How Brighton decided which 2,000 fans can attend Southampton match at Amex Stadium

For the first time since February, the Amex will open its turnstiles for Premier League football on Monday night with 2,000 Brighton supporters allowed to attend the visit of Southampton.

Brighton fans will be able to attend a Premier League match at the Amex Stadium for the first time since February
Brighton fans will be able to attend a Premier League match at the Amex Stadium for the first time since February

The limited numbers have made an invitation to the ball one of the hottest tickets around. Even though there are thousands of fans who do not wish to attend for a host of reasons not just related to Covid, demand was always going to outstrip supply, writes Scott McCarthy from wearebrighton.comWhich left the Albion in a very difficult position. There are around 23,000 season ticket holders and only 2,000 seats in the house. How on earth do you decide who the lucky ones chosen to attend are?

Brighton decreed that the fairest way was to leave it all to chance. Fans are drawn into random groups and each group is then allocated purchasing window to buy their ticket.

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If you find yourself in group one, you have first dibs on the 2,000 tickets. Buy one in your window if you want to go; do not buy one if you are shielding or do not want to rattle around a stadium with 29,000 empty seats.

Any tickets left unsold from the group one window are then available to group two. In the unlikely even that the game still has not sold out after two sale windows, then group three have their opportunity to buy. And so on and so forth until all the tickets have gone.

Needless to say, the system is not perfect. Someone who is a brand new season ticket holder for 2020-21 has the exact same chance of attending the game as a supporter of 40 years who has not missed a home or away game since Margaret Thatcher was elected as Prime Minister.

Some fans have kicked up quite the fuss, believing that tickets should have been allocated on loyalty points. But with only 2,000 tickets available, if the Albion went down that route then it would be the same supporters attending each home game. How is that fair to the other 21,000 who would miss out every time?

Back at the start of the pandemic in March, there was a sense of “We are all in this together”. Whilst that seems to have all but disappeared from society in recent months, it does not mean that Brighton supporters need to resort to attempting to justify why they should have a ticket for being a better fan than somebody else.

The way the Albion are allocating tickets recognises that every season ticket holder is equal.

You might well be in group four for Southampton at home and resigning yourself to having sit through television coverage calling it a South Coast Derby, but roll on Sheffield United on December 20th and it could be you in group one cheering the Seagulls onto victory against the rock bottom Blades.

Or bemoaning another performance in which countless easy chances go begging.

Everyone has an equal chance of attending games through the draw system all the while capacity remains limited. For those who are lucky enough to be going to the Saints game on Monday night, enjoy it. For those who are not, then your chance will come.

The most important thing is that we allowed to go to games at all, not who is going.

And if the Albion can mark the occasion by recording what would be just a second home win in 2020, then that would be very welcome.