The Ticket Refund Debate

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

As you’ll know by now, there’s no football for almost a month. That bloody virus that’s all over the news has caused what will be the longest postponement of matches in peacetime Britain.

Cue lots of experts confidently predicting the season ending now, Liverpool being denied their title or the measures being out of proportion with the actual risks. You’ll not get me doing that because I don’t know what will happen, it’s impossible to predict and I know as much about the virus as I do reality TV or the inner workings of my mobile phone.

What I do know is that impact a lack of football will have on the clubs financial state. again, I’m not one who will feel the impact myself, no football just means more time at home with Fe and Charlie, which basically just means me being happy. Netflix, PS4, a good book, the internet, country walks and the odd takeaway will fill the days where football has left a void, no problem. Without sounding patronising, I have see enough good stuff in the world not to pin all of my leisure time expectations on my football team.

The lack of football has caused some debate on social media in terms of ticket refunds though, with a few arguments breaking out when people have enquired about possible refunds. I do have some thoughts on this and felt I’d share them with you now. Please note, this isn’t a cheap article looking to cash in on clicks by bringing that virus onto the site, it’s why you’ll not see it in the title. Besides, the site is funded by you kind patreons and not adverts, so I have no need to cram keywords into a headline.

I think there are two issues around refunds which I’m going to touch upon. The first is season ticket holders and the second is for those who have bought match tickets for games that have now been postponed. I think it is important for us to stop and realise that whatever our personal circumstances are, not everyone is in the same boat. If the games between now and the end of the season are not played, I personally will not be looking for a refund on my season ticket. I’m not saying this because I want you to think I’m a better fan than someone who does either; I’m saying it because as far as I’m concerned I spent that money back in February last year and it’s gone. The club have used it, budgeted for it and most likely spent it on the likes of Tayo Edun, so to ask for it back now wouldn’t feel right. I know there are plenty of people in the same boat as me too.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

I feel that entering into an agreement for a season ticket is, to some degree, taking a risk that games will go ahead. For as long as any of us can recall, that has been the situation, but this season it may not be. However, the club has shown a degree of loyalty to supporters by freezing prices this season and I feel that in not requesting a refund I’m showing the same back to them. I don’t want to do anything that damages my football club and if the season does end now, pulling five lots of match fees out of the club will do a huge amount of harm, especially if 5,000 people do it.

I do recognise that some people are not as fortunate as I in being able to write that money off, to all intents and purposes. With a season ticket the money has already gone, but consider those who have invested cash recently in a match ticket. They might be families or supporters who come when they can and their contract has been made with the club for one specific match, not for the whole season. I can fully understand why people would want to grab a refund there, again if games were not played. Would I? I can’t say as I don’t attend games that way and it would be crass to say ‘I wouldn’t get my money back’, because the truth is I don’t know. For me, £20 is a lot of money but it is money I could probably afford not to take back, but if I had two kids for instance and I’d been sent home for three weeks because of the virus, that money might be the difference between feeding my family or not. Judging is very easy, but understanding people’s own financial situations is not.

We’re in an incredibly weird period of history right now, unprecedented panic across the world (rightly or wrongly) which has seen such a unique set of circumstances developing. Lincoln City FC are not the only business which will suffer, you and I are not the only people who will have financial decisions to make which few would ever have envisaged having to make. I’d just urge everyone to consider that when coming across a fan who will ask for a refund on match tickets they bought last week. You don’t understand their circumstances, and they don’t understand yours. Season tickets are a bit different, but even then we’re in extraordinary times that few could have predicted and every single person will have a number of factors affecting how they react over the coming few weeks.

Lincoln City can keep my ST money if the games are cancelled, and I believe 95% of fellow ST holders feel the same, but let’s not judge anyone who feels they need to ask for a refund. Being a supporter of the club isn’t a competition. Just because one person renewed and told Twitter doesn’t mean they were shouting ‘look at me’, and just because another might want their money back because the games get cancelled doesn’t make them the Jack Rodwell of the Imps’ fanbase. We’re all in it together, virus, League One, supporting the Imps and we shouldn’t ever feel as if we’re competing to be better than other people wearing red and white.


For those who have been all over Netflix looking for something to self-isolate with, Fe and I have blasted through two series of Unforgotten recently and last night smashed through all four episodes of One Of Us. Both were class, in a similar vein to Safe and The Stranger.

I’ll be striving to put together a few quizzes and bits later, once I’ve got today’s work done and after I’ve been out and bought 15 bags of pasta, some handwash and 20 pairs of socks (because the supermarkets have all sold out of loo roll).

12 Comments

  1. I won’t be seeking a refund for my ST. But where does the season parking money for the South Common car park go, is it all for the city council or does a percentage go to the club?

  2. Thank you Gary, well said. If the games don’t go ahead, then I won’t seek a refund on my season ticket, but that’s my decision. Others have different situations to deal with. The key message in your article is contained in your last sentence.

  3. To me it all seems a bit premature asking about refunds on season tickets at the moment. If/when it turns out that the rest of the season is cancelled then that would be the time to think about it. As for individual match tickets there should be no problem in getting a refund – I’ve just sent back my ticket for today’s game at Tranmere (I’m writing these words at the time I was expecting to be on Chester station en route to Birkenhead) for a refund. A couple of years ago when the game at Coventry was called off due to snow I got a refund then.

  4. I agree with your thoughts, Gary. I am a ST holder (concessionary) and the cost is amazingly low. It costs me the same as 6 home games at Leicester City. I have already had excellent value over the last 3 seasons!
    I haven’t bought match tickets but I would decline a refund – that my personal position. All clubs are going to be cash-strapped, because this pandemic is going to run and run and there will be no more football in the next 6 months, at least.

    Have a look at: https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

  5. I along with my wife & kids are due in Florida in 20 days time. Now our holiday is written off (oh well) I am currently almost 5k out of pocket. I of course will seek a refund even though Virgin Atlantic have probably spent my money on aviation fuel. Why would I not want a refund on my seadon ticket? Im not married to the football club nor am I originally from Lincoln. I just have a S/T their as my entertainment. It wont break my heart to forego a refund but if its available, Ill take it.

  6. Same here. If season cancelled I won’t be looking for any refund for my ST.
    Btw, if that will happen and season won’t be finished then I can’t see why Liverpool schould be denied the title? Table should stay as it is despite few clubs being hard done by that, like let’s say tranmere. Maybe there would be a way to sort that out (more teams in the division next season or something like that). As for the title though it would be a massive unjustice to take it away from Liverpool.
    To early to worry about that anyway.
    What a strange and sad times….

  7. It’s all in the small print when purchasing Season tickets I suspect,…I don’t read small print! 😀

  8. Cannot believe anyone would want a refund given the circumstances! The club needs all the money it can get.

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