Tim Davey: A Bristol City fan of 40 years cast aside on a whim
ATYEO Stand, Block C, Row O, Seat 7. Just a plain old red plastic tip-up seat at Ashton Gate football stadium. The one difference is it's actually got my name on it. Has done for years.
Not, though, for much longer, if Bristol City Football Club get their way.
For, out of the blue, with no consultation at all, they want to kick me and hundreds of others out of our chosen seats.
My only notification of this came in an abysmally impersonal mail-shot to my home addressed to "Dear Season ticket holder....."
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Initially, I assumed it was the usual rallying call to renew my season ticket – a move, I guessed, already much delayed because of the club's woeful playing performances.
No, what they were telling me (not asking) was to vacate my seat because they were creating a new family area to be filled with children's entertainment such as face-painting and mascots on match days.
Well, thanks a lot Bristol City. After 40 years of supporting you, I get cast aside like this, on a whim from the "new generation" of management who now seem to dominate decisions down at The Gate.
The fact is, along with my friends who all sit around me, I chose to sit in this seat when the Atyeo stand was built. I paid to have my name on it. I continue to support on a direct debit basis your City 2000 fund-raising scheme. I pay, year on year, for a season ticket. I spend more money, too, when I am inside your ground. In fact, totting it up, I reckon my football spend at Bristol City probably costs me around £1,000 a year. Yet all I get in return is to be treated like a revenue-churning commodity, easily disposable, and easily dispersed to other parts of the ground.
To say I am angry and bitterly upset being treated like this is an understatement.
The people who sit in and around me are my friends. They have come to my 40th, 50th and 60th birthdays.
There are others on the periphery whose names I don't know but who exchange pleasantries and match-day banter.
We are our own little community within the concept of a football crowd.
I don't want to move anywhere else, thanks. And I fail to see why this area of the ground should be selected for your new marketing venture.
I wonder how many children there will be having their faces painted in the Atyeo stand at a freezing cold and wet February night game.
And please don't brand me as some old curmudgeon, I take my grandson there when he wants to go.
I am just utterly dismayed at being treated with so little respect by the club I have stayed loyal to through thick and thin (mostly thin!) across four decades.
I started with a set of letters and figures. I'll finish on a set of numbers.
21-04-12. Bristol City's last home game and the day my current season ticket expires. Unless there's a dramatic change of heart I won't be renewing it. I don't believe I will be alone.