Whenever you try to buy Premier League tickets, especially at one of the big clubs, you will run into these things called memberships.
But what are they? And do you have to buy a membership to get a ticket for English soccer?
The answer to the second question is, often you do. But let’s back up a little and talk about what memberships have to do with getting tickets.
This post has been updated as of July 2023
Why Memberships? To Reward Loyalty
Let’s say you are Groundhopper FC, and you have a big game coming up. Suddenly everybody wants a ticket, but you want to reward the folks who have been with you all the time. So you start by putting tickets on sale only to your season ticket holders, who can buy an extra one or two, and next to others who have been buying tickets all along and have contributed to the club. These are your Members. It’s only after the Members Sales that tickets go on General Sale to the public — if there are any left.
Some Norwich City members get access to this lounge before and after games.
As a supporter, by becoming a member of Groundhopper FC, you express your loyalty, create an account with them, pitch in a little cash, and let them keep a record of your purchases. You also get perks like a newsletter, patch or sticker, discount at the team store, perhaps access to a lounge on game days, and so on.
Even at the bigger clubs like Liverpool, a membership is generally less than 40 pounds per year. Most clubs also have a youth membership, and some have several options, including an international or “light” membership.
Loyalty Still Counts
Just getting a membership to, say, Liverpool, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to see them play Manchester United. That’s because after the season ticket holders, members then get access
based on their loyalty points. And you get these by buying tickets, which means right now you don’t have any.
Victory celebration at AFC Bournemouth.
Sometimes this becomes a dead end – like when clubs such as
or Bournemouth are in the Premier League, for example. They have an small stadiums, so if you weren’t buying tickets when they were nobody, then you basically never will, because every game sells out to season ticket holders and members with more points than you’ll ever get — since you can’t get tickets there, anyway. Brentford
The same is true for big clubs, if they are playing another big club. For example, if Chelsea are playing West Brom, you might get a ticket on General Sale. If they are playing Tottenham, you’ll need a membership, and maybe points as well.
Members’ Resale Area
Many clubs maintain a resale area on their website, or sometimes in partnership with a third party site, where season ticket holders and members can resell tickets they aren’t using. Bearing in mind that sites like StubHub and ViaGogo are technically illegal in the UK, clubs offer this service to keep everything legit and in-house.
As a member, you will have access to this resale area, and you can jump on available tickets not being used by these other folks.
Want to see the famous Kop at Liverpool?
Get a membership and hope for the best.
When You Always Need a Membership
The really big clubs have basically made a membership required to ever buy a ticket. For the most part, this is just recognizing the enormous demand, trying to keep track of everyone, and, of course, squeezing a few more quid out of us. But it’s a hoop you will have to jump through if you want into
Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal.
Even with a membership, some Premier League clubs are just about impossible. For example, Groundhopper Paul once maintained a membership with Liverpool for four years, just to try and build up some points. He managed to buy exactly one ticket, on a Tuesday night in the League Cup against Swansea. Even after they expanded Anfield, and even when they were playing Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup, he couldn’t get a ticket, membership or no.
When You Probably Need a Membership
Below the upper reaches of the Premier League, you will probably still need a membership. Let’s say Burnley is hosting Bournemouth on a Tuesday night. You might get something on General Sale, but I say it’s worth it to get the membership and increase your chances – especially if you want more than one, and you want them together.
Also, outside the Premier League, sometimes the opponent is a club you’ve never heard of – but a really big game nonetheless. For example, Paul once went to Norwich City when they were in the Championship, and they happened to be playing Ipswich Town. That, for both teams, is the biggest game of the year, so then he
really wanted to see it. So say hello to the newest member of Canary Nation!
If you’re looking at one of these smaller clubs, send an email to their ticket office to confirm tickets will probably be on General Sale and when.
When You Won’t Need a Membership
Basically, the rest of the time — ie, outside the Premier League and when it’s not a big derby game.
home to Barnsley ? Step right up! Cheltenham Town home to Swansea City ? Just pay attention to that “general sale” date and get on it. Huddersfield Town
One Thing That Helps: Seeking Single Tickets
As a general rule, a membership often gets you access to one ticket. So if you want two, you may need two memberships. Getting those two together adds a degree of difficulty. But if you only want one, then across the board, you have a better shot.
Beware the Third-Party Market for Soccer Tickets
There is yet one more option that we don’t discuss because we don’t do it: the black market. We’re talking StubHub, FootballTicketNet, and so on. These are mainly sites where season ticket holders and members resell their tickets at a profit. Often, they maintain their relationship with the club just do this. And it’s all illegal according to the United Kingdom.
Does this mean you’ll get ripped off? Not necessarily. It’s just kind of the Wild West.
We’ve got more in our post
Is StubHub Safe?
No luck? Try Hospitality
If you absolutely positively must see Man United, and they are playing Man City, and it’s your only shot at Old Trafford, there is another (expensive) option: the hospitality package. Now you’re talking a few hundred bucks per person, but you’ll be there.
Clubs sell these themselves, and also through partners called authorized resellers — who, in turn, sell through what’s called registered agents. Groundhopper Soccer Guides are registered agents for four different authorized resellers.
Here is a quick video explaining how we are able to sell tickets and hospitality packages to English football games, and what it’s like working with us:
More About Groundhopper Guides and English Soccer Tickets & Hospitality
You can read more about us and our hospitality sales here:
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