 7am to buy tickets.
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"They were fourth from the front before being told they were sold out. Before them, they had seen several people before them buying multiple tickets (30-40) which is really unfair," he said.
"I was in a queue on the internet. I received a phone call from my wife saying that tickets were sold out, yet there was no notice of this on the website. I continued to be in a queue for another half an hour. What a complete waste of time."
On Twitter Nick Murrell, who also queued at the stadium, called the system "a shambles". He said: "People queuing before sunrise paying £50 to do so with no guarantee of an away ticket. There must be a better way!... I got a #WestHamUtd away ticket, many others will be left frustrated."
Fellow Twitter user Richard Moore said: "Away membership is clearly not worth anything. Zero changes of getting near tickets. Never had this experience in 35 years."
Norwich City previously said that it believed the new tiered membership system would work for fans and that it had consulted with them on the changes.
Lifelong supporters Dennis and Penny Ward, 77 and 73, left their home in Chelmsford at 5.30am in order to get a good place in the queue at Carrow Road.
"There's no chance of getting them online," Mr Ward said. "Queuing here shows it either means a lot to us - or we're stupid."
Graham Gifford, 59, from Frettenham, said he was part of a group of 19 hoping to attend the West Ham match and that others were on stand-by on the phone and online.
"We are regulars at away games and West Ham is a ground we have not been to, I think that is why a lot of people want to go," he said.
Following promotion to the Premier League in May, Norwich City lost their opening game of the new season against Liverpool 4-1 while away at Anfield on August 9.
West Ham were also defeated, losing 5-0 at home to last year's title winners Manchester City.