Football fans suffering as a result of ludicrous ticket prices

Charles Martland 4 February 2015

Liverpool’s fixture against Stoke City on November 29th of last year featured an atmosphere of an altogether different sort.  The Kop’s trademark sea of flags and scarves honouring heroes past and present found itself replaced by a solitary canvas emblazoned with the opening lyrics to one of the Anfield faithful’s popular folk anthems: “Let me tell you the story of a poor boy.”  Holding up four individual banners, supporters pointed out how prices for match tickets have skyrocketed from the early nineties to the present day, leaving an ominous question mark under the year 2020. 

It’s not just Liverpool fans saying enough is enough, however.  Among other initiatives, this August’s “Affordable Football for All” protest, organised by the Football Supporters’ Federation, saw fans from clubs as varied as Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Leyton Orient march on the Football League’s London headquarters to demand change in the face of the ever-increasing cost of entering the ground on a match day.

And why shouldn’t they?  The BBC’s 2014 ‘Price of Football’ survey found that ticket prices have increased at more than three times the rate of inflation since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.  Liverpool supporters’ union, Spirit of Shankly report that the average ticket on the Kop has increased by a factor of 1108% since 1992, when the High Pay Centre report that average wages have increased only 186% in the same time.  When Premier League clubs have already had their yearly television revenue bumped up by £2 billion to a total of £5.5 billion, forking out inordinate amounts of money to watch your team play has surely become hard to stomach for the average fan.  

What we see is football steadily being removed from the reach of many of the working class fans who see their club as a cornerstone of their cultural identity.  When supporters unite against soaring prices, we owe them our full support.  For, as Scots legend Jock Stein said, football without fans is nothing.