The Melbourne Cricket Club is an exclusive place, with a waiting list currently 17 years long, and not without reason.
The Members’ Reserve at the MCG, with a capacity of more than 23,000, is where Melbourne Cricket Club members, who wait over 20 years and pay hundreds in annual fees for membership, are entitled to access games at the iconic ground.
Membership of the Club entitles you to a great deal, and one of those perks is full-strength beer out of a glass, rather than mid-strength out of plastic for those in general admission, as well as hospitality service not experienced elsewhere at the MCG.
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One photo of the Members’ Reserve shared to social media has sparked a storm of debate online, as a particular group of members who were not satisfied with the service offered in the Reserve took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction.
“Save the MCC” is a group organised as a forum for MCC members to express their complaints with the running of the club, and previously have made comment on changes to reserve seating, visitor ticket pricing, and beer availability.
The Twitter account for the group posted a photo of members seated against the glass in the Frank Grey Smith Bar (situated on the third level of the Members’ Reserve) with several empty glasses on the bench, making clear in the caption their issue with the photo.
“Empty glasses, everywhere,” the account wrote, implying that the glasses should have been cleared away by staff.
They further posted that, “it (previously) was common that members would have tables cleared every quarter.
“Full membership is $790 and pints are $12.50. We expect there to be a good service standard in the MCC. Delaware North (the hospitality partner of the MCG) are not delivering.”
The account would go on to post a further update on social media after the Demons v Carlton game on Friday, June 2, saying that glasses weren’t taken away at all.
“Final quarter update. No glasses were collected,” the group wrote.
“Did everyone enjoy the warm dishwasher fresh beers tonight from Delaware North? Cheers.”
A spokesperson for Delaware North said that the company took a high level of pride in its role.
“As the hospitality partner of the MCC, Delaware North takes great pride in providing a high level of service to all patrons attending the MCG,” the spokesperson said.
“We were disappointed to hear some feedback from patrons about their experiences in one of the bars during Friday night’s game.
“We’ve taken this feedback on board and will be adding resources during peak service periods to ensure that this situation is rectified for future games.”
Social media was alight with criticism of the tweets, with members and non-members alike lining up to express their ire at what the photo represented.
One member of the MCC said she returned her own glasses to the bar when in the members.
“I’m a member and I take my own stinkin’ glasses back to the bar because it absolutely is not hard,” she wrote.
“$790 doesn’t buy manners. Pick your $12.50 pint glass up and take it to the bar for the next round. It’s what us commoners do,” said another woman.
“You’re all big boys and girls, you can tidy up after yourself. I know that may be a foreign concept for some of the MCC crowd though,” said another fan.
“What do (you) expect from people who prefer to be behind glass to watch sports. They ain’t picking up after themselves. No doubt used to having peons doing that for them,” one fan mused.
One Essendon fan noted that labour shortages are rampant across the workforce, and the possibility that the Members’ Reserve was understaffed.
“Could also be the chronic labour shortages affecting the entire hospitality industry Australia wide,” they said.
“Members aren’t more entitled than any other patrons anywhere.
“Be patient and thank those that turn up to work for you. And do the right thing and return your empties to the bar.”
The MCG will see three more AFL fixtures over the course of the weekend, headlined by a blockbuster King’s Birthday clash between Melbourne and Collingwood on Monday afternoon.
Hawthorn will play Brisbane at 1.45pm on Saturday afternoon, followed by traditional giants Carlton and Essendon at the unusual timeslot of 7.15pm on Sunday night.