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John Rex

football ticket prices

it has become extremely costly to take along ones children to a football match nowadays

The past month has seen the cost of being a football fan thrown under the microscope more than ever. But why hasn’t this happened sooner?

Ever since the Premier League was founded in 1992 and the implementing of all-seater stadia following the Taylor Report, ticket prices have soared past the rate of inflation. In fact, the fanzine Stand Against Modern Football recently highlighted that since 1989 the average ticket prices have risen by a mind-boggling 716%. But it has only captured regular column inches since Manchester City sent back 912 tickets at a cost of £62 each ahead of their Premier League game against Arsenal nearly three weeks ago.

So how has it come to this? In a game awash with billion-pound TV contracts and lucrative sponsorship deals surely that would be enough to bankroll football clubs? Wrong. Extortionate transfer fees and multi-million pound contracts have played a part in clubs passing the bill onto their hard-pressed fans who are struggling to make ends meet in the real world. It seems football is recession-proof and their attitude extends to their paying customers who are facing financial hardships of their own as the recession tightens its grip.

As a result many are starting to vote with their feet and the empty seats are becoming a regular sight at many Premier League grounds. Even the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United have not been immune from the sight of red plastic greeting the TV cameras as prices spiral out of control. But it is away fans that are worse off as the clubs’ policy of categorising specific fixtures means some fans will have to fork out more for the same seat which another fan may have paid less for just a fortnight ago.

One notable example is Liverpool who are classed as Category A by all 19 of their fellow Premier League rivals whenever they face them, which means they will pay more over the course of the season than fans of other clubs such as Stoke and Wigan. After paying £50 for their 5-2 win at Norwich City back in September, the travelling Kop have since paid up to £59 to see their side draw 1-1 at Chelsea and between £48-54 for the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham, both within the space of two weeks alone.

It doesn’t stop there: bottom club QPR charged the away end between £48-55, and 16-21 year old tickets didn’t come cheap either costing upwards from £44-50. In fact, those attending this Sunday’s match at Manchester City will have paid between £51-53 for the short journey up the M62. Throw in the added costs of travel and refreshments for all these trips and the cost further escalates making for a highly expensive day out.

The problem is not just restricted to one specific club as shown, even Liverpool charge up to £48 for their Category A fixtures against local rivals Everton and Manchester United. So how can fans make a stand despite their blind loyalty to their team?

Whilst the easy option would be to boycott games and hit clubs in the pocket, there will be fans out there who despite being fed up with the ever-increasing costs, cannot bring themselves to give up the one past-time which they enjoy more than any other which is where the argument is flawed in many critics’ eyes.

However the tide is turning. Fans’ group the Football Supporters Federation has recently launched their ‘Score’ campaign which they hope will see clubs across England and Wales charge no more than £20 for away match tickets (£15 concessions). Speaking on their website they said: “Away fans are the distilled essence of football supporters. The hardcore. Travelling fans spend the most money and make the most effort supporting their clubs.

“Without away fans the atmosphere dies and football loses something of what makes it so special. We need fans to come together over the coming weeks to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

It may be early days but the tide may just be turning in favour of the fans for a change.

Courtesy of radio city sport .

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