Don’t kick us when we’re down

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Hull City Supporters’ Trust argues that the club needs to review the price it has charged Hull City season card holders for next season.

Hull City has decided to not raise season card prices to the higher rates after the deadline for early renewal passed, and to give those who did renew early free entry to the first three FA Cup/League Cup matches at home. The club term this “a gesture of good will” to supporters, a gesture that, according to the Hull Daily Mail, ”has been well received”.

We’re not sure how the HDM came to this conclusion. We argue that City’s gesture is not generous at all and that it masks the real issue – that the club has not dropped its season card price, advertised as for Premier League football.

The cheapest price the club charges for adult season card renewals is £531.  We will be among the most expensive teams to watch in the Championship, according to the HDM, and our cheapest adult renewals are more expensive than many Premier League clubs (whilst other Premier League clubs froze or dropped their prices, City raised them – and we’re not going to be in the PL next season!)

Hull City has increased its season card prices by almost 40% in two years – a tremendous mark-up.  The club has never proffered an explanation for these draconian rises.  The 2015/16 season card costs were advertised by Hull City as being for the Premier League, with the clear implication that they would be less for the Championship.  We are now being led to believe that relegation, and a subsequent drop in renewals, has come as a surprise to the club.

We assert that the club’s season card prices are too high.  Moreover, the club should be refunding those who bought early as these were sold on the basis that fans would be watching a higher standard of football next season.

Instead the club has offered the “gift” of three free home Cup games.  Is this a reasonable deal?

No.

Last season, for instance, the gift would have amounted to £0.  Why?  Because we got knocked out at the first time of asking in away ties in both domestic Cup competitions.  Going out of Cups early is, we’re sorry to say, a City habit of many years’ standing.  Even if we don’t do that next season, and we’re drawn at home for three matches, the prospect of poor attendances in early rounds usually leads to low ticket prices being charged, so you might save £10 a match.  The odds on the saving to fans being more than about £20 are slight.

The club must have worked out a price for Championship season cards, one that would be lower than last year’s PL price.  We submit that it has chosen to make a generous-sounding offer of free Cup games because by doing so the club will retain more of the money fans have already paid, whilst appearing to be generous.

In other words, this “goodwill gesture” to supporters is nothing of the sort.  It is a cynical act; a sop, to take attention away from what the club should really be doing – lowering prices for the Championship to increase take-up, and refunding those who supported the club by buying their season cards early.

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