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Midweek Memoirs #3

Midweek Memoirs #3
Two wins out of two in the league, a perfect start and two of the promotion favourites beaten in totally different games. If nothing else, it has given the rest of the league something to sit up and take notice of. On a less positive note, I`d like to welcome Graham Poll back to refereeing and congratulate him on his immediate 3-card trick success in the Liverpool game!

I am going to continue my 'killing the game` theme of last week. Again I`m going to be having a good old moan about money. This having learnt that the cheapest ticket an under 16 friend could get for England Vs. Germany was 30. I`m sure some of you would kill to only pay 30 to see England play, but when you consider that this person is only fifteen and therefore has no income, it becomes a bit farcical when you are paying over-the-top prices for programmes, food, drink and have to add travel to the combined cost.

This is of course not an isolated case. Up and down the country the cost of going to watch football is rising. I am, obviously, not the first person to bring this subject up-and by no means the last, but people need to keep kicking up a stink, else nothing will be done. Manchester United are a prime example. Their season ticket and individual prices are appalling. Of course, I hasten to add; one expects to have to pay more to see quality, but how much more? In 2006, an adult`s ticket at Old Trafford could have cost up to 34. To me, that`s pretty extortionate, but down in South London and the tickets at Chelsea in 2006 for an adult would have cost up to 48. Tell me that isn`t extortionate-you can`t. What I, and the majority of the footballing nation must wonder however, is, why do Chelsea charge such huge prices to their 'fans`? With Abramovich at the helm the one thing Chelsea aren`t short of is money.

Sadly, clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea are global brands, United are and always will be a bigger name than Chelsea but both pull huge support from abroad and countries where the football isn`t competitive enough to enjoy, or just simply because people want to see 'Manchester United`. The way in which these two clubs utilise this is disgraceful. While they sell their over-priced tickets to foreigners who have only come to see Wayne Rooney, born and bred Mancs are filling pubs to watch the game, rather than being there, supporting their team.

As the lesser-mentioned members of the top four, Liverpool and Arsenal don`t escape a bashing either. Arsenal charged a disgraceful maximum of 54 to get visit in 2006 whilst by contrast Liverpool charged 32.

When you compare this to Watford, who have always been very family orientated, it further puts the 'big boys` to shame. In the 2005/2006 season, the maximum price for Adults was 25. Anyone who bought tickets in that season would have seen exciting football in a promotion season. Why would anyone want to pay extortionate prices such as those being charged in the Premiership when they could drop a division to see competitive, exciting, honest, home-grown football at it`s best? The answer is unfathomable.

There is no use in waffling on about it all. Something needs to be done. I firmly believe that the F.A needs to get involved here and set a cap on ticket prices. Of course it would not be an overall cap as Chelsea can`t charge the same as Mansfield, but each time would be set into a certain tier. The tier would denote the maximum price tickets could be for adults and for children.

For example:

Tier One (Children Max: 25, Adults Max: 30)
Manchester United,
Liverpool and

Tier Two: (Children Max: 20, Adults Max: 27)
Aston Villa,
West Ham,
Everton and
Manchester City

This would work so on throughout the four leagues. For teams like Nottingham Forest, Millwall and Leeds, all of whom somehow reside in League One, the tier system would see them placed alongside smaller/weaker teams of the Championship. The top end of the Championship could include the bottom end of the Premiership too.

Of course, this isn`t the foolproof answer to all the problems surrounding ticket pricing but it`s an idea, a positive start and a way to progress forward. I shall be sending this to the F.A and maybe the Premier League and in my next 'Midweek Memoirs` I shall be including and replies I may get.

Keep the faith,

Tom Bodell

Date:Wednesday August 22 2007
Time: 10:22AM

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