Monday, February 12, 2007

Tick, tock, tick, tock, the penny drops about rising ticket prices.

The Manchester Evening News and The Sun have joined forces to promote a campaign for cheaper match tickets to watch our national game by putting together a petition.

However, some people have been warning that fans would be priced out of watching their respective teams for quite some time, I refer to the United fans who were totally against the Glazer family takeover of the Red Devils. The popular misconception is that these fans were just anti Glazer because of who he is and because of his loathsome reputation, the latter did not help him one bit, but the fans overriding concern has always been about the future of their club and keeping ticket prices affordable for all. So tick, tock the penny has dropped and now at least the media have got involved - how long they will keep up the pressure remains to be seen, the cynic in me tells me that this may well be just another sales led PR offensive in a bid to increase circulation figures. Time will tell on that score.

Apparently the FA and its CEO, Brian Barwick, have spoken on this issue and his comment that 'this is a matter for the clubs regarding ticket prices' is typical of the hapless organisation that it is. On top of that Barwick knows full well that the FA have been ripping-off fans for years at FA Cup finals and even semi-finals. Ticket prices for the new Wembley for big games will be sky high and out of the reach of many working class fans. Instead of taking a lead on ticket prices, the FA among the worst offenders when it comes to over-charging. They are a disgrace. Barwick isn't speaking out because he's too embarrassed to do so knowing he'd get torn to shreds for being a hypocrite.

Secondly, all these takeovers of Premiership clubs, these new owners are taking over these clubs so that they can milk the fans for all their worth. The Glazer family is the worst example of this - they see United as a cashcow and that is why they paid so heavily to gain control of the club, but it can surely only be a matter of time before United tickets are the same price as Chelsea's, reason being matchday income is by far United's biggest earner and so the only way Glazer will recoup some of his huge borrowings is by ripping-off the fans even further, all the while taking the game further away from its grass roots.

Instead of turning up and paying these inflated prices, more fans need to vote with their feet, we cannot complain if the fans just keep turning up, if we carry on doing that, then the likes of the Glazer family will believe everything in the garden is rosy. It will be exactly the same at Liverpool with Gillett and Hicks in charge and the same at Villa, these new owners weren't interested in football a few years ago, now they are here because they see there's money to be made by exploiting our supporters, anyone who believes otherwise needs to wake up and smell the coffee. It isn't just the clubs which have been taken over recently either, Fulham have announced that United fans will have to pay £45 for the Fulham v United game.

While I applaud any action to stop the gross exploitation of our national game, I seriously doubt these club owners will take any notice of a petition. Many of these people running clubs do not understand football or the fans, the only thing they understand is money. The game needs to be brought back to its grass roots by keeping it affordable for all, but I for one wont be holding my breath.

IF you would like to sign the petition you can do so here.

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