Once again the severely flawed Jack Army membership scheme did nothing more than irritate Swans fans as they scrambled for Arsenal away tickets this morning.
Fans across social networking and message boards describe the system as “a shambles” “disgraceful” and “shit”. At the present moment this seems to describe the scheme perfectly!
Even those who managed to get tickets are unhappy with the way the club is running the scheme, and rightly so. It's embarrassing for a Premier League club to have to settle for Conference levels of organisation. There was ample time in the pre-season to iron out the wrinkles, so what's going wrong and leading to the backlash from loyal fans?
I was initially dubious as I signed up back in July - however the vague rules and benefits were not enough to put me off if it meant an edge when obtaining highly-sought after tickets.
My “making sense of the scheme” blog that I knocked up in July is here, but even to this day I'm still not 100% sure if it's accurate. I'm not sure anyone is.
Where is the information that states, in black and white (and orange), whether season-ticket holders have priority over those without a season-ticket but with membership to the Jack Army scheme? When do the priority points kick in and how many do you get? When are they awarded? If one person has 15 points but doesn't have a season-ticket does he have priority over the season-ticket holder with 13 points? Confused? Welcome to the club - 20,000 and growing.
These aren't hypothetical questions by the way. I may have missed a vital page or six on the official site, but I would actually like to know the answers!
A further slap in the face is the fact that so many fans have handed either £10 or £25 over for, essentially, nothing. I think I've somehow lost the initial email containing my membership number (which makes me wonder whether they actually sent an email out?). This leaves me without login details. For £25 it might have been nice to see a membership card, similar to the season-ticket card, to welcome you into the club. A certificate even. Just some evidence that you are involved.
Ultimately we are left with a club that, like it handled the season-tickets, Wembley tickets and various other events in the past few months, let itself down with poor organising.
I think it's time to either abolish the system and refund each member's money or sort it out properly – full list of who gets priority in what order, what the procedure is for buying tickets and what benefits we will actually receive for our money!
The media's focus should be on the attractive football Swansea produce, not the ugly organisation.
I'll end with some comments that I've lifted from Twitter and Facebook, from a range of Swansea supporters.
“Total shambles! Fixtures not there (online) to start, then showing members inactive!”
“I think having no physical proof of membership is wrong. My Girlfriend signed to a similar scheme with Cardiff Blues and has a card”
“They need a good kick in, due to the fact that b*****ds who don't even support the Swans have got tickets!”
“They had better get a real internet company in and sort the system out as its only gonna get worse”
“Its a disgrace, the way they are treating the fans, absolute disgrace”