Football fans up and down the country are protesting today at the staggering cost of a Premier League match ticket.
It comes as, amazingly, research reveals the average price of a seat for a top flight fixture is £53.76 – or as I like to think of it, more than 50p per minute!
When you put it in to that kind of context, it really is a significant amount of money to part with, especially for something that is – in simple terms – just watching a bunch of men kicking a bag of wind.
To be honest, I did not expect it to be so much either. Around the £40-£45 region yes, but above £50? Wow. How do people afford that, no, justify that every weekend?
Well I guess, some fans have, quite rightly, had enough. Is it any surprise? After all, in my opinion they are being exploited.
Clubs earn plenty of money. And when I say plenty, I mean tens of millions of pounds a year just in television revenue – let alone merchandise, hospitality and any other income.
Do they really need to charge so much to get people through the turnstiles?
It is the supporters that are the lifeblood of the game. They keep it going. At such high prices, they could quite easily turn their back on the game.
And then what would happen? As legendary Celtic manager Jock Stein once said; “Football without fans is nothing.”
That particular argument is nothing new – and in fact I think I have mentioned it in this column before.
What adds a different twist is the figure quoted above about the average cost of a Premier League ticket.
Research by GoEuro and One Football found the English top flight to be the most expensive in the world. Well, that is no surprise – perhaps it is the result of decades of claiming it to be “the best in the world”.
You cannot, after all, have your cake and eat it.
There are three other so called “big” divisions – so let’s compare the Premier League to them.
In Spain, it is on average £50.83 to watch a match, whilst for Italian football fans, Serie A is a touch cheaper at £50.10. Again, these are expensive prices! Watching football is an expensive hobby.
That is until you get to The Bundesliga, so often the benchmark for any argument on ticket prices. In Germany a ticket costs on average £23.02 – less than the likes of Russia, Holland, Switzerland and America.
So I do not think any reasonably thinking football fan argues with the fact that something needs to be done. Otherwise your generic football fan is priced out.
It is therefore noble of the Football Supporter’s Federation to call on a “Twenty’s Plenty” campaign, around which this weekend’s protest is based.
But in this world of greed where some clubs fleece fans for all they have got, I am afraid it will be fruitless. Only those at the bottom will listen – and they are not the target audience.
The only answer is for supporter’s to give Premier League sides the elbow and hit them where it hurts.