Friday, 13 August 2010

“I would’ve gone to the game, but it was too expensive.”

You hear that too much nowadays. People being driven away from watching their team play because, basically, they can’t afford it. The inflating prices are becoming too much for a lot of football fans, and clubs don’t seem to grasp the concept that we can’t go on paying these kinds of prices.

It was quite an eye opener looking at the prices for the opening fixtures of the Premier League season. I thought Liverpool v Arsenal would be the most expensive seeing as it’s a fairly big game, especially to start the season off with, but I was quite wrong. I found the most expensive price and the least expensive price of any ticket in any stand for all home teams…

Spurs v Man City - most expensive £76 (adult) least expensive £23 (junior)
I appreciate it’s a category A game, after all they’re Champions League contending rivals, but isn’t this a bit much? £76 for one ticket. However, think it’s the most expensive price at Spurs this season? Think again. They put more VAT on Arsenal and West Ham tickets, meaning the most expensive price for an adult to see Spurs play this season, is £78. Add on top of that travel to and from the ground, combine it with food and drink and maybe a programme you’ll buy there, it will cost you around the £100 mark. It’s ridiculous. That’s nearly as much as my season ticket. Also, a restricted view ticket for category A game like their opener against City is £55. That’s right; Spurs charge £55 for you to stare at a pole all game. Oh and I forgot to mention: the game is on Sky.

Villa v West Ham - most expensive £38 (adult) least expensive £15 (under 16s)
An adult and child combo ticket costs £25, which in my opinion is reasonable. If you took up this offer, you could go to the game two times and still have £6 to spare, rather than going to Spurs v Man City. Not as appealing, but cheaper. And that’s exactly the route some people are taking now; some people are being driven to watch their non-league local team, simply because it’s cheap, yet they still get to watch football.

Blackburn v Everton - most expensive £38 (adult) least expensive £15 (junior)
No disrespect to Blackburn, but I wouldn’t want to pay £38 to see them hoof it up the pitch for ninety minutes. Yes, they finished in the top 10 last season and yes Everton are a good team so you’d expect to pay a higher price to see them play, but nearly £40 to watch this game in my opinion isn’t worth what you’re actually paying to see.

Bolton v Fulham - most expensive £28 (adult) least expensive £9 (under 18s)
In no disrespect to either team, it isn’t the most eye-catching of fixtures. So 28 pound a go is rather deer to say the least. Under a tenner for under 18s is however a good price, you can’t argue with that, but the adult price makes it seem much less appealing. Nevertheless, it’s one of the more reasonably priced games, but still a little too much.

Sunderland v Blues - most expensive £28 (adult) least expensive £10 (under 12)
This is the game I took most interest in the price of because it’s Blues. I could’ve afforded the £10, but my dad couldn’t afford to pay nearly £30, and on top of that petrol to get all the way up to Sunderland. This is what’s driving people away. The prices aren’t reasonable anymore, and working class people simply can’t afford the prices.

Wigan v Blackpool - most expensive £27 (adult) least expensive £18 (concession)
I know they are sort of close in terms of distance, but really, £27? If I went to this game I’d have to pay £18. Aside from the fact I support neither Wigan or Blackpool, the fact that it’s £18 is the reason I wouldn’t and couldn’t go to this game. I couldn’t go because I can’t afford nearly £20 to go to a game, and I wouldn’t go because I’m not willing to pay nearly £20 to go to a game. That’s the mentality now; smaller games aren’t going to get big crowds because no one wants to pay that much to go to them. They’d rather save their money for a bigger game that’s maybe a little bit more expensive, but better entertainment.

Wolves v Stoke - most expensive £28 (adult) least expensive £5 (under 12)
Anyone remember this fixture last season? It was so boring, even the Wolves fans were chanting ‘borrrrrrring’ whenever Stoke took a throw in. And now the fans have to pay £28 to watch it again? Really? Neither teams will have really changed their tactics; after all, if it’s not broke don’t try and fix it. It worked last season for them both. So I predict this £28 to be a bit too steep to watch a game that will probably be another ‘boring’ repeat of last seasons fixture between the two, regardless whether it's a derby game or not.

Chelsea v West Brom - most expensive £68 (adult) least expensive £17.50 (junior/senior without a membership)
I appreciate it’s Chelsea, but even Chelsea shouldn’t be allowed to get away with charging this much for a game. The highest adult price is £68. I don’t care what stand it’s in but that’s a ridiculous amount of money to expect people to pay for a match. I looked at what they were charging West Brom too; £49 for an adult ticket. £49 to watch your team, most likely, lose. Unless you wanted to tick Stamford Bridge off on the list of grounds you’ve been to, you just wouldn’t bother, would you?

Liverpool v Arsenal - most expensive £45 (adult) least expensive £32.50 (over 65s/disabled/visually impaired)
Interestingly, looking at Liverpool’s pricing structure, there was no price band for kids or under 16s noted on the website. Just a combined adult and children ticket. So I guess if you were a teenager and wanted to go a game by yourself, you’d have to pay an adult price. Given this game is on a Sunday and on Sky as well, the prices mean you might just be scraping a full Anfield, whereas a few seasons ago, you’d have sold out within days.


Some teams just don’t seem to get it anymore. The people in charge of clubs don’t seem to get the fact that people aren’t going to the games because they don’t want to, it’s because they can’t afford it. Speak to any football fan and they’ll tell you they’d love to go to every single game their team plays, but they can’t. Some people get to a handful of games a season if they’re lucky, and that’s not because they can’t get there; it’s because of the money.

All it requires is logic: put the prices down. If you charge £40 a ticket, you won’t get a big crowd; charge £20 a ticket, you’ll get more people, and make a profit because for every two people that go to the game, you make £40 anyway. Still not everyone will be able to afford it, but a lot more people than before will be able to go.

It’s just a thought, but if the Premier League want higher gates yet still high income, they should take note of the Bundesliga in Germany; they have lower ticket prices which result in more people going to the games, and even the food and drink at the stadiums is cheaper... yet they still make enough money.

Football isn’t about football and the enjoyment anymore, it’s about the money and who can make the most, and if this is what were paying now, I don’t want to think about what it’ll be like in four or five years time. The people in high places that can actually do something about this, really need to do so, before football becomes something none of us can afford anymore.

Note: some of the most expensive prices may be club-class, but the websites did not state that, so I was just going on the most expensive price I saw out of all the prices listed for the games

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