Ryan White takes us through why so many fans are outraged about ticket pricing:
The pricing of tickets has been one of the biggest issues on the majority of football supporters’ minds lately, and there are plenty of reasons why this is the case.
The Premier League recently introduced a £30 limit for away tickets which for some is a massive victory but for others, tickets are still way too expensive – and that’s for home and away matches across the top four divisions of the English football pyramid.
Arsenal have been one of the clubs to come under a lot of scrutiny in the wake of ticket pricing, as some seats at the Emirates can cost up to £100. Being a fan of football I do tend to watch most, if not, all Premier League games televised and what I do regularly notice is the lack of atmosphere from home supporters at the Emirates Stadium. Now this could be down to a few factors; design of stadium meaning further away from pitch, lack of performance etc. However, I bet a large percentage of the poor atmosphere is down to who is actually watching the game and from what I can notice there are a lot of tourists. Compare that to a team like Norwich, AFC Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, their atmospheres are a lot better most of the time because loyal supporters are not being outpriced unlike those at Manchester United and Arsenal. I can’t remember who exactly it was who said it but they mentioned that top-flight football was becoming a tourist’s game rather than a supporter’s game.
Burton Albion, however, are a good example of how to put fans first when it comes to ticket pricing. The Brewers have frozen season ticket prices for current holders for the second year running, meaning if they are to get promoted this season to the Championship some fans are going to be watching football in the second tier of English football for the same price as they were paying for League 2 football.
Gillingham, the team I support, charge me £20 to watch them play. I am a very loyal supporter of the Gills but for just £2 extra I could watch Premier League leaders Leicester City. The problem is football is becoming too much of a business to club owners. Chairmen and owners are looking to make the largest possible profit and that is evidently shown by what I wrote earlier about Arsenal. Saying that, not all club owners are all money-grabbers. For example, Burton or even Liverpool when fans decided to walk out in protest to ticket price proposals made by the hierarchy at the Merseyside club. That ended in Liverpool deciding to freeze the price of tickets, rather than go ahead with the proposed £77 for next season.
I do feel though we are taking a step in the right direction. In the BBC’s Price of Football 2015 study, 70% of tickets analysed were either frozen or reduced. In my opinion this is still not good enough because those tickets may have been frozen or reduced, but by how much? Not much I can assume.
Comment your opinions, it would be great to hear.
Follow Ryan White on Twitter @RyanJ_GFC
the Premier League imposing a maximum £30 for away fans is a step in the right direction, but the football league need to follow suit. For example how is it right that Championship clubs could then charge more than that for 2nd tier football? I went to Notts County in January to watch my team (Wimbledon), it was £24, very steep for effectively 4th division football. How about Championship clubs maxing at £25, and leagues 1&2 at £20? If you back to the 80’s (pre-Premier League), the price differential between Division 1 & 4 was minimal. In March 82 I think I paid £2.50 to get into D3 Chester v Wimbledon, four years later I watched Wimbledon win at Anfield in D1, £3.50. The ordinary fan is being priced out of the game.
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Did not realise how cheap it was back then. Unfortunately as loyal supporters we are forced to pay these prices, because we love our clubs too much.
the biggest problems stemmed from the mid 80’s where after the Heysel, Hillsborough and Bradford tragedies, the government and the football authorities realised change was needed – ultimately all-seater stadiums, how was this to be funded? that’s when the FA, Sky, the top clubs formed the Premier League, the extra tv money was to help fund the seating requirements, but of course the money kept rolling in, the game got more and more popular, games were selling out, so ticket prices went up and up and up, and the fans were becoming less and less importance to the clubs. When we got relegated from the Premier League, it felt horrible, but games in what’s now the Championship were much more enjoyable, better atmosphere, more even games, and cheaper prices. In 2002 and that absolutely disgusting, scandalous decision to allow football franchising led to AFC Wimbledon. One good thing about having to restart at the combined counties was the welcomes we got, the admission prices were fair, treated like proper fans and not sheep, so many enjoyable days out, so many nice clubs (and the few who saw us just as a cash cow). Unfortunately these days, it’s all about greed, and while there are mega bucks tv and sponsorship deals, the clubs can just keep putting the prices up, as how ever many are priced out, but while there are numbers of fans waiting for their chance for tickets/season tickets, they can just keep doing it. Unfortunately the good old days have gone, and they ain’t coming back
I think those good old days will come back at some point, maybe in 10,20 or even 30 years from now though.
Steve, you clearly know a lot about football and you write really well – If you ever want to write a couple of pieces don’t hesitate to get in touch!
thanks, that’s very good of you to say, I have written the odd article for Wimbledon fanzines over the years, so I could cobble something together, it’s just a case of motivation 🙂
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Whenever you get motivated Ping us an email email@example.com