A weekend of protests against the rising cost of watching football up and down the country has been announced for Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October.
Supporters from every club in the Premier League and a growing number of Football League clubs are due to take part in the action aimed at raising awareness and ultimately reducing ticket prices. Fans will unfurl banners and make visual protests to their clubs and the footballing authorities to vent their anger at the amount of money they are having to pay to see their team play week-in week-out.
The current situation for fans is spiralling beyond belief, with ticket prices having skyrocketed 716% since 1989. It's now become the norm to expect to pay upwards of £50 to watch the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and so on, even though these clubs have just signed a record TV deal and have multi-million pound merchandising deals.
Indeed, the new Premier League TV deal alone equates to more than £40 for every fan attending every top-flight match - highlighting the fact that clubs, certainly those in the Premier League at least, have more than enough money to reduce their prices and do more to support football at grassroots levels.
But it's not just the Premier League that's ripping off supporters, as prices in the Championship are just as bad. Bristol City fan groups boycotted their first game back in the league as hosts Sheffield Wednesday were demanding £39 a ticket. Burnley fans' reward for being relegated was having to pay £37 for the right to see their team play at Elland Road - which hasn't seen top-flight football in 11 years - while Derby County fans heading to Bolton Wanderers had to part with £33 to see their team begin their title challenge.
Home fans are also getting a raw deal in the Championship, with Queens Park Rangers supporters having to shell out up to £37 every week, Burnley fans up to £38, Ipswich Town fans up to £45.50 and Hull City supporters spending up to £36 on regular tickets.
Clearly, as always, the only people to be losing out are the fans. This is why the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) is urging fans of all clubs to get involved in the 3rd/4th October protests and call for something to change. It runs a 'Twenty's Plenty' campaign that has successfully seen several clubs cap away tickets at £20, is calling for clubs to end the current method of categorising matches which punishes fans of certain clubs, and wants to make football affordable for younger supporters.
Kevin Miles, Chief Executive of the FSF, said: “Over the past 25 years money has flowed into football enriching players, owners, executives and agents – we think it’s about time fans saw some of the benefits too.
“Nine out of ten fans feel that football is too expensive but fans’ loyalty and commitment to their clubs is being exploited. The impact of rising prices has been particularly felt by away fans at Premier League level, who also have to contend with high travel costs and kick-off times changed for TV.
“It’s not just the Premier League where we see high prices though - every week we hear from fans unhappy at ticket costs lower down the pyramid. The FSF believes that prices have to come down and on the first weekend in October, fans from across the country will deliver that message."
The FSF is calling for fans of all clubs to get involved in the weekend of action on 3rd/4th October and to take part in the ongoing battle to reduce ticket prices generally. For more information and advice on how you can get involved, or to be introduced to your club's fans groups, email firstname.lastname@example.org.