The much lauded AberDNA supporters membership scheme has caused a bit of a stir over recent days on social media, especially as a result of the way the Burnley away ticket allocation has been arranged, points allocated, and apparent preparedness of the club, for example the scheme’s ticket booking fee being charged when it shouldn’t be.
There are of course differing views on the scheme itself, some for it and some against, and Dons Supporters Together pulled the issues succinctly in an email that went to the commercial, marketing and ticket departments of the football club following the debate that has taken place online over recent days.
The email on their website said the following:
Hope you’re enjoying the summer and are looking forward to the new season. As I’m sure you’ll be more than aware of, there’s been some backlash from supporters regarding loyalty points since ticket news was released for Burnley away. While we absolutely appreciate that you will never gain 100% support and different supporters will always have their gripes, we also believe it’s clear that the system could be reviewed and improved.
As we’ve expressed in all our previous meetings with yourselves, loyalty points and now the introduction of AberDNA too, have created an unnecessary divide between supporters. The word “loyalty” is even divisive in itself. The main issue that’s arisen here is that there appears to be season ticket holders who attend home and away almost every week, both the season just gone and for years previously, yet are somehow not in that top bracket of loyalty points. There can be no more “loyal” supporter than one who supports the Aberdeen FC team week-in, week-out and it would be very hard, nigh on impossible, to justify why someone who has attended less but purchased AberDNA should have more points. This is essentially buying ‘loyalty’.
There are several aspects of the loyalty points system that divides opinion and on the back of supporters’ most recent criticisms, we believe the below needs looked in to to avoid further disconnect and alienation between supporters;
- The amount of loyalty points given to supporters for AberDNA.
- Why do supporters travelling away appear to be less valued? Could it not be argued that attending an Aberdeen match in Kazakhstan or Croatia, or even Glasgow or Dingwall, is worth more loyalty points than a cup game at home to St Mirren?
- Why were supporters’ loyalty points for 16/17 dropped off with seemingly little to no warning on the very day of the Burnley away ticket news? Surely this could have been done weeks previously to prepare supporters?
- Should supporters ‘loyalty’ not date back further than one season?
- Many members of supporters clubs who attend regularly do not appear to have the loyalty points that they believe they should have.
- Ultimately, should a season ticket holder who also supports AFC away from home not be in the top loyalty point bracket.
Many of the above, and football supporters’ gripes in general, could be answered fairly succinctly with one word; money. Assumingly, more loyalty points are awarded to supporters who subscribe to AberDNA because of how much revenue this makes the club, which is likely a similar story to why home supporters usually gain more than away supporters.
With the introduction of the fans forum, coupled with these concerns being expressed already, we hope supporters concerns are taken in to account and that changes can be made going forward. A hierarchy of support should not be actively encouraged in the way it is and a supporter who cannot afford AberDNA as well as a season ticket is not any less loyal.
As aforementioned, we genuinely appreciate how difficult a job it must be to attempt to please every supporter but we hope our constructive criticism, taken is taken on-board.