Often Partisan

Reduction in Capacities

Birmingham City confirmed in the last week that the capacity of St Andrew’s for the derby game will be set at just 25,000 – some 4,500 short of the segregated capacity in the ground. As one could imagine this has caused some ructions on messageboards – especially after Blues were given the smallest allocation of tickets possible in last year’s League Cup game across the expressway.

I’m going to start this off with an important caveat – I don’t speak for anyone else but myself and thus the opinions in this piece are mine and mine alone.

My own personal opinion is one of ambivalence in that Blues rarely get more than 20k for any game as it is – why should people be upset we can’t have 4,500 extra fans who aren’t able to/don’t want to come to the other 22 league games a season.

I don’t think the important point in all this is about how many people are allowed to come to the game – it’s about who calls the shots.

According to the club:

The decision has been agreed after consultation between West Midlands Police and the Safety team at the Club.

However, according to WMP:

Both sides in the story seem to be disavowing themselves of making the decision. As a natural cynic (especially where the police are concerned), I can imagine that WMP were “consulted”, and that “consultation” consisted of them giving prices of how much it would cost to police the game at various capacities – forcing Blues to pick the capacity they have done – but of course that decision would then have been made by BCFC alone.

I was called by Radio WM this morning who are trying to gauge fan reactions to this for a bit they’re looking to do – and while outlining my own personal ambivalence I did say that the one question I would ask of WMP is why this fixture is so hard to police. Police Scotland seem to be able to manage with the Old Firm games; Greater Manchester Police manage with games involving Man City and Man Utd so why do WMP struggle so much with the second city derby?

Of course, people only have to point to some of the incidents from previous derbies to show that it’s going to be a tough match to police. Still, that being said I can’t help (again being the cynic) thinking that there seems to be a decision from the police to stand back and film the evidence and then to arrest the perpetrators afterwards rather than prevent it from happening in the first place.

I know that Radio WM are trying to get someone from the force to speak on the matter on the radio – I’ll be interested in what they have to say.

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80 Responses to “Reduction in Capacities”

  • John Ramsay says:

    I’m with you on this Dan. If we were regularly getting more than 25k attendances then those complaining would have a point but we don’t and therefore if you only want to come to the Villa game but can’t get a ticket I have little sympathy

  • Mitchell says:

    If the decision by BCFC is down to policing costs etc then that really highlights our fragile financial status. In fairness to Blues especially after the Wolves crowd attendance,one can understand the decision they have taken.

    • BhamCityJulian( says:

      We are not in a ‘fragile’ state. It’s just a sensible decision not to pay stupid money to WMP. Having less Witton fans will also reduce the chance for trouble.

  • Gary Davies says:

    As usual spot on mate although I fear crowds of 25k at St Andrews are long gone I am afraid to say.

  • Mortonsblue says:

    What rubbish, why do you want to penalise those who do not want to buy (or afford) season tickets or do not want to go to every game? There are games every season that draw bigger crowds than others i.e. Boxing Day, never mind the £100k+ loss of revenue and denying the players the experience of a full house and full on derby experience.

    • Blueboy88 says:

      Agreed , & the distorted logic that if we do not regularly get 20k attendances its absolutely fine to cap this game at 25k is the economics of the madhouse. On that basis we might as well close the place down because there is no ambition to encourage or grow the supporter base for the future.

    • almajir says:

      I don’t have a season ticket…

  • ian says:

    Lose money profit cos cut 4,500 fans is waste sort and EMBARRASSMENT 25,000 only at BCFC

  • Dave Mann says:

    With only 2,000 vile fans coming and the Gill Merrick top not open its only going to be 25,000 max anyway is it not ?.. Can’t understand what all the fuss is about to be honest . KRO

  • Royinamillion says:

    What is the point of restricting attendance to 25 000 in a 30 000 capacity stadium? If the capacity was for example 20 000 would 15 000 be the limit and conversely if it were 40 000 etc?

    You have to expect there will be an element of crowd trouble anyway outside the ground and I do not see this action stopping that.

  • abc says:

    Shocking decision. If you want the fans to come back and bring up future attendances this would be the perfect game, you’ve probably just alienated them even more. We could handle the 28k for the baggies game a couple of seasons ago what’s changed since then?

    • BhamCityJulian( says:

      No. If you won’t come to the bread and butter games then why should be welcomed to the ‘glamour’ games?

      • AlexT says:

        Aaah, ok… we have more money than we chuck and we can chose our customers!?. Got you!

      • abc says:

        If they’re a fan it’s more their club then anyone else’s, doesn’t matter how many games they’re able to attend. The club is a business who should do as much as they can to bring in as many fans as possible into the ground, as it may have a lasting effect if we put in a good result against the Villa.

        It may be a case that extra policing costs out weigh selling an extra 3k seats, but they should think long term! If the team performs well the fans will come back, happens at every club.

      • Skint says:

        Some people have better things to do rather than visit depressing St Andrew’s every week, it’s boring and shat, but we all want to see us beat the Vile, and 4500 people have been denied this, irrelevant if those people don’t find 99.9% of games attractive to attend!

        I remember taking my kids to the Theatre at Christmas, it was great but I’ve not been since, maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to go again in fact as I’ve missed the last six pantomimes at Christmas.

  • ManLykClayton says:

    To clarify, half of the Gil Merrick Upper tier will be open, only the section directly above the V*lla supporters will be closed…the same happened for our last league encounter with them in 2011 as a result of the carnage that came from the carling cup fixture prior to that.

    The only thing that disappoints me is that currently a large area of the Gil Merrick Lower tier is empty. I believe 2 or 3 of the blocks in the middle of this tier are closed for “segregation” which seems excessive and with the game shown live it’s never nice to see swathes of empty seats in front of the Sky cameras.

    Hopefully the Gil Merrick Upper will sell out quickly and the club may consider opening more of the lower tier and still allow sufficient segregation from those villagers.

  • Dave Mann says:

    The baggies is our friendly Derby so no crowd problems would be the difference one thinks , just my opinion … Anyway ime supprised that it looks like we will get close to 25,000 for a midday kick off live on Sky .. Happy with that to be honest . KRO

    • John says:

      You dont understand the fuss, because its gone over your head dave. Their will be a huge no mans land of several thousand seats in the lower railway end for no good reason. They dont do this at any other ground in the entire country.

  • Kevin Kelly says:

    The policing cost at St Andrews has always been extortionate even back in the Sullivan brady gold era they WMP wanted £75000 and rising to police games making the revenue from attendance considerably reduced. I can imagine the WMP want more like £100000 nowadays and if its a tiered pricing structure based on attendance figures then Blues can’t really be wasting meagre resources on one game, even if it is against the B6 mob. For me attendances are disappointing and I have raved on previously to this point that our average is 17/18000 with the odd 21000 for specific games like wolves or WBA etc. To truly grow attendance and maintain them requires a team that consistently performs well and plays entertaining football, not tiki taka but passionate play. GR call for the lapsed faithful to return to the congregation is fair and despite these economic times I don’t think its beyond most people so I have to ask WHY? Why so many stay aways Carsons gone the ship is steady and with new owners and a v competitive team theres no real excuse, unless like some I have heard, you simply fall out of love with the game and lose the habit.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I think those last two lines are the reason Kevin that fans don’t come back but I get slaughtered every time i mention it so I will leave it to others from now on . KRO

  • ChrisG says:

    There are a lot of fans out there that can’t afford to go to a lot of games for financial reasons so have to pick & choose which games to go to, I know, I used to be like that myself so I understand why this would be the game many want to attend. As far as policing goes I don’t see why the majority of away fans can’t be ferried to the game on buses say from vile park & then afterwards the away fans kept behind for 20-30 mins to allow the home fans to be dispersed & then frog march them back to town. I remember in days gone by the away fans were often held back after the final whistle.

    • Bluestaines says:

      This is spot on. Many of the fans making up the average 17000 gate probably go to around 10 or so games a season and can’t afford or are physically unable to go to more games. But when a game like this comes along they want, understandably, to be able to go. Ok, if you are unlucky enough to miss out but the ground is full you just accept that, but if there are going to be 5000 empty seats then you are going to be upset. It’s shortsighted on the part of the club and just downright poor on the part of WMP. As Dan says, they should explain why they can’t do what other forces manage.

    • BhamCityJulian( says:

      The argument of non-affordability applies to other conurbation clubs too but does is overly impact on their gates? No!

  • Dave Mann says:

    Remember then we’ll Chris . KRO

  • Des Workman says:

    It was a qustion of opening the Olympic Gallery and costs involved. Club in my opinion thought it was not worth extra exspense. I support that too many BLUES supporters in the pub rather than Stans. In block 3 there are the regulars who know each other and the floaters such as the couple of guys who wanted to know who Liam Daish was when he came on the pitch at half time. Big Des

  • Stan Moye says:

    I’m not a season ticket holder these days, l now live in Wales and travel to games when finances allow and it fits in with my work schedule. I had planned to bring my wife who’s in her seventeens now, but not sure we can get a ticket. These restrictions in my opinion are not the way to encourage and grow your customer base. I can never understand why we allow away supporters such an enviable seat behind the goal, we should follow Newcastle United policy and put them in a distant section. I think this decision is more to do with the security and policing costs within the stadium than wanting to get the ground full of Bluenoses, less the 2000 from the small part of Birmingham. Just in case anyone thinks my missus is a glory hunter, we bought a corporate package for her 50th and she still treasures her picture with Pech.

  • oldburyblue says:

    I think a large part of this is tit-for-tat as Dan suggests. Also do Management want to reduce the amount of vocal support from the opposition as much as possible to give us any advantage? To be honest if I was a Vile supporter I would rather watch the game in the comfort of my home or go to a pub and have a few drinks for my money rather than risk the possible aggro.

  • Walker says:

    Glad people can’t get one off tickets. Blues are for a season and not just for one game :0)

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Continuing the cynical theme I believe the reason the capacity has been reduced is obvious,
    The Club and the Police are covering themselves in case of violent incidents occurring between rival fans. If the worst happens, the Club and Police can point to the precautions they have taken with a view to absolving themselves from any punishment from the authorities.
    If I was in the Club’s position I would do the same. We don’t want any points deductions or playing behind closed doors because of a few idiots.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Exactly Richard , I think a lot of fans need to understand this . KRO

  • Gerrard hehir says:

    Yes I agree totally. I think the only people who will really be annoyed about this “cap” are the one off blues fans. Or armchair fans, who fancy a bit of a rowdy derby atmosphere to go to. I’ll be there the same as I am there for the Brighton’s and the button’s and all the rest of them. Just make sure if you are there make the house Rock. Intimidate them like we used to.
    As for the days of blues getting 25,000 being behind us! Absolutly disagree! We’ve just not had much to go off these last few years. If you look at our attendances now (provided results keep coming) watch us grow. The vile can always say there more loyal, but lets see how loyal they are when they face seasons with nothing much to play for,or even worse another relegation! All well and good whilst there in prem, just watch them implode. Kro and definitely sotv

  • Trevblue says:

    There are tickets available for the next home game against Rotherham no one complaining can’t get one for this game

    • Jason says:

      Well Said. I have a season ticket along with my 2 kids which has cost me £220 in total. Blues are also offering interest free. Yet we can get more than 18000 against Wolves or other games. So why should fans who don’t go on a regular basis moan. I bet if we get to the Play off finals we’ll have the moaning all over again. Come on Blues fans turn up at the other games.

    • John says:

      Nobody is moaning about not getting a ticket, they areclosing a thousands of seats for no justifiable reason.

  • Dave Mann says:

    John , read other people’s comments or as it gone over your head . KRO

  • Trevblue says:

    John why have we not got that problem against Rotherham ?

  • We need to think big to be BIG…Super blues

  • Gerrard hehir says:

    Never a truer word said.

  • Brumbke says:

    The cap is disappointing but understandable but it will effect them more than us. We average around 17000 and will have 23000 behind us on the day they are averageing nearly 4000 away but will only have 2000 at the game. More of their regulars will miss out than ours so it’s not so bad after all !

  • John says:

    My grief is the fact we are closing off all the seats, comprende lol.

  • Gary R says:

    We got 16,700 at home against Blackburn on a 3pm KO on a Saturday. Ideal time, ideal price, ideal form shown by the team that’s in the top 6. There should’ve been at least 5,000 more bums on seats. But no, it’s only Blackburn.

    Well, as far as I’m concerned, those moaning about the 25k cap and not being able to get a ticket are only interested in watching Aston Villa and not Birmingham City. If these extra 5k want to see Birmingham City play, then you have another 22 chances to do so.

    I make no apology, I have no sympathy for those who can’t go to the Villa game. If you showed more bottle when times were tougher then you might’ve had the chance to enjoy the derby.

  • John says:

    Brumbke, why is the cap understandable ?

  • WayCoolBlue says:

    There should not be a limit on any game Derby or Not. Not.. every supporter can get to all the games for Numara’s resin’s some cant afforded it some have other commons such as work, kids, not every family can afforded family tickets. Why should they be punished. For one my Brother once a season ticket holder had to move out of Birmingham for work 300 miles away so he don’t get to every game but he picks games he wants to come to. He booked time off work for this game so he can see family as he would be here. I am looking forward to seeing him. But he cant get a ticket. So I got his ticket. He will be sitting 1 row down from me. They say that the limitation is for safety of supports so what is bills down to is Blues supports/fans are branded as being trouble makers. What I would like to know is will the Villa have the same limitation placed on them when we play them at Villa park. and If not Why ?

  • swissjonny says:

    We really seem to have lost touch with what is important.I hate the Vile- lets be clear.I would love to really stick it up them- however- sometimes we have to overcome our little personal dreams and think about the bigger picture. Its just another game in the Championship. We need the three points.Our season is bigger than these two games so lets just take the 3 points, not get any red cards or serious injuries and not get fined millions that we havent got for a firework display aimed at the Vilers. The best way of really getting to them would be to get promoted and leave them struggling in the Championship. KRO

  • John says:

    Blues fans couldn’t give a damn about the vilers having their tickets capped its the fact that blues have also capped their own fans. Their is no reason to have such a huge segregated area in the railway end. It will not reduce the risk of trouble and having 25,000 instead of 28 makes no difference whatsoever. I have never heard of this anywhere else and their are far worse derby’s than blues / vile. And just to remind you swiss jonny it was thevile fans who caused the fireworks display.

  • john says:

    The Hippodrome and Alexandra theatres have approximately 2000 seats. They would not be stupid enough, to say ” only 1000 people came last week so we are closing half the theatre down “. Have Blues got more money than we are led to believe ?. No sensible ,well run business in the world, would turn revenue away.

    • BhamCityJulian( says:

      John read my comment on marginal costs

    • Stan Moye says:

      Spot on! I’ve already documented my own reasons why l can’t attend every game, it does not make me a lesser Blues fan, sure cap the visiting content, but who knows how many fans could be encouraged back on a regular basis if they could get a ticket. This is maybe more to do with an attempt to stop Vilers obtaining tickets and it kicking off inside the ground.Or maybe the tv revenue will deflect the loss of a bigger attendance. I just hope it’s a cracking game, we get three more points, and the atmosphere is a day to remember for all the right reasons.

  • BhamCityJulian( says:

    Stupid comment John. Mind you there was nearly trouble at the Rep when twelve angry men turned up. Fortunately they were corralled onto the stage.

  • Carl71 says:

    Dont forget this match is on Sky !! Too easy to stay away these days good call by the club Well done Blues KRO. Why pay WMP all that extra dough did anyone see all the flourescant green outside St Andrews for Wolves match Jeezus They nearly outnumbered home support and had a mini bus each to get there.

  • Is it no wonder that attendances are down , with the likes of HITC suggesting that GR takes these 3 players with him if he goes to derby ….freedom of speech is one thing .. but hey I for one will be very disappointed with him for jilting us at tha altar, i will also be very dissapointed if TTA does not give GR a chance of a permanant job …come on lets get this club settled and heading upward …

  • Steve in Yorkshire says:

    Can’t say I agree Dan, whilst the capacity is there I think we should seek to maximise this.

    As much as I’m annoyed at our poor attendances in general, I would rather the fans who pick and choose, do choose to come than don’t. Capacity is just that, capacity. We should seek to maximise this when the opportunity arises. This helps the atmosphere, helps the finances and helps the team in a cyclical effect which breeds success. I take no pleasure in smugly sitting in an empty ground every week knowing that I am one of the dedicated hardcore few, I would much rather it was rocking like some of the vil*a derbies under Bru*e or that Ipswich Semi Final.

    I think the poor attendances are largely due to people just not bothering on the whole rather than financial issues, our home attendances don’t stack up against similar fanbases, yet our away support does. We aren’t the only club / city faced with austerity.

    I’m sure the atmosphere will be brilliant anyway! KRO

  • WayCoolBlue says:

    What I would like to know is will the Villa have the same limitation placed on them when we play them at Villa park! and If not Why ? Because then it’s blatant discrimination What’s good for one is good for the other.

    • Brumbie says:

      Why would they have to reduce their capacity ? Blues have made the decision to cut the crowd capacity not the police or Villa. They might do the same as us but I very much doubt it and why should they.

  • Johnny says:

    The segregation at vile park in the cup last year was nothing compared to what ishappening at st andrews so discrimination is already happening.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I would not bet on it waycoolblue , and your right , why?. KRO

    • WayCoolBlue says:

      Well then we need to compline because it’s discrimination how many supports we get is never here nor there we are being held back. branded as valiant untrustworthy scum. Yes there are treble maskers on both sides but I don’t like the label we are being given we should make a stand. Tell them we wont put up with this blatant discrimination. It may not change anything but it will let them know we wont be discrimination against. KRO

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    As a season ticket holder I think the comment of why allow non regulars to come to watch the glamour matches is counter productive. Who is to say someone who comes for the first time or after a long time and really enjoys themselves doesn’t get bitten by the bug (again).

  • Mitchell says:

    Surely this is an ideal time to draw a close on people’s choice of going to selected matches at Stans. Many commenters get irritated by the non-season ticket holders,the fans who dont travel to away games,the home game only supporters etc. Many,many reasons dictate match attendances which cannot be explained. We are all different,we all have varying degrees of health,financial and family issues but we all have a love for our club. Last Saturday,I took my grandchildren to their first game against Blackburn and noticed behind me the usual 4seats were empty only to be told that the group were unable to attend due to the passing of their carer/driver. Nuf sed.

  • Roy Smith says:

    On the basis of your argument, when a lower league team gets one of the big boys in the cup they should not allow non regulars to attend. I can really see that happening. You don’t stop potential fans from going to games if you have any ambition.

  • Cynic says:

    Poor attendances are the result of real, and I mean real, disallusionment. We all thought we were finally going somewhere under Gold/Sullivan ownership. The Yeung cup win was a carry over from their hard work. Once that bubble had burst there has been nothing to get excited about. The few Europa League games were a novelty which papered over the cracks for a season. Then Hougton left and we were left even more flat and despondent. If Blues were seriously on the up again, people like me who simply won’t find money we don’t have to pay for ridiculously high ticket prices for matches with no significance.

    My worry is that Bluenoses are an aging breed. Unless the club does something to bring people back, with the next generation, then they will be playing in front of 5000 in 10 years time.

    I for one would be back at St Andrews on a regular basis if the prices were sub-£10. In fact I am considering a reduced ticket price to watch Rotherham!

    As for the local derbies with the sh*t and the visceral hatred surrounding them. It would be far simpler, and cost effective, if both clubs and FL agreed no away fans for either game, played on consecutive Saturday afternoons (3.00pm) at the end of the season when there is plenty of daylight after the end of the match.

    • almajir says:

      Just a thought – but if prices were sub £10 a ticket how would you expect Blues to compete with anyone for wages and transfers?

      I mean, do you expect an owner to put their hand in the pocket and pay for the players to entertain you if you won’t pay a tenner to watch them? I don’t think a tenner will get you into a Conference game these days….

      Like I said, just a thought.

      • Johnny says:

        Almajir, the real issue for a lot of fans is this over the top segregation in the gil merrick lower, this is where thebulk of the reduced capacity has occured. Please cansomebody give us avalid explanation because it makes no sense whatsoever.

      • Bluey says:

        Confused. When a boycott was mooted whilst CY was in charge you said it would not affect the club because most revenue comes from other areas such as tv deals. But now apparently the price of a ticket DOES impact on the buying of players etc. Doesn`t add up.

    • Brumbie says:

      I agree fans are disillusioned but our gates are poor the vile have been rubbish for the last few years and still get an average of 33000 and sell out their away games. We won’t match their gates but we should be getting more than we are after the start we’ve had. We have a loyal hard core who great but too many just turn up for the big games.

  • Johnny says:

    That simple eh, lets see if vile follow this simple solution at their place.

  • Brumbie says:

    I have to say that I think our home gates have been poor for years even the last few seasons while in the premiership we only averaged around 24- 25000 Mark. Our gates are far less than than comparable clubs like Derby and Brighton how can they get better gates than us ? We like to think of ourselves as a good sized club bigger than some of the clubs who dwarf our gates. I know fans become disillusioned but we need to back the club in our thousands as the team are doing everything right at the moment.

  • chudlt says:

    If it had been up to me I would have given them 1000 in the Gil Merrick lower put the divider up , closed the Olympic gallery above the 1000 and filled the rest of the ground with Blues fans. The dividers would have reduce the overall capacity by approx. 2000 max.so there would have been an extra 3000 sets available.

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