Ticket Rush Hour!

Last Monday, July 23, the streets around Upton Park resembled a matchday as supporters clamoured to buy tickets for the Hammers' first home match of the new Premiership season, against Leeds United on August 25.

That was the first day of sale to Club Members but the huge demand caused queue jams at the Ticket Office in Priory Road and fans, some of whom had been there since midnight on Sunday, were forced to wait up to 90 minutes before being handed their precious tickets.

This caused some supporters to complain about their long wait. Ticket Office manager Steve Kitcher explains: "I am very sorry supporters had to wait a long time before being dealt with at the Ticket Office last Monday.

"It's true we were overwhelmed by the response, but there were several reasons for the delay. Fans wouldn't have been aware that the Ticket Office wasn't the only outlet selling tickets for the Leeds United game on the day.

"There were also 10 operators dealing with telephone bookings at the call centre and other sellers in club stores. We sold a total of 9,000 tickets in the first two days of sale, handled over 6,000 phone bookings and nearly 1,000 postal applications. Of that total, 2,200 were sold over the Ticket Office counter and in the club stores."

Despite the complaints there was no evidence of queue rage and, in many cases, the natural good humour of Hammers' supporters helped to calm the situation.

If last Monday was any indication, the Hammers won't have any problems filling the new 15,247 capacity Dr Martens Stand when it becomes fully operational for the visit of Spurs on November 24.

Apart from the demand from fans for tickets, Commercial Manager Sue Page reports that some of the corporate areas for 2001-02 are already sold out.

"The Premier Lounge has been sold out for some weeks," said Sue. "To date, there are just six places left in the prestigious Vice-Presidents' Suite and The White Horse Suite and Castle Lounge are filling rapidly.

"I strongly advise anyone interested in taking advantage of the remaining hospitality and corporate packages in the magnificent surroundings of the new Dr Martens Stand to contact me as soon as possible on 020 8548 2777."