Grand Final week is a special time for all footy fans, if your team is playing or not.
If your team isn’t playing you only have to make two decisions during the week. Which team you will support and where you will be watching the game.
Ordinarily it’s a team you feel a connection with, or maybe the team that didn’t cost your own team a grand final berth. And the venue could be anywhere from your favourite watering hole, a mate’s backyard or maybe just some random who has the best damn grand final day setup you’ve ever seen.
For Western Bulldogs supporters this year is a little different to most. For the last fifty five years you've faced two questions year in, year out and quite possibly even made plans for 2016.
When the siren sounded on Saturday night you were in a euphoric state, you most likely hugged everyone in sight, even the mother in law. Your team is in a grand final and nothing can replace that feeling! After finishing seventh, your boys have conquered the west, beat the Hawks on the rebound and snuck over the line against the Giants to book your date with destiny. The VFL team even managed to snag a premiership against the much fancied Casey opponents.
As the reality of making a grand final begins to set in, you sit at your office, factory or home pinching yourself, playing those last few minutes of the preliminary final in your mind over and over again. One thought does start to creep into your subconscious though; how do I get my hands on a grand final ticket? For the majority this will sadly turn into an unwinnable battle. You will find yourself trawling through eBay, posting passionate messages on Facebook and by the end of the week you will have a first rate knowledge of how the 100,000 tickets are allocated.
We all know the current system isn’t fair, and no matter how you tinker the numbers, the reality is you just cannot fit every deserving person into the Melbourne Cricket Ground on grand final day. No doubt there will be plenty of supporters who jumped on a bus to Western Sydney last week who miss out on a ticket, some who rattled tins for weeks or months to save the club back in the late 80’s, or maybe even some who have been to the majority of games this year but just cannot land that golden ticket.
Fifty-five years is an extremely long time between grand final appearances and some who miss out will be distraught and become disillusioned with the process.
Sydney and Western Bulldogs members will most likely receive 15,000 tickets per club, whilst AFL and MCC members will share almost half the overall ticket allocation. The remaining will be split between corporate partners, sold in exorbitantly priced packages or given to the remaining sixteen clubs so they can be used as part of numerous sponsorship packages or given to coterie groups.
Members will take part in ballots to find out if they’re lucky enough to be selected to buy a grand final ticket, but many will simply miss out and resort to scalping tickets, or watching the game from afar.
AFL and MCC members pay a premium every year, thus demand a ticket as part of their packages. The game is very much run on the corporate dollar and must reward those who fund the game, but it does make you infinitely sick when you see a group of men in suits replacing those decked out in supporter gear who’ve been there all season.
It’s an argument we hear every year, and one that won’t go away.