As regular readers are well aware, I’ve been writing a lot about the ticket situation that is faced by our fans at the moment. I’ve also been reading a lot, and trying to understand why our SPFL rival clubs feel the way they do about this matter, and I think I’ve started to get something of a grip on it. I’ll discuss that more fully and freely in a larger article.
But whilst I was contemplating all this, my old man raised a fact that took me completely by surprise, and whilst I didn’t doubt that he had it right I wanted to run down the story and check it for myself, so that I knew I had it right before I wrote about it.
Back in the 90’s, when Motherwell were redeveloping their stadium, part of which they paid off the debts on through the Phil O’Donnell transfer to Celtic (another redevelopment later was partly funded by the sale of David Turnbull), their club actually offered tickets in their away end to our fans and those of the first Ibrox club on a debenture scheme basis.
Yes, that’s right. Now the mechanics of this still aren’t clear to me, and there are only sporadic mentions of it here and there, but the Fir Park Wikipedia page confirms it happened and some Motherwell fans who regularly post on message boards have also confirmed that it happened although, as I said, details are sparse.
According to Wiki, they were £20. I doubt that was a one-off payment but you never know.
Maybe it was annually, or monthly. I genuinely have no idea, but the offer was real, they marketed it at “Old Firm fans” and over 600 were sold … mostly to the mob across the city.
It worked the same way that any debenture scheme did; in the event a game was being played there that you wanted to see, you would have first refusal on that ticket for that seat.
You still had to pay for the individual match ticket – a seismic shock to those Ibrox fans who bought debentures for their first club all those years ago, thinking it was a “season ticket for life” they’d purchased, which is why I laughed when I heard it was their fans who mostly snapped these up, doubtless thinking the same – but there would be no more scrambling for away briefs in ballots ever again. That seat was guaranteed.
I would love to know if any Celtic fans out there reading this bought one of those debentures. I would love to know if that agreement is still valid to this day, or if it was rescinded somewhere along the line.
I do know that the Motherwell fans who posted on it and commented on it in the present day think it one of the cringiest things their club has ever done, and would want no part of a similar exercise now. Still, it’s reminder of the days when the clubs had a little more respect for our supporters and recognised the very real good we’ve done over the years.
Like I said, I’m studying this matter from the point of view of the clubs who are imposing these new arrangements on us, and believe it or not, I’ve come to sympathise with some of the views of the supporters’ reps at those clubs who have pushed for some of the restrictions. I think it’s overkill in many cases, and I think it creates an unsafe environment … but they have very good reasons for feeling the way they do, reasons that I, as a fan, can appreciate.
Like I said, I’ll do something larger on that soon enough, but for the moment I thought that was an interesting story to bring up, of how Motherwell once offered Celtic fans a “seat for life” at their ground for just £20.
Those were the days alright.
I’d love to hear from anyone who bought one of these debentures, or any Motherwell fan who reads this blog and has memories either of that or what happened to the seats. You can send me a comment or drop the site an email.