Earlier this week news broke that Manchester City had returned 900 tickets after fans refused to pay £62 to watch their team play at Arsenal on Sunday. As FSF Chair Malcolm Clarke put it, “football isn’t immune from the economic situation and just because City have a lot of money it doesn’t mean their supporters have.” A sentiment echoed at many clubs up and down the country.
Match-going fans all too often must pay through the nose to watch their team. The problem is particularly acute for away fans who must also cover the additional costs of transport, food and refreshments that come with following your team across the country. This season has seen Blues fans charged £36.00 for an away match at Elland Road in October.
Reports suggest that the Premier League is exploring the idea of an away fans’ fund – this sounds like a welcome initiative and one of many potential options that we would be pleased to explore with them. Of course high prices affect supporters in all leagues, and solutions must be found for those fans too.
In the last few days there have been many petitions and local campaigns aiming to bring away ticket prices down to a more affordable level. This feels like a real watershed moment when fans across the country are willing to put aside club differences to speak with one voice. Why can’t our football clubs employ similar schemes as those found in many European countries, most notably Germany?
With that in mind the Football Supporters’ Federation will next week announce the first in a series of meetings across the country to see what fans can do to make football more affordable; something Blues Trust hopes to attend in order to add some weight to the debate and hopefully influence the policy and pricing setters within the game, who for so long, seem to have ignored any economic pressure the very people that make the game come alive find themselves in.