Complaining Crewe fans need to get some perspective

A section of Crewe Alexandra fans have complained to Lincoln City about the positioning of the away end for their recent defeat at Sincil Bank.

City fought to a 1-0 victory this weekend against an organised and solid Crewe side, with the away fans situated in the far corner of the ground, split between the old family stand and the South Park end of the ground. It’s the area we’ve used on several occasions when the travelling support doesn’t justify a full block of the Stacey West. Their complaints cover two points, firstly not being situated in the stands their ticket told them to go to and secondly, restricted views.

There’s a certain validity to the first complaint, maybe. The situation at Sincil Bank is such that the club needs to be reactive, the number of away fans varies and every club are given ample opportunity to purchase enough tickets to remain in one corner of the ground, the Stacey West. However, the stand was not named when selling on the Crewe website and therefore surely there’s no upholdable complaint? There’s no issue with tickets being sold incorrectly because Crewe fans had entered into the contract before receiving their tickets. Just because it said one place on the ticket, that can change. If we’d sold them as the Stacey west on their website, maybe we’d be in the wrong.

The second point is utterly ridiculous and the ‘restricted view’ photo provided was deliberately staged to make it look far worse. As it wasn’t allocated seating the Crewe fans were able to select a seat that did not have the apparent restricted view and yet they’ve taken a photograph that looks far worse than the reality. That pictures shows 95% of the pitch and moving one or two rows further up results in a view of the entire pitch.

I should know. Between the years of 2007 and 2011 that was where I sat to watch my football. I’d come out of the tunnel having changed as Poacher and almost always sit in that stand, anywhere from two rows up onwards. I didn’t get restricted views, but if I’d held my camera nice and low I could certainly have created some.

I wonder if the Crewe fans in question would complain if they’d come away with a win? It’s interesting because MK Dons fans also complained last week about their fan experience too, it must be tough for clubs with big stadiums to come to our smaller venue and see it filled to capacity. It’s easy to complain about things when your side don’t win, isn’t it?

For the record, this was my view away at Crewe last season. Notice that I have a restricted view? It wasn’t on my ticket, should I have complained? No.

I get very angry about stuff like this because I genuinely believe we, as a club, do everything we can to ensure everyone gets the correct match day experience. This game wasn’t only about the small minority of Crewe fans who complained, nor the idiot Stevenage account I blocked a long while ago who chimed in because he hates Danny Cowley. There’s the 8,000 or so home fans to think about too, isn’t there?

The stands in which Crewe were housed are fit for purpose and on other match days host home fans who, to my knowledge, have not complained. Considering I’ve heard people complain about music, fans not celebrating in front of them and the queues for a pie, if there was an issue with the views in either of those stands I’m damn sure we’d have flagged it up ourselves by now.

However, in the day of social media, quick fingers and bitterness, it is far too easy to keep rattling out the complaints isn’t it? Lost 1-0? Nevermind, we can all lay into Lincoln because we were in a corner of the ground.

Here’s my fear and I may get shot down for this: is this new era of welcoming fans going too far in one direction? Calling MK Dons fans vermin may or may not have been to your taste and I understand both arguments, but to say we insulted our ‘guests’ is a bit much. This is meant to be fortress Sincil Bank, the stadium where John Beck moved the dug outs and where you were once given a last chance to run. Whilst I want us to welcome away fans, must we give them cushioned seats, the best views in the house and maybe a little light relief at half time?

Accrington last year. Over-sold, inadequate toilets and in a corner of the ground. We lost too.

I didn’t see it when we went to Forest Green, is it different there because they’re not top? Is it that seeing a full stadium and a strong team top of the league is a bit too much for away fans to take? Their seating was covered, facing the pitch and had toilets and food provided, which lifts it above a good 25% of the places I’ve visited in the past.

This is football, isn’t part of the attraction a certain vitriol and sense of invading another town? Take out the violence of course, that I’m wholly against and rightly so, but are we really getting to a situation whereby visiting fans dictate the match experience?

I remember going away to Kettering in the not-so distant past and being refused entry to all their pubs and bars, being treated like animals, spat upon, had bottles thrown at us and stood in the open as it rained. I got hit with a ball too, thanks to Grant Brown, nowadays I perhaps could go off and find some poor soul to complain to. After all, this is 2018 Britain isn’t it? There’s always someone willing to listen to a complaint and blow it out of all proportion.

With that in mind, I’d like a concierge service this weekend at Port Vale, I demand to be let into their social club for free and if I don’t like my view I want to have a seat in the directors box. If not I’m going to write to the FSF and demand to be treated better. Unless we win of course, then I’ll just celebrate.

Get a grip.

I couldn’t see approx. 15% of the pitch at Wimbledon, the guy behind me saw less. I wish I’d complained now, seems to be the norm, right?

The view the unhappy Crewe fans got was better than mine at Wimbledon last year in the cup, their area was less crowded than Accrington away at the end of last year and their view was completely uninterrupted, unlike mine at their place. When we went there they’d run out of burgers twenty minutes before kick off, did I complain to the Football Supporters Federation? No. Why? Maybe because we won, maybe because I wasn’t jealous of their stadium and support or maybe (and perhaps most importantly) because I’m not a nit-picking busy-body with little better to fill my time than lashing out at clubs of whom I’m secretly jealous.

I respect the Crewe fans who spoke up in our defence and the others who remain silent but secretly had no problem with the allocation. I’d like to think that if David Artell’s ‘two thirds there’ ever gets to be a complete and they’re top playing in front of packed stands then I’d be happy to be squeezed in wherever I could be when I go there, just like some of our away trips last season. As far as I could see the visiting fans were allowed in our fan zone (unlike 90% of other grounds), serviced with adequate food and drink (unlike Gresty Road) and were treated on the whole with respect.

God help them when they go to Forest Green or Grimsby. Then again, I suppose if they win they won’t care, will they?


    • The view at Wimbledon last season was one of the worst I’ve witnessed for many years couldn’t even see the near side of the pitch or far corner and at Accrington we stood on a temporary terrace fitted to existing terrace. We lost both but didn’t complain

    • At Accrington I was stood on a temporary made terrace and at Wimbledon the terrace with probably one of the worst views in many years where I couldn’t see the sideline or corner nearest to me, lost both but didn’t complain. Perhaps I should have

  1. “For the record, this was my view away at Crewe last season. Notice that I have a restricted view? It wasn’t on my ticket, should I have complained? No.”

    Yes, you should have complained.

    • I don’t buy the complaint culture though. If it had been right in front of me, fair enough, but the roof has to be held up somehow doesn’t it?

      I’d be more inclined to complain about the awful food at Port Vale.

Comments are closed.