A FURIOUS football fan is continuing to fight Derby FC after the club refused to allow his disabled son to have a concessionary season ticket next to him and their friends.
Patrick Cooke, 68, of Hilts Cottages, Crich, and his disabled son Chris, 37, had enjoyed pensioner and disabled concessionary prices at Pride Park during the 2010/11 season but the club withdrew his son’s concession and insisted he would have to move to a designated disabled section to benefit from a cut-price season ticket again.
Mr Cooke has been forced to pay out £620 for their tickets ever since instead of about £300 despite his complaints and he relaunched his fight with the club after new chief executive Sam Rush asked supporters to contact the club with any concerns.
Mr Cooke said: “I’ve been a lifelong supporter and season ticket holder for the last 40 years and I chose my seat when Pride Park opened and since my lad joined me and my friends I don’t see why he should have to move to keep a concessionary ticket that he was originally allowed.”
The 68 year-old originally wrote to MP Patrick Mcloughlin for help but the club, according to Mr Cooke, argued that it had to follow the discrimination act and could not make any exceptions by allowing Chris to sit in a non-disabled designated area and benefit from a concession.
Mr Cooke explained the club offered him a chance to move to a designated area with his son so Chris could benefit from a disabled concession but they declined because they wanted to sit in their preferred seats among friends.
Mr Cooke said: “There is nothing consistent and fair about giving something and then taking it away. I’m being forced to pay full whack for Chris and feel he should get a concession and be able to sit where he wants.
“There is no equality in being given a concession and then not being given a choice of where you want to sit in the stadium.”
Mr Cooke, whose son has cerebral palsy and is autistic, has recently written to Mr Rush but he still has not had a response.
A Club spokesman said: “Upon hearing this long-standing issue Mr Cooke has experienced at Pride Park Stadium, this is a matter which clearly needs resolving. “First and foremost, the Club will look to make contact with Mr Cooke in the near future to arrange a conversation, if he so wishes, between himself and Derby County Disabled Supporters Club and their Chairman Tim Rees, who happily acts on the behalf of our Disabled Supporters and has a strong relationship with the Club. From that point, dialogue can begin to find a resolution to this matter.”