The Supporters Club & Trust recently carried out a survey on a small number of issues relating to the coranavirus crisis. I would now like to share with you the survey results.
Over 2,000 Bristol City supporters took part. One of the key findings was that as a result of changed financial circumstances at least 15% would now welcome a refund of their 2020/21 season card payment.
As you know, Bristol City put season cards on sale for next season some time ago, with a ‘Lose Your Seat Deadline’ of March 16th, one week prior to the March 23rd lockdown.
As a result, many of us paid out substantial sums, which, for example, for a family of four in the South Stand will have totaled nearly £1,000, at a time when the financial impact of the lockdown was not understood.
In our survey we asked you to respond to this statement: ‘Bristol City should offer supporters who have paid for a 20/21 season ticket and are now suffering financial hardship the option of a refund (with their seat reserved for them to buy up until 14 days before the start of the season, whenever that may be)’. 83.8% of respondents either ‘Agreed’ with it or ‘Strongly agreed’.
We then asked: ‘If the Football Club were to offer a refund of your season ticket in this way, would you want to take up the offer?’ The options for the answer were framed to discourage respondents from saying yes, but while 84.5% responded ‘No, personally I’m OK so wouldn’t need this help’, 15.5% answered ‘Yes, that would be a great help given my current situation’.
Commenting on this in a press release today, SC&T Vice Chair Miles Hendy said:
“The impact of the lockdown has hit many businesses and individuals hard, and professional football clubs like Bristol City are amongst the most deeply impacted. As a supporters’ group we want to stand up for our club, to rally behind it and to help it bounce back. As representatives of our supporters, we also stand by those fans who, for reasons outside their control, now have severe buyer’s regret, finding that the early commitment they made for their cherished seats at Ashton Gate has unexpectedly left them hardly able to get by.”
In the light of this survey response the Supporters Club & Trust has asked Bristol City to make a refund available to supporters in need. We have also asked for clarity on refunds for the season that should have just ended and where there is now no prospect of being able to watch these matches in the stadium.
Bristol City have not commented.
We call on them again now to please support your most loyal supporters in their time of need, like they have supported you.
Elsewhere in the survey, 83.3% of respondents either ‘Agreed’ or ‘Strongly agreed’ that ‘Bristol City / Ashton Gate Ltd should not take advantage of the taxpayer-funded government furlough scheme whilst higher paid executives and playing staff continue to receive their full salaries’. And 72.8% of respondents either ‘Agreed’ or ‘Strongly agreed’ that ‘Bristol City / Ashton Gate Ltd should continue to pay all casual / match day staff for the remaining games of the current season as though the games were played as scheduled’.
Subsequent to the survey Bristol City announced that they were using the furlough scheme, that staff not furloughed had accepted a temporary salary reduction and that players had deferred a percentage of their wages for three months.
The survey also asked for a view on which of a list of charities the Club & Trust should support at this time and based on the responses a decision was taken to support all four. Initial donations of £500 each have thus been made (in one case spread, at the organisation’s request, over 10 months) to Refresh Bedminster, Feed the Homeless Bristol, Victoria Park Baptist Church Foodbank and the Trussel Trust.