A devoted Newcastle United fan who has spent 23 years travelling 400 miles to watch every home game feels his "loyalty counts for nothing" when it comes to getting a ticket for the Carabao Cup.
Season ticket holder Tony Buckingham fears he may be one of many disappointed fans who are unable to see the Magpies play at Wembley under the club's criteria for ticket sales.
The 69-year-old moved from Newcastle to Peterborough with his family when he was a teenager but has remained a staunch supporter, travelling hundreds of miles to watch every home game from the Gallowgate End since 2000.
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Despite his loyalty, the dad-of-two was just three points short of entering the ballot for the first round of tickets, which were released on Monday. Tony, who has 22 points, and only managed to secure tickets for two of the Carabao Cup matches, will now have to wait until Wednesday for a later ballot.
He told Chronicle Live that he feels long-term season ticket holders who have "supported the club through thick and thin" deserve more consideration.
"I have been a season ticket holder since 2000, and every home game for me is a 400 mile round journey as I live in Peterborough," he said.
"There are not many home games I have missed in those 23 years, but this loyalty counts for nothing under the conditions for sale devised by the club. This feels so wrong.
"After nearly 70 years of supporting my beloved Newcastle United, I am bitterly disappointed that yet again I am going to miss out on seeing them play at Wembley unless I get lucky in a ballot."
Tony, who brought his two sons and grandson up as Newcastle United supporters, plans to travel to Wembley to enjoy the atmosphere with or without a ticket. But during his anxious wait to see whether he will be successful in the ballot, he has written a letter to Amanda Staveley to express his concerns.
"It is one of those things where it doesn't matter what you do, you are going to upset somebody but I just feel like anybody who has been a long-serving supporter and got less than 25 loyalty points is more or less been forgotten about, which doesn't seem right," Tony said.
"They seem to be giving more preference to people going to the Carabao Cup matches than the people who have supported them for 15, 20, 25 years, whatever.
"It's like a catch-22. You can't increase your loyalty points because everyone wants to go to the away matches and most clubs only give 3,000 tickets away max."
He continued: "I have sent a letter to Amanda Staveley. I thought I might as well write to the top person and see what happens."
Newcastle United said that sought feedback from Newcastle United Supporters Trust to ensure fairness and transparency when it came to ticket allocation. However, the club have acknowledged that some supporters would be disappointed as the allocated 32,761 tickets would not be able to accommodate everyone.
The tickets are being sold online in priority periods based on specific criteria set out by the club below:
Period 1 tickets were released on Monday, February 6 and are for season ticket holders with 25+ loyalty points and have attended at least one Carabao Cup match during the 2022/23 campaign. Period 2 tickets were released on Tuesday, February 7, are for season ticket holders that have attended four home and at least one of the away Carabao Cup matches during the 2022/23 campaign.
Period 3 tickets go on sale on Wednesday, February 8 and are for season ticket holders that have attended three or four home Carabao Cup matches during the 2022/23 campaign. Period 4 tickets go on sale on February 9 and are for season ticket holders that have attended one or two home Carabao Cup matches during the 2022/23 campaign.
Period 5 tickets go on sale on Friday, February 10 and are for season ticket holders that have not attended a Carabao Cup match during the 2022/23 campaign. Period 6 tickets go on sale on Saturday, February 11, and are for members that have attended at least one home Carabao Cup match during the 2022/23 campaign.
Period 7 tickets go on sale on Sunday, February 12, and are for supporters with a previous purchase history that have attended at least one home Carabao Cup match during the 2022/23 campaign.
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