Please note this new Version 2.0 Guide supercedes the original Guide and is current as of Tuesday 16th September 2014.
How do I get tickets to watch Arsenal?
This is one of the most common questions I am asked, and many of those who ask me seem to think that it is quite impossible to get a ticket for an Arsenal game. That is simply not true.
By far the best thing to do before you go any further is to join Arsenal as a Red Member. If you go to Arsenal.com you’ll see a section called “Tickets and Membership” – click on that and you can go to the membership section. At the moment I write this Arsenal have also set up another site that takes you directly to the membership website: http://www.alwaysaheadofthegame.com/.
There you will see invites to join either as a Red Member or as a Junior Gunner (depending on your age).
Once you are a Red Member you’ll be eligible to buy tickets for all Arsenal games. Now that doesn’t mean that you can get a ticket to any match you want – but for every match some tickets are available for Red Members. What you do is take a look at the Tickets page on Arsenal.com and that will tell you when you can buy and how much it will cost.
And it is always true that some games have tickets on sale virtually until the day of the game.
Of course some games do sell out almost at once – so don’t pin your hopes on getting a ticket of your choice for a game against one of the bigger clubs. But if you just want to go to the Arsenal from time to time, this is the way to do it.
Virtually every match sells out – but that fact shouldn’t put you off, because Arsenal run a very effective ticket exchange system. As you probably know about 40,000 of the 60,000 seats at the Emirates are sold to season ticket holders. But many of those season ticket holders can’t get to every game – and when they can’t go to a game, they can sell their ticket for that match back to Arsenal through the ticket exchange.
Indeed this happened to me recently. I have a season ticket in the upper tier, and was unable to go to a game. I I sold my ticket back to Arsenal for that match, and they made it available on line. I’m told by my friends who sit next to me that the purchaser was attending his first ever game, having only just become a Red Member. So it does work.
And there is another big benefit from being a member. The Friends and Family scheme means that tickets for a game can be transferred between members via the scheme. The approach also allows friends to buy tickets next to each other both at home and away games.
The next big question is, how much does it cost?
The first thing to do here is to ignore all the hype about Arsenal being the most expensive club in the country (it isn’t) and that tickets cost £100. If you haven’t realised before now that the media have a strong anti-Arsenal agenda and talk a load of tripe, this is the moment to take it on board.
The cheapest seats for Category C games are £26, the most expensive, £38.50.
To explain this further, Arsenal have three different price levels for games, depending on how popular they are. Arsenal v Tottenham, and games like that are the most expensive (category A). Games against teams that are not in the elite group and who are not Arsenal’s direct rivals are much cheaper and much more readily available. (And remember through this system, the young man sitting in my seat bought the ticket through Arsenal, not from me.)
Tickets are released about two months before the game, and at the moment I write this there are nine games advertised within the next two months or so. Only two of them are sold out (one a category A and one a category C match). So all those red members who want a ticket should be able to get one.
Moving on, there’s not only a variation in prices – there are variations according to where in the ground you want to sit. And there are special discounts for Junior Gunners and for the Family Enclosures. Indeed if there is an adult taking an under 16 member to seats in the family enclosure, the price can come down to around £10 or £15 for a ticket.
There’s yet another variation. Arsenal always sell the tickets for the home games in the League Cup at a 50% discount or more so you can get a good deal.
These tickets are offered first to season ticket holders (as league cup matches are not included in season tickets) but most of them tend to choose not to take up their option. So it is common for around 40,000 tickets to be available to anyone interested. Certainly many people get their first experience of an Emirates game via a league cup match.
Finally, there’s another important point: how many supporters the opposition have. There is no doubt that whatever the game, whenever it is played, Tottenham will always sell all their allocation of away tickets for a game at Arsenal. But other clubs, such as Swansea or Burnley, are liable to sell only a part of the allocation Arsenal has to give them.
In such cases the away club is allocated a bunch of seats in the away sector, and the home sector is expanded – so there is extra chance of getting tickets for these games because a) fewer people apply but b) more Arsenal seats are available.
Now for the other questions that I am asked:
How can I get a season ticket?
The answer to that one is that you have to go on the season ticket waiting list. Just go to http://www.arsenal.com/membership and you will find details of all the different memberships and waiting lists.
What about away games?
Tickets are sold through Arsenal to members for away games. Very popular away games (which means those against the very top clubs, and those against traditional rivals like West Ham and Tottenham) are sold to long-term members, but it is possible to buy away tickets for other less popular games. But you still need your Red Membership first.
Quite often Arsenal will offer tickets first to people who have purchased (for example) over 15 away games in the previous season. Then if some are left, they will go to those who have purchased a smaller number and so on. In this way they reward loyalty. It may seem unfair if you are just starting the journey of going to Arsenal games, but that is how it goes, and the only way in is to get your membership and start applying.
Which other games are most likely to be available?
Midweek games against lesser opposition – especially Champions League games against less well known clubs in the group stages. Also televised matches against less popular clubs are often easily available, as are early rounds of the FA cup against lower league teams.
But as my example above shows, lots of matches – even against the most popular teams, can take a while to sell out.
Can I get a ticket without all this membership stuff?
Touts operate around the ground, and do sell tickets. But remember, touting is a criminal offence, and the ticket you buy might be a fake. So you could end up wasting your money, and being hauled off to a police station for the duration of the game.
Plus remember that the price via a tout is going to be much inflated for most games. I have been offered £750 for the use of my season ticket for a single match – while the cost of the games works out at about £45 each on my season ticket. That £750 is the price the tout offered me. I presume, had I been stupid and taken the money rather than seen the game, he would have sold it for £1000 or more.
So if anyone tells you that they can “get Arsenal tickets” take care.
Arsenal do sell some special packages for matches which involve hotel accommodation and meals – so if you are coming to London for a special event you can have a look at those, but mostly the process is as I described above.
If a game doesn’t sell out to Red Members it does then get offered to the general public – but there is no telling if this will happen or not, so you could be waiting quite a while to get a game.
I’d encourage everyone to become a Red Member. You get some nice stuff each year as part of the membership, and you are then part of the club. And as time goes by you can also rise up to be a Silver Member, which gives you an earlier choice of match tickets (although a set percentage are always held back.
I hope that helps.
Contributed by our season ticket holding correspondent and all-around Arsenal expert Jacko Jones who can also be found at the legendary Untold Arsenal and on Twitter at @UntoldArsenal. You can also check out our friends at Soccer Tickets Online to get deals on various upcoming Arsenal games.
N.B. While we have tried our very best to make sure that the information in this guide is accurate we cannot guarantee it so please check with the club and relevant authorities to verify information.
***UPDATE*** You can now read the latest excellent guide for Gooners – How To Get To The Emirates To Watch Arsenal also by the most excellent Jacko Jones. This latest guide gives you accurate and easy to understand information on the various ways to get to the Emirates including Public Transport, directions for driving and a combination of the two. Jacko will also soon give some valuable incite and recommendations on the various refreshment options available around the stadium on another excellent guide in the series. All in all another must read for any Gooners attending matches at the Emirates.