Football in England is no longer a game for the working classes and clubs are not helping by over-pricing tickets and alienating many supporters who can simply no longer afford the inflated costs.
On the one hand football likes to think it is encouraging a diverse audience with men, women and children all attending games but in reality those that attend are only a minority compared to the many more who cannot attend due to the expense which is involved.
For a family of four to attend a game the prices are astronomical, not only for tickets but also when you take into account buying food and drinks, programmes and parking. Even for a single person prices can mount up during the day and become unsustainable over a period of time.
Football needs to encourage all supporters to attend games by lowering ticket prices and season ticket prices in general. Not by just having occasional offers. That way football grounds will have increased attendances, supporters will feel part of their club and this could possibly help the performance of the team on the pitch as they may react better to better support from the stands.
The problem for clubs is that they do not necessarily receive their main income from gate receipts. The huge finances on offer from sponsors and television rights tends to be the main focus for the modern day football club.
The big boys in the PremIer League should lower prices so that their clubs can be more accessible to the average working man and the lower division clubs should reduce prices so that they can attract local supporters who may be more inclined to support a Premier League side as armchair fans who have never actually seen their team live.
Clubs have taken advantage of the passion of the supporters of their teams. Some fans are still happy to pay whatever price they are charged just because of their love for the club. All clubs have a core of supporters who follow them home and away through thick and thin. This loyalty may well be tested if prices continue to rise. All supporters will have a breaking point.
The Football Association, Premier League and clubs themselves need to act. They need to look to the German model where ticket prices and season tickets are a fraction of the cost of their English counterparts. They have stable clubs who have larger attendances and are now reaping those rewards with their recent successes. They also treat their supporters with respect and realise that they are the future of their clubs.
Football is our number one sport and we must continually promote it particularly in a world where there are many more distractions for supporters. Slashing ticket prices will be a good start but their is a lot to do and resisting the greed that money brings with it is a necessity.
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