07 Dec 2020 by John Edwards

We're ready to welcome you all back again!

Email

The sorely-missed sound of turnstiles clicking is beginning to be heard again at clubs within areas that have been placed in the country's lower Covid tiers. But what about Altrincham? When can we expect The J.Davidson Stadium doors to be opened to fans? Here, Alty co-chairman BILL WATERSON provides an encouraging update.

Here, at Altrincham FC, we are working hard in readiness for the Big Day. No, not Christmas, although this is the present that every Alty fan would want. I am talking about the return of fans to The J. Davidson Stadium.

Of course, before fans are allowed back, we need Greater Manchester (or at least Trafford BC) to be elevated to Tier 2 in the COVID league table.  But it is possible that this could happen as early as December 16th

Failing that, while we await a date for the next review of the system, we are confident of being reclassified as Tier 2, given infection rates in Trafford are significantly lower than those of many in the same sector. So, we are actively working towards fans being allowed back in the ground in the near future. 

The capacity we can expect for The J. Davidson Stadium will set by one of the following three criteria: 50% of our overall capacity; an upper limit of 2,000 for Tier 2; the SG02 “planning for social distancing at sports grounds” directive.

For Alty, this sets a capacity of 1,152.  This is slightly reduced from our original expectation of 1,431 and is due to more detailed work being done on the logistics of the one-way systems and the like required to manage the circulation.  As the safety of our fans is paramount, we would prefer to house 1,152 securely, rather than risk the health of a greater number. 

To be clear, any game we stage with fans in attendance is for home fans only.  And we take this obligation very seriously.  The ticket selling process will target Altrincham fans, and given the reduced capacity, we will be putting in place strict prioritisation of sales.

This will ensure security by being aimed specifically at those we know to be Alty fans and will reward those who have helped and supported us over the last few difficult months. 

The first priority in ticket allocation will go to our season ticket holders.  We have sold a record number of season tickets this year, and at long last you will be able to watch the game from inside the stadium.

Alongside season ticket holders come our major sponsors, all of whom have remained loyal to us, and they will at last be getting a return on their investment.  Additionally, our 48 Vice-Presidents will be in the first wave of prioritisation.

Next in line come our Patrons, over 300 of them at the last count, followed by contributors to Robins Rewards, the monthly scheme that is supporting Phil’s playing budget very nicely thank you!

And finally, we have a list of those that donated to our fundraising back at the start of the pandemic – you, too, will benefit from your massive generosity.

Obviously, we have ST holders who are patrons and have donated – in other words there are quite a few of you who fall in more than one category – this is the nature of the fan base we have.

To paraphrase Mark Eckersall, we have supporters and not just spectators!  To be clear, you will only qualify for ticket purchase once, and at your highest rank.  We are drawing up lists and we will see what further latitude we may have, but it is too early to give clarity on this right now. 

If we do get promoted to Tier 2, and we are drawn at home in the FA Trophy, we will aim to host a pilot event on Saturday 19th December, with a reduced capacity of perhaps 400-500.

We are not sure yet on this number - it would really be to test the entrances and exits, the one-way system and the like. Prioritisation would be the same as above, but remember, as this is an FA Trophy game, and we share revenue with the away club, Season Ticket holders will be required to purchase a ticket for this game. 

We will have to put in place somewhat onerous processes as part of readmitting fans to the stadium, and these will make watching an Alty game somewhat different to the traditional match day experience.

For a start, you will not be able to turn up to the stadium without a ticket.  All ticket sales will be in advance, and electronically through our website.  There may also be the possibility to buy a ticket over the phone.

But all transactions will be by card payments.  Furthermore, we will be asking all fans to sign up to a code of conduct as part of the ticket-buying process.

We have seen the consequences of not obeying the guidelines at Weymouth this weekend, where due to a lack of social distancing in their game against Halifax Town, their capacity has been reduced for forthcoming fixtures.  We do not want that at Moss Lane. 

All Season Ticket holders and Vice-Presidents looking to attend a National League game will have free access, of course, but you will be required to register your intent to come in advance, and you will be issued with a complimentary ticket for the game.  This is to help us manage and control the admissions process within the capacity limitations. 

Also, we will be dividing the ground into separate sections, and there will be no access between different parts of the ground. There will be access to The Chequers End, the Family Stand and the top half of the Popular Side; access to the Catax Golf Road End and the opposite end of the Pop Side and access to the Main Stand each with their own separate exits and entrances.

We will also look to be staggering arrival times to allow for safe entry to the ground for each cohort of fans. 

We do not know yet whether catering will be allowed at the ground, but we do know the Community Sports Hall will be closed.  We have an initial meeting with Trafford BC on 10th December, where we will begin the process of finalising our approach. 

There is a lot to do, and more details will be needed on the above.  We will be setting up a section of the website that will contain all the details on how to acquire tickets, the responsibilities on you as spectators and the match day experience. 

The 4-1 win over Spennymoor seems like a very long time ago.  We still have some days to wait, but it is looking increasingly likely that we will be back together again soon.  Thank you for your patience and your magnificent support over the course of 2020.  The Big Day is fast approaching. 

More

24th January 2022 • Away Travel

Book your coach seats & match tickets to Solihull

24th January 2022 • Reserves report

Lethal Lewis at the double as youthful Alty Reserves make it three in a row!

24th January 2022

Alty TV Highlights-Altrincham 1 Torquay United 2