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Albion fans pay “staggering difference” in price at Etihad

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

West Browich Albion fan Ade Brandwood won’t be going to the Etihad Stadium this year, despite living in Manchester, and it’s all down to the “staggering difference” in price charged to away supporters. Ade explains why he’s had enough below…

Although I live in Manchester with my two children we have season tickets at West Brom and we also travel from Manchester to over half our away matches each season. We look forward to the games in Manchester (City and United) because of the short journey for us and keeping costs down.

A few weeks ago the prices for our away fixture at Manchester City on Easter Monday were announced.  The prices set for WBA fans are £56 adults, £47 over 65’s and £34 under 16’s. This for a game that is being shown live on television. In contrast to the charge for WBA fans, prices for home fans in the north stand are £47 adults, £17 under 16’s and for those aged 16 to 21 there are discounts not available to away fans.

For me and my two children to watch in the away end it will cost me £124. If I go in the home end it will cost me £81, a difference of £43. Still not cheap for a match that is on television but it is a staggering difference.

The most I have paid for the three of us so far this season is £94 at Chelsea. Everyone regards Stamford Bridge as an expensive place to watch football but this match is £30 more expensive than that. Chelsea is expensive but at least I don’t feel I am being treated unfairly there. Away fans even get the home member discount (take note Manchester United) and we pay no more than any Chelsea fan who attended on a single ticket basis paid.

I asked Manchester City last season why the prices were higher for away fans than they are for home fans. They said the difference in price was due to there being higher demand in the South Stand due to the atmosphere in that area, although the view and facilities are identical.

This season they have defended the prices charged because, “It is normal policy if the match falls at a time when the club is involved in a title challenge”. The reason doesn’t answer why children in the away section pay twice the price children in the home section pay.

The media try and make out fans of the clubs who make up the numbers in the Premier League love our days out at the top teams. The truth is they are just another game to us. The most important away games for you as a fan are those at places like Crystal Palace and Sunderland. Those results there have a big bearing on your Premier League status next year, your results at the Ethiad or Old Trafford don’t usually keep you up.

Fans of Premier League clubs are used to high ticket prices but they are not immune to them. In 2011 we were charged £26 at the Ethiad and took 2,093 fans. Last year we were charged £40 and 528 travelled. It will certainly be less than that this year.

City ask fans to “Be part of it” but I don’t want to be part of this. Last January Manchester City fans themselves asked “Where will it stop?” when they were charged £62 at Arsenal. For me it ends here.

I took the kids to Germany for some matches. Monchengladbach v Stuttgart on Saturday and Leverkusen v Berlin on Sunday. Total cost for me and two kids was £75 for two matches including postage to UK for the tickets. Less than me taking just one of the kids to Man City!

I will not pay £56 to watch a bog standard league game and I certainly won’t pay £34 for the kids to watch it when their classmates can watch it for £17! As our ex-manager Keith Burkinshaw once said, “There used to be a football club over there”.

The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to the FSF.

Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this piece.

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