Everton’s new chief executive Robert Elstone fears the club’s fans will be forced to buy tickets from touts if they want to see the FA Cup final against Chelsea next month.
Elstone is angry that the club have only been allocated 25,109 for the match at Wembley on May 30, having sold over 32,000 for the semi-final victory over Manchester United at the same stadium on April 18.
Although Elstone urges fans not to buy tickets from unauthorised outlets, it is clear that with Chelsea getting a similar allocation there will be 40,000 other tickets that could end up on the black market.
He said: “It is clear to us that 25,000 is a hugely inadequate figure, it is so disappointing and we really feel for our fans.
“It is a smack in the face for everything we are trying to do both in terms of growing our fans base and growing as a business.
“It is inevitable that too many tickets are now going to end up in the wrong hands and while the FA try to close these outlets down, it only happens after the event.
“It all smacks of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Unfortunately, there was no scope for negotiation when we met with the FA.
“Promises have been made already about where the other 40,000 tickets are going, and I suspect they have been posted. All we can do is express our immense disappointment.”
It is Everton’s first cup final in 14 years and Elstone added: “The allocation to both Everton and Chelsea is not only too small it is, sadly, hopelessly inadequate and will drive ticketless supporters towards the touts.
“As a direct consequence of the FA’s decision to award us just 25,000 tickets for the ultimate in prestige games we are faced with trying to squeeze not a quart but a gallon into a pint-pot.”
Everton will distribute their tickets based on how many games fans have seen this season, above their normal season-ticket quota.
Elstone added: “I would estimate that two out of every three Evertonians who would dearly love to be at this game will not be at Wembley.
“To suggest that demand will outstrip supply is to understate things... I believe we could sell in excess of 70,000 tickets for this game.
“As a club, all we can do is to try to ensure that our allocation ends up in the hands of those who have proved their dedication to Everton.
“We understand many will miss out but there is very little else we could do given the circumstances forced on us.
“We now know a number of season ticket holders who will not receive a ticket for our biggest game in 14 years and that is damaging to the work being carried out here in trying to expand our season ticket base.
“Many supporters will seriously consider going down other avenues in search of tickets. I would urge them to steer well clear of the countless internet ticket agencies which claim to already have tickets – they do not.
“The only way supporters can be guaranteed a genuine cup final ticket is by meeting the criteria as set out through the club.”