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Matt Boosey takes a look at the grim reality of football ticket prices

.. and analyses what specific costs are involved for his two respective clubs.

Liverpool fans banner 'Working Class Game, Business Class Prices'

Saturday for a football fan is historically the best day of the week. For anyone with an affinity to a club, you wake up excited, and look forward to seeing your team in action.

3pm cannot come quick enough. But things have changed. Firstly, the age old Saturday afternoon kick off is not as sacred as before.

Instead, due to television rights and European fixtures, league games are now played on Saturday lunch times and evenings, the same on Sunday, and there’s normally a Monday night match. So football, in some form, is available six or seven days a week.

Domestic league games at the weekend plus the occasional Monday. Then there’s domestic or European cup fixtures Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and even the odd game on Friday.

What could possibly be the problem for any football fan?

Nothing, if you are happy to pay your television subscription and watch them all in the comfortable surroundings of your living room. Happy days.

But what if you actually want to attend the games?

That is a different story.

A recent BBC Sport Price of Football Study shows that ticket prices across all four divisions of the English game have dropped 2.4% for the 2013-14 campaign.

Is this enough?

In the current economic climate I would say no.

The survey states that the ‘Cheapest Day Out’ in the English Premier League is at Newcastle United.

The following are taken into account:
· Cheapest Matchday Ticket
· Programme
· Half-Time Pie
· Cup Of Tea

At St James’ Park this equates to £23.20, but there is no mention of any travel expenses getting to and from the game, so is it a true assessment? No.

To do this you can use the BBC website’s match day calculator for a more true reflection of how much you will end up paying to support your club.

For this you must input the following:
· Ticket Type
· Cost Of Ticket
· Cost Of Travel Per Home Game
· Cost Of Food/Drink Per Home Game
· Number Of Programmes Purchased

Therefore to attend a fixture at the club I follow, Tottenham Hotspur, based on the cheapest match day ticket of £32, the total for watching a home game would cost me around £65.

With an average salary in the United Kingdom being £26,500, which works out at around £1,600 per month after tax, attending ten home games per season at White Hart Lane would cost at least £650.

That equates to just over 40% of an average working person’s monthly income.

Spurs fans have to dig deep week in, week out to see their team

Spurs fans have to dig deep week in, week out to see their team

Even at my local side, Gillingham, who are playing in League One, one game would cost around £45.

Based on the same idea, going to see them play ten times a season would total £450, still nearly 30% of the average monthly wage, and that’s to see third tier football.

Not to mention the fact that football is historically a working class game, so a lot of the fans (me included) are probably in a bracket that falls under the average salary, making the percentage even higher for the vast majority.

Obviously clubs will say that it works out cheaper for fans if they purchase season tickets, but sadly it isn’t as simple as that.

Firstly, not everyone can afford to shell out on one lump sum in one go to purchase their season ticket, and secondly, even those that can may be stuck on a waiting list for years waiting for one to become available.

In the meantime the choice left for them is just sit tight, or pay the inflated prices for a single match day ticket.

Yet despite all this average attendances in England’s top division were up for the 2012-13 season to 35,975 compared to 34,646 during 2011-12.

The Premier League’s chief executive Richard Scudamore was quoted as saying the figures are up because all clubs are “working so hard to ensure that Premier League football remains as accessible and affordable to as many people as possible

On the surface this is great, but he then goes on to say “clubs are looking at a range of innovative and inclusive offers to encourage high-attendance, particularly for younger fans and away supporters.”

A series of protests have amounted to no action from the FA yet

A series of protests have amounted to no action from the FA yet

From this, the question I would ask would be why are clubs not encouraging fans of ALL AGES to attend more games by offering them discounts, not just youngsters?

More importantly, shouldn’t the emphasis be on each club trying to aid their own fans rather than visiting supporters?

That way if the home contingent feels they are being properly looked after by their club they will be more inclined to return on a regular basis.

In my opinion, the reality is that clubs will say they are doing their bit based on this recent survey, and us the supporters love the game too much to actually make a stand against what we may be believe to be excessive ticket pricing.

Therefore, until another similar exercise is carried out in the future, it is likely that we will carry on shelling out, regardless of whether we believe it is right or wrong, and then we will have the same discussion we are having now.

It’s a tiring and vicious cycle.

Until then, roll on Saturday.

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by Matt Boosey for Outside 90
Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

Note: The views expressed within this blog post are those of the contributing author, and may not necessarily reflect those of MatchDayApp Limited, its representatives or associated partners.

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