by Josh Green
Another weekend of football has flown by and hard earned cash has left the pockets of the loyal fans, who travel up and down the country in the support of their beloved football clubs, but with some prices for away fans rising above £50 it is time for fans to stand together in unison and say enough is enough.
On the 13th of January, Manchester City are scheduled to play Arsenal at the Emirates. In the past I have enjoyed trips to the Emirates, even though the prices have been high, but this season they plan to charge the City fans £62.00. How on earth can the hierarchy at Arsenal justify charging a set of working class fans, travelling down from Manchester, £62.00 to watch 90 minutes of football? Anything over 50 quid is a disgrace but now they are setting the price at over 60? Something needs to be done.
Earlier this season a picture of a ticket to watch Arsenal versus their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur went viral on the internet, the price of the ticket was £100.00. Yes that’s right, one hundred English pounds, that’s over £1 a minute of football. You don’t get a champagne banquet at half-time; you will probably still have to fork out a tenner for pie and chips at half-time.
Football is traditionally a working class sport but the fans who made this game what it is today are being priced out, without the moneymen giving them a second thought. In the U.K. the population is now generally passive and apathetic politically; it’s not often we turn off the television and get off our gluteus maximus to protest about grotesque government policies. The Poll Tax Riots of March 1990 is probably the last time the people of this country stood up for something they believe in together and it worked.
Personal boycotts, angry tweets, disgruntled Facebook comments and a quiet moan in your local pub isn’t going to change anything. Before you know it some clubs will be charging £70 for games and people who have been supporting their local club for years will have to call it a day. Boycotts should be organised within all local supporters clubs; you could make a banner with your friends and use social media to plan a protest at the next home game. It’s up to you, don’t wait for a leader because one may never arrive.
In other countries they are not so apathetic. In 2010 there were massive protests because fans were going to be charged 22 Euro (£19) for a standing ticket. The game in question was Schalke vs Borussia Dortmund, one of the fiercest rivalries in Germany. More than 300 Dortmund supporters clubs were involved in the boycott and 1500 fans immediately returned their tickets.
The fact is we would consider £19 for one of the biggest games of the season an absolute bargain but in reality no football game should cost more than £20-£30 to attend.
It’s not just the Germans who have the backbone to organise protests against anything the fans deem unjust, the Sevilla fans decided on this unique protest because of unfair television money distribution on behalf of La Liga.
Arsenal are not the only team in the Premier League who make a fortune from taking advantage of fans loyalty, fellow London team Chelsea are also guilty of charging astronomical prices to watch a 90 minute football game. West Ham disgustingly charged their fans, who recently supported them so well through the Championship, £55 for a home game versus Manchester City. This is just not right.
All teams in the Premier League should hang their heads in shame as they regularly rip their home fans off for watered down beer and half price snacks. It isn’t just the club sides who are unfairly making the fans wallets lighter, the English national team and the F.A are chief suspects. When England play a friendly at Wembley don’t expect any change out of a £10 note if you decide to buy a pint and a ungenerous portion of chips.
In my humble opinion, the line has been crossed and football fans need to remind the clubs who’s in charge and prove they aren’t willing to sit by and be priced out of supporting the team they love. Make of this article what you want but if you are against you and your fellow fans being ripped off don’t sit idly by and watch the loyal support of your club dwindle due to ticket prices, organise something and you might make the difference.
While the economic situation remains and money is tight, it is unacceptable that clubs are treating their fans like this, look to the football fans in Germany as an inspiration, they are in control of their football club and the Bundesliga is as strong as ever; a competitive league with consistently high attendances where the fans are treated as a crucial part of the club. It can be the same here in England. Viva la revolution.