Port Vale Football Club would like to thank supporters for their feedback regarding delays experienced by some fans in gaining entry to the stadium prior to last Saturday’s home Emirates FA Cup tie versus Brentford FC.
The club apologises for the delays and would like to reassure supporters that a full review of the issues raised has been undertaken and positive action is being taken to improve access at future matches with larger attendances.
At the Emirates FA Cup match on January 8 some fans were unable to gain access to the stadium until after kick-off due to queues building up around turnstiles in the Railway Stand.
Despite an increased attendance, the club is pleased to note that there were no reported issues with delayed access in other areas of the stadium.
A review of the circumstances which led to the delays in the Railway Stand area has highlighted a number of issues which the club is now working to address.
Firstly, speed of scanning was an issue. By way of explanation, at league matches approximately three quarters of home supporters gain entry to the stadium by having their Season Tickets scanned. These robust plastic cards have a clear code which can be scanned easily.
For the FA Cup match, Season Tickets were – of course – not applicable and so supporters were showing either paper tickets purchased at the ticket office, tickets printed at home, e-tickets displayed on mobile phones or screenshots of tickets purchased by other people. In some instances these formats increased the time required to scan a ticket.
In addition, some e-tickets displayed on mobile phones took longer to scan because of the ‘brightness’ on phones not being set high enough. The club would ask supporters displaying e-tickets on their phones to please increase the brightness of their screens prior to arrival at turnstiles to assist us in speeding up the process.
In the Railway Stand three turnstiles were open for the FA Cup match. This was because work is being undertaken to upgrade the other turnstiles in this area of the stadium as part of ongoing improvements.
At future games this season with a larger than usual anticipated attendance additional turnstiles will be opened in the Railway Stand and the club will consider opening turnstiles earlier around the stadium.
The club is also investing in additional ‘back-up’ scanners (should they be needed) and all turnstile supervisors are all to be issued with radios to improve communication with the safety and security management team.
As we did prior to the Brentford game, the club will also continue to request that supporters arrive early to games with a larger, anticipated attendance but we appreciate that personal circumstances and inclement weather will always have a bearing on arrival times.
The club was also disappointed that fans experienced issues with contactless payments in some areas of the stadium. Engineers will be at the club this week as we continue improvements to increase wifi capacity around Vale Park.
Port Vale would again like to thank supporters for their patience, understanding and feedback and assure them that club staff will continue to work to improve the match day experience.