Ipswich Town season-ticket holders told to move seats in Cobbold Stand for Leeds United fans
PUBLISHED: 19:20 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 19:20 30 November 2017
Hundreds of Ipswich Town fans are being told to move seats when Leeds United visit Portman Road to increase ticket allocation for away supporters and help avoid the controversial 'all-ticket' matchday rules.
Around 700 season-ticket holders in the Cobbold Stand will have to sit elsewhere in the stand to help provide an extra block of 3,000 seats for Leeds fans for the match on Saturday, January 13, 2018.
Leeds fans are set to be allocated blocks across the stand’s upper tier apart from Block A, to remain empty for safety and security reasons, and premium Block D.
Town bosses insist the move will help prevent the ‘all-ticket’ matchday policy being enforced. The policy, usually put in place when ‘big clubs’ visit and away tickets have sold out, removes the risk of away fans buying tickets for home sections at turnstiles. It was in place when Aston Villa and Newcastle United visited last year.
But it also means that anyone, such as casual Town fans or first-time visitors, who decide to watch the game on the spur of the moment are turned away at the turnstiles, even if the match is not sold out. On the day, tickets can be bought up until 90 minutes before kick off and online from ITFC Direct – if the purchaser has been to a game in the past 10 years.
The Cobbold Stand reshuffle means Leeds will have just over 5,000 seats and should result in the match not being ‘all-ticket’. The same action could be made for other home games this season.
Only three people have complained out of the first 300 fans who have been contacted, an Ipswich Town spokesman said.
He said: “For safety reasons we have no option but to move the supporters.
“On a number of occasions last season, we had all-ticket games because the away allocation was sold out, yet the ground was a third empty, and we also had local people who just wanted to come to a game unable to because of the all-ticket restrictions.
“The Cobbold Stand is also the only stand that we can realistically house away fans. If we moved them into another stand, we would have to move more season-ticket holders than we currently have to.”
One affected fan who has been a Cobbold Stand season-ticket holder for two decades said he is “appalled” by the decision.
He said: “Never before have I moved for a league game, not even in the days of the Premier League; not even for the local derby.”