The draft went well! The key goals were to try for no more than a game each month, except for where Arsenal might have multiple games in a short period, and to try for a few games against tough opponents. It was also to avoid games in the month of August, when it is very expensive to travel. I wasn’t able to get my #1 game and I did get one dreaded August game, but overall the goals were achieved.
We got some Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup games. (I added a page for Cups & Leagues to explain how they work if you’re unfamiliar.) Some of the fixtures aren’t known yet, so we’ll have to draw again in a few weeks.
Once the draft was concluded there was much to accomplish, especially in light of that August surprise. First, we needed to figure out how to transfer tickets legitimately. In this blog I have used shorthand about “owners” and “shares” of the tickets, but in reality there is one season ticket holder, who has been a season ticket holder for a while. He couldn’t use all of the tickets this year and is making them available to a couple other people. It has been done so fairly it feels as though I am really a co-owner and not just someone with more or less a gentleman’s agreement. Arsenal has a transfer system available online to enable season ticket holders to share with specific others. Or to sell to nameless, faceless others who are “red” members, standing by in hopes that tickets come available. The transfer is anything but straightforward, but we’ve got it down now.
And my husband and I had to start planning for the August game. At first we decided we had to sell that game or give it away because of the airfare expense. But the more I looked at that game, the more I had to go to it. The airfare was more than 30% higher than for Fall or Winter. After several hours in which we intermittently talked it over and thought about it, we decided to go for it. Unfortunately, in the time we had mulled it over, the fare had risen to be 70% higher. Completely bummed out, we decided not to go and started to prepare for having the ticket transferred to someone else.
I happened to mention it to a friend at work this morning and he told me that there had been a major technical disruption that had impacted the entire industry. He suggested that I check back. When I did, not only was the airfare cheaper than yesterday, it was far cheaper than even the day before.
This started my frenzy of trying to buy airline tickets. It was like one of those nightmares where you try to do something very simple, like call someone on the phone and every time you try something goes wrong. On the first site, after going through the process of locating and selecting the tickets, entering names, addresses, passwords, etc., the site declined every one of my credit cards, saying that my vendor was not available for verification. I went to another site and tried again. Same thing. Then to another site. Same thing. Finally, I hit a site where my transaction went through. Hallelujah–we are on our way! Not sure whether the sites had pulled the plug on clearing transactions because something was clearly wrong with the pricing or whether they’d just been thronged with customers when the cheap tickets came up, overloading the system but something was very wrong.
While in the process of booking, I learned something else that I need to remember as this season plays out. The original dates announced for fixtures are all just guesses. Most are set as a Saturday games at 3 p.m. local time. Then when the TV people get their hands on it, the game days and times are transformed. They can be moved earlier in the day, later in the day, to the next day or two days later. This means it’s not possible to book air tickets very far in advance. We must always book after the TV schedules are nailed down.
So much more to be done, but for now all I keep saying to myself is: This is really happening. Wow.