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Fans will “not be divided and conquered” on ticket price issue

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

Fans across the country will make their anger at high ticket prices known during a weekend of planned protests in early October. Manchester City’s 1894 Group tell us why they are backing the protest…

We set up 1894 Group a couple of years ago to try and combat the deteriorating atmosphere at City home games.

Ticket prices have risen steadily since the takeover and whilst there is no problem support wise for the club the make-up of the crowd at City has changed in recent years. More tourists. More new fans and some of those traditional City fans being priced out of attending matches has meant that many of the good songs have died out or are just not sung as frequently enough.

By general consensus the best atmosphere at the new stadium was the UEFA Cup game against Hamburg in 2009. Tickets were a fiver each and all the old skool blues turned out and made it an incredible atmosphere.

We see a direct correlation between ticket prices and the atmosphere.

We have also seen away followings diminish in recent seasons. Clubs that would normally bring 3,000 fans now routinely bring less than half of that number. So we absolutely support the Twenty’s Plenty campaign as cheaper tickets for away fans makes it easier to campaign for cheaper tickets for home fans and ticket prices, just like safestanding is an issue where fans of all clubs can stand side by side and put their differences behind them im the same way we saw fans unite against ID cards and perimeter fences a generation ago.

Given the amount of money in the game there is no excuse for clubs anywhere to maintain high ticket prices.

If prices come down in the Premier League it also means clubs lower down would be under pressure to reduce their prices.

We see the Away Fans Matter, Twenty’s Plenty and #ShareTVWealth campaigns all being intertwined.

We will be campaigning for cheaper ticket prices at our home game versus Newcastle on the weekend of 3rd October. It will be a powerful statement if fan groups at all premiership clubs and beyond take banners into the stadiums and keep the momentum going. Newcastle fans are with us on this one.

If clubs refuse entry to people with banners that also plays into our hands. It would only demonstrate how out of touch those clubs are.

We have a line of communication with the club and they like to know what we are planning to do and the wording on any banners. Occasionally, very occasionally as with the ‘legalise safestanding’ display we organised against Hull City in February we just smuggled the banners into the ground and unveiled them as a surprise. As long as we keep the message ‘sensible’ generally our banners are accepted by the club.

With this weekend of action we would say the momentum surrounding the campaign will be strong and we feel clubs would be best advised to work with their own sets of fans on this one. Supporters do want to make a point and it is in everyone’s interests in all divisions, that stadiums are full. After all, what will happen to the price of the next tv deal if stadiums aren’t full and the atmosphere is dead. Greed in the game will kill the game if we don’t unite and take a stand.

Please contact the FSF and let’s send a clear message to the media and to people at all levels of authority who run our game that supporters nationwide will not be divided and conquered on this particular issue.

When ticket prices come down at Coventry or at Swansea or anywhere. Let’s all celebrate that progress and ensure fans nationwide can afford to keep going to football.

We were there for football when football needed us. Surely it’s time for football to give some loyalty back to supporters.

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 article.

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