Heartbreak and relief as Tigers fans find out grand final fate

Being a Richmond member for the past 40 years has caused plenty of heartbreak for Steven Moon.

And when grand final tickets were released to club members on Monday he experienced more pain, and then relief.

Steven Moon is counting his lucky stars after getting a grand final ticket. Photo: Joe Armao

Steven Moon is counting his lucky stars after getting a grand final ticket. Photo: Joe Armao

The Tigers tragic initially thought that he'd missed out on a ticket and emailed the club to complain.

But when he checked his inbox in the afternoon there was an email confirming he'd secured a golden ticket.

"I'm tickled pink that I'll be there," he said. "It's been a bit of a rollercoaster day. A ticket is fantastic. I've had to wait so long."

Ken Wilson hasn't given up hope. Photo: Supplied

Ken Wilson hasn't given up hope. Photo: Supplied

The 62-year-old is disappointed that he's only been allocated standing room, considering that he is a platinum member, but said it's "better than nothing".

"How long do you have to be a member before they pay you recognition?"

There were scenes of despair and relief on Monday as Richmond fans discovered whether they had secured an elusive ticket to the team's first grand final in 35 years.

With only 17,000 tickets allocated to Richmond's 75,000 members, those who missed out posted desperate pleas on social media, with many criticising the allocation process.

AFL Fans Association president Gerry Eeman​ has been campaigning for 50,000 tickets to be allocated to competing club members, up from the current allocation of 34,000 across both clubs.

The AFL increased the figure by 4000 this year, but fans say it is still inadequate. In 2015 Melbourne Cricket Club members received 25,000 tickets, AFL members and Medallion Club 21,000, corporate sales, dining and stakeholders 17,000 and non-competing clubs received 7000. 

"We ideally want the grand final to be bathed in the two colour schemes of the two clubs," Mr Eeman said.

"We don't want neutral people going when there are so many passionate fans. They are the ones who should prioritised – the ones who attend week in and week out."

He said he had heard of desperate fans buying expensive grand final packages through other clubs – although these all appeared to be exhausted on Monday. 

The association backed legislation introduced into State Parliament by the Greens, which would have guaranteed club members had access to 50,000 of the MCG's almost 100,000-seat capacity.

Greens MP Sam Hibbins​ said disappointed supporters should blame the Labor and Liberal parties, who voted down the Greens legislation.

"Today thousands of Richmond members have missed out on tickets to footy's biggest day," Mr Hibbins said.

Long-time Richmond supporter Ken Wilson said he was "bitterly disappointed" that he missed out.

He has been a member of the club since the late 1980s and attends every game, including those played interstate.

But there's a silver lining – he secured a ticket for his 27-year-old son Brendan using a friend's AFL membership.

"I think with a bit of good karma he'll gets to see them win a flag."

Mr Wilson hasn't given up and is phoning every football club in the hope that they might have a spare ticket. 

Many Tiger fans who missed out have rushed to buy tickets to watch the game on huge screens at Punt Road Oval. Tickets will set fans back $20 and the club is spruiking the event as "the next best thing to being at the MCG to watch the game".

- The Age