It’s bad enough that
very few clubs have any chance of genuinely competing with the “open says me”
Chelsea cheque book of Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, which rather
ruins the notion of expectant EPL fans’ championship title optimism, but the
league’s creed is now showing up in falling attendances.

In a lesson well worth
noting for our own fledgling A League, the Premier League is now discovering that ticket pricing for your product needs to
be far more elastic in terms of allowing for box office variables instead of
one price fits all at the general admission level.

With attendances now
showing at least a 4% decline and some startling figures revealing that
some clubs are finding it tough to fill the terraces of supposedly the
most
successful soccer league in the universe, the AFL could show the EPL a
thing or
two about getting them through the gate without turning a family outing
to the
football into a costly weekend vacation. It’s now a fact of life that
many people in England can no longer afford to go to see their club for
even a few games, and a season ticket is totally out of reach.

Aston Villa last
weekend, in its televised clash with Tottenham, pulled only 8,887 through the
gate which would be some kind of diabolical record in the AFL these days,
irrespective of any match day broadcast.

According to The
Observer
, the cost of just one adult and one child to get a seat to a
Chelsea game is 90 pounds, compared to Villa charging
20 pounds. But a survey of all major
European leagues shows the EPL way out on its own when it comes to being
easily the most expensive league to watch.
Of course, the correlation between clubs paying players ridiculous
salaries and then trying to balance the books by fleecing the fans is all
part of the greed equation that’s now out of control.

The Observer reported
that when only 14,191 fans paid their hard-earned to watch Middlesbrough’s UEFA Cup game against Skoa Xanti, manager
Steve McClaren was so incensed by the poor turn out he accused the fans of
letting down their club chairman Steve Gibson.
Do you think there’s something not quite right in all this?

There’s something
truly rotten about the obscene incomes and profligate spending of the big clubs
that drives the top of the Premier League.
The fact that clubs are only now realising that fans are in revolt and that they
need to start getting more creative in terms of reducing the pricing of
general admission tickets for less attractive fixtures, is hardly going to
solve the problem when the base is already so massively inflated. The league has lost the plot when it comes to
containing costs and its impact all the way down the line on the majority of
its fans.

And with Chelsea
already making everyone else look like they’re merely
fighting to finish second, surely the league is missing the whole point of
what fans are looking for in their football.

Peter Fray

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