Join Date Mar 2005 Posts 13,287 OA Cash 10000
How to Buy Arsenal Tickets for Beginners
Since we get quite a few people coming to the site to try to find out how to buy Arsenal tickets in the first place (as opposed to availability of individual games, as tends to get discussed in the matchday info and ticket thread ) I thought I'd put together a little guide. I should point out before I start that this will be based mostly off my own knowledge. I have never been a season ticket holder or a prolific attender of away games so my knowledge in those areas is sketchy but thankfully is unlikely to be what someone reading this thread needs to know about. Further, if you look around the net there are various unofficial ways of getting hold of tickets, which carry their own risks and rewards. If you want to persue that route then that's down to you. What I'm going to go over here is how you get hold of tickets via the official (and legal) route.
If you're not a season ticket holder or a club level member or an owner of a private diamond level box (and if you are, kudos and what are you doing reading this thread??) there are two tiers of adult Arsenal membership which will get you access to tickets, Red and Silver (Gold Members being season ticket holders. I think). For the majority of games you will need a membership to have a chance of getting a ticket, although it is not unknown for less popular games such as League Cup matches, FA Cup games against lower league opposition, or Champions League group games to go to General Sale (that is to say, no membership required). Your chances of getting two seats or more together are also diminished by waiting for a game to go to general sale as it will only do so once it has been released to all levels of Arsenal membership. Although I'm given to understand that the club has relaxed the following rule in recent seasons for some games which are harder to shift tickets for, generally you will require a membership for each person attending the game. Officially, these memberships must be in the name of the person attending. I would never encourage someone to break these rules, but apropos of nothing, I have never had my membership checked at the stadium, nor do I know anyone who has. Not that that would mean that if you know someone with an Arsenal membership you could borrow it rather than paying for your own to make the whole exercise a bit cheaper or anything, oh no.
Silver members get first pick of tickets, matches are released to them a full month before Red members. This often means that for League and Champions League games, by the time tickets come out to Red members the cheaper seats in the lower tier (and I would argue from an atmosphere point of view, the better seats) are generally already taken and it is for Red members to pay more for the upper tier seats. This is one of the many reasons why I think Silver memberships shouldn't exist, but lets not get into that here.
You cannot buy Silver memberships from the club straight away, you have to join as a Red member (which costs somewhere in the region of Ј35) and when you have been a Red for enough time that your name floats to the top of the list you are afforded the privilige of deciding whether to pay even more to become a Silver member. To give you an idea of how long this takes, I have been a Red member for eight years and have never been offered a Silver membership. The fact is the ticketing priorities are so ridiculously good for Silver members that even if they're not used much they're worth holding onto which is exactly what a lot of Silver members do.
Junior Gunner memberships for kids are about Ј25 if memory serves from buying my nephew one last year, and are equivalent to a silver membership in terms of ticketing priorities. I assume this is so silver members can buy tickets for their children in their priority window (and ensure the family enclosure, which is the only area of the ground you can usually buy discounted tickets for children, is sold out before Red members get a look in).
When you buy a membership you recieve a membership card in the post. When attending a game this acts as your physical ticket, you put it in a reader in the turnstile and the system reads it and verifies you've bought a ticket and lets you in. You can obviously buy tickets as soon as you become a member but bear in mind your membership card can take a while to arrive (I believe the club say allow 28 days for delivery). If you don't have your card on the day of the game you can still attend, but be prepared for the fact that the club will charge you (extortionately) Ј10 to print a paper ticket that will let you gain access to the stadium.
Ticket pricing varies depending on the competition and the opposition. I would say as a Red member you can expect to pay Ј35-Ј50 for a ticket to a league game based on my experience of what is generally available when a game goes on sale to Reds. The exceptions are League Cup games where tickets are a pleasant Ј10 in the lower tier and Ј20 in the upper tier, and at the other end of the scale, the dreaded Category A games against top drawing opposition such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham, and almost all Champions League knockout phase matches. I can't give you accurate prices for these games because I don't go to them very often at all but the bottom line is this - they are ridiculously expensive. You'll be lucky to get change from Ј130 for 2 tickets.
The club did introduce a lower band of pricing for less attractive league games at the start of last season, an example being the Southampton game from last weekend. Tickets in the lower tier can be as cheap as Ј25 for such matches, and the Ј50 I ended up paying seemed to represent more or less top whack, my seat being virtually on the halfway line, midway up the upper tier which commanded, it has to be said, an excellent view. As I said previously, I think the atmosphere is considerably better in the lower tier, but if you do sit there you will pay a certain price in terms of visibility of what is happening at the far
end of the pitch.
Right here and now I will tell you I have no experience of physically buying Arsenal tickets from the box office at the stadium, so I can't give you any advice on that score. However, I think the principle ways most fans buy their tickets is through the online and telephone booking systems. The telephone system is fairly self-explanatory, you phone up and if its around the time in the morning when tickets are first released it will take an eternity to get anything other than an engaged tone from the phone line, when you finally get through you'll have the obligatory ten minutes on hold and then someone will take your membership details, work out where you'd like to sit and book you up.
The online system at Arsenal.com (under the Tickets & Membership menu at the top) leaves more up to you, and isn't (quite) as infuriating to get onto. One thing that applies to both the phone and the online system - if you want two or more seats together, especially on Red memberships, I strongly recommend that you are standing by to buy your tickets as they are released, which is generally at about 10 AM in the morning, on a date approximately a month before the game. Obviously in the case of cup ties that are arranged on shorter notice, the date can be a lot closer to the game. It's not impossible to get 2 seats together if you don't but it is much harder and your choice of location within the ground will be a lot smaller. Information on when games are going on sale is easily available in the tickets section of Arsenal.com
When trying to log on to buy tickets around the time they are released, you will usually (if not always) be placed in a queuing system that the club has to handle the traffic on the website. The queue system seems to automatically be used once a certain number of people are trying to use the site. In my experience, the best time to try to log on is about ten to fifteen minutes before the tickets are released as this will generally (but not always, its not what you'd call an exact science) get you in to the ticket hub at about the time tickets are made available, or at least within a few minutes. If you wait until the actual time that tickets come out, I find the waiting time can be about half an hour.
Once you have logged in you will have a list of matches to choose from. When you select the match you wish to buy tickets for you will be presented with a diagram of the stadium which will be divided into blocks. The blocks will be colour codes red, orange or green. Red means a block is completely sold out, orange means limited availability (which can mean anything from difficult to get seats together to only one seat left in the block) and green means plenty of tickets. If you're looking to book seats together, obviously green is your best bet. When you click on a block it will show you a zoomed in view of available seats. You select the seats you want and then continue to pay. If you are booking more than one seat, you may have to "assign" the other seats which simply means you have to tell the system which other Arsenal members will be using the other seats you have selected. You will need to know their membership number (printed on the front of membership cards) and surname to do this but its quite straightforward and the system handily now also remembers Arsenal members you have previously booked with so in future you can just select them from a menu. The payment process once you've done this is fairly standard and you will recieve a confirmation email with your seat details. It's useful to either save this email on your phone or print it out to take on the day as it will tell you where your seat and entrance is.
The club operates a scheme for Premier League and Champions League games where season ticket holders unable to attend can get money off their renewal by allowing the club to resell their seat. If you're buying a seat this way, this works the same way online as buying a ticket normally. Simply log in and see what's available, and buy your seat in the normal way. Games will only go to ticket exchange once they have sold out conventionally. It should be noted that buying two seats together this way is next to impossible.
As a general rule of thumb, as a red member your prospects for attending lots of away games are not good. The ticketing priorities work in such a way that you will only get a look in for the less attractive games, generally speaking. (There are exceptions, I went to Spurs away on my red membership when we won 4-1 in the League Cup there a few years ago). Arsenal operate a system which is designed to reward loyalty but the practical effect of it is that the same old faces are the only ones who get a chance to support the team in big games away from home. Ticketing priorities go from season ticket holders, platinum club members and travel club members who have been to a given number of away games in the last two years, then to season ticket holders et al who have been to slightly less games, then silver members, then red members. The travel club has a closed membership as far as I know and cannot be joined by new members. When you attend an away game you gain an away credit which if you ever become a season ticket holder might become useful, however it does not matter how many away games you attend as a red member, so long as you remain a red member they will not help you gain better access to tickets. That said, opportunities to attend away games do exist, but red members are highly unlikely to be able to get tickets to see the team play in big away games like United, Spurs or Chelsea. As for Cup Finals, as a red member you can pretty much forget it. It must be said that that is not the club's fault either, ticket allocations for finals have become such a disgrace that well supported Premier League clubs can no longer even guarantee all their season ticket holders a seat.
So, I hope that helps a bit if you're trying to work out how you get hold of tickets, if not, feel free to ask some questions below.