Before I start, let me just say Arsenal are a disgrace. £64 as the cheapest ticket games against big teams such as Liverpool, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich. And at the top end it is over £100. The fact that we charge crazy amounts of money for Category A games is disgusting. Football ticket prices in general is disgusting. No club’s fans can try to pretend to have the high ground when it comes to ticket prices. “But you charge X” as a justification to why your own clubs tickets are so high is no justification.
With that out the way, a little rant about West Ham United.
Yesterday, prices for West Ham v Chelsea were announced. Chelsea fans will be getting charged £60. This is shocking.
Last year it was bad enough, West Ham charged teams that categorised as ‘A’ £55. This year they have raised this by 10%. What justification? GREED.
Away fans of the big clubs – Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool – have been punished for years for being successful, for having a big away following. Fans of these clubs are charged a premium as other clubs attempt to cash in on their away following, knowing that they will sell out whether you charge them £30 or £60.
I have gone more in depth to this last year in a blog about away ticket prices, where a fan following Arsenal up and down the country would be charged 36% more than a fan of Leicester. We get screwed.
West Ham charging Chelsea £60 is an indication of what Arsenal fans will have to pay for the same fixture. It is shocking.
What is most shocking is the situation West Ham are currently in. This will be the last season at the Boleyn Ground. They are clearly trying to cash in!
From next season, they will be playing at the Olympic Stadium, paying a paltry £2m to £2.5m a year in rent. This for a stadium that not only cost £537 million to build, but an additional £272 million to make it fit for purpose. West Ham have contributed around £15 million to this.
So not only are we, the London tax payer (as it is us who paid for the Olympics through an additional tax) already paying for the worlds most expensive council house, we are now being ripped off for football tickets.
On top of this, Gold & Sullivan, West Ham’s owners, have being on a positive PR mission since winning the bid for the stadium.
They have been promoting themselves as London’s family club. That they will not use the new stadium to increase revenue, but to offer more, cheaper tickets, making football more accessible for those poverty stricken East Londoneers living in their slums. Brilliant news. On paper.
So this nice little family club, who have won the lottery getting a near billion pound stadium for next to nothing, have increased their prices the year before, ensuring that they bleed fans for every penny before their move.
I would not be too surprised if next season, in their shiny new stadium, they have a big announcement that they are to reduce ticket prices by 10%. This will be greated by a massive fan fare in the West Ham loving Fleet Street Press, who will show West Ham as a brilliant example of a club reducing prices, giving a fairer deal to fans. But ultimately, what they will be making, is the season before they added 10%.
It is like a retailer doubling the price of a TV, to then only offer it at 50% off at a later date. It is a false sale. Highly illegal.
Whilst I am thinking of the Olympic Stadium. It is going to be the worst away game of next season. Pay a premium, to watch a game in a soulless stadium, a million miles from the pitch, with no boozer near the stadium for a pint. Although I am sure the Scouser’s are looking forward to checking out what Westfield’s has to offer…
£60 to go to West Ham, surrounded by Neanderthal knuckle draggers who are still bitter about the docks closing whilst voting UKIP. Of course, I will pay, that was what I do. I moan. I pay. I turn up. I support my team. And then I moan again. I am a mug.
So West Ham, thanks for being a family club. Thanks for charging us common football fans through the nose to watch a simple game.
It is about time the Premier League banned the price fixing of football, stopped clubs have Cat A – E (in some cases) and supported a fairer deal for fans. We are not too far away from a £100 away ticket.
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