German football fans stick up for themselves right.
I have recently spoken about how the globalisation of football has killed it for local fans.
As the Premier League and clubs within it began to chase ever increasing revenues, they neglected the local fans whilst building their global brands.
Ticket prices increased dramatically after the creation of the Premier League as clubs attracted more and more day trippers. People that would happily pay £100 to go to a single game, spend another £100 in the club shop, then go and visit Big Ben.
They got in bed with travel companies who sold “flight, hotel and ticket” packages to Americans, Chinese and anyone else that was happy paying above face value. Rumours circulated a couple of seasons ago that Arsenal had sold 150 tickets for Manchester United away to a travel company who then sold them to Chinese tourists – allowing them to jump ahead in the queue above fans who had spent years building up their credits.
You then have kick off times.
Games are now spread over a weekend so that TV companies can put on as many games as possible. They start on a Friday night, finish on a Monday night. The TV companies show little regard for whether match going fans can or can not get home. They are only concerned about maximising viewership for TV audiences in the UK and abroad.
The FA Cup was wrecked this weekend as the 8 games took place at 8 different times – with just one at 3pm Saturday.
We had Derby travelling to Brighton for a 12:30 kick off on Saturday, then Manchester United travelling to Chelsea for an evening kick off last night.
People talk about the magic of the FA Cup dying, but the FA are selling out to TV companies for money.
In April Newcastle travel down to London to face Arsenal on a Monday night. It will be their 3rd Monday night away game of the season.
The fact that the Premier League do not instruct TV companies to take match going fans travel into consideration when scheduling games shows that the TV money is more important to them then the fans that go. Remember, football is not a TV show, and without fans, football is nothing.
I do have to agree with Tim Stillman over at Arseblog when he says that whilst the globalisation of football has had negative implications, many local fans are complicate.
The foreign TV deal is huge – £3.2bn between 2016-2019, but the British TV out strips that over the same period – £5.14bn.
Local fans will happily moan online about fixtures being moved, but they will happily pay £80 for their Sky Sports subscription and watch Monday night football.
If it was them travelling away to Newcastle on a Monday night, they would be getting angry on Twitter. But when it is Newcastle travelling to Manchester United, they will sit in front of their TV with a curry and a few beers.
Whilst a lot of fans will complain about rising ticket prices, many others will pick and choose their game.
At Arsenal, Cat A fixtures sell out quicker than Cat C, despite them being 3 times. You have fans who will buy tickets for the big games (and moan about the price) but then not go to the smaller games. They pick and choose. And the higher demand will just encourage clubs to keep putting ticket prices up.
The problem is the majority of fans are happy to sit on their hands and not care.
Over in Germany, fans have constantly protested about Monday night games.
A four-year deal TV worth £4.07billion, which started in 2017-18 and included five Monday night matches a season.
Last night we saw Borussia Dortmund fans throwing tennis balls onto the pitch in one of many protests by fans across the country against the Monday night games.
These protests the German Football League to renegotiate the TV deal – with it now ending in 2020 – removing the Monday night games. Supporters’ groups have hailed it as a victory for fan power.
In England we have had some minor success.
The likes of Arsenal’s Blackscarf Movement joined supporters groups from other clubs in protests which led to a £30 cap on away tickets.
Fans across the country need to keep doing more, however. They need to remind clubs that it is the match going fans that are most important. That their clubs should be sticking up for them against the Premier League, against the TV companies.
Unfortunately until we see mass action from all clubs like we have seen in Germany, the Premier League and its member clubs will continue chasing revenue from around the globe regardless of the negative implications on match going fans.
How long until a European Super League is formed, with games held around the globe? That will truly be the death of clubs being the centre of their community, truly be the death of the game for local fans.
In other news this morning, Saido Berahino.
Has their been a bigger waste of talent then the Englishman – maybe Jermaine Pennant.
In an era where we are seeing young English players pushing themselves, moving abroad, taking moves abroad to play football, Berahino is a throw back to the Baby Bentley years of young players with poor attitudes getting too much money too young.
Last night Berahino was arrested at 3am in Central London.
“When officers arrived on scene a car was seen to drive away at speed,” a Metropolitan Police statement said.
“The car was stopped in Bedford Square and a 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.”
Scotland Yard said Berahino told officers he had been the victim of a robbery in Great Russell Street.
“He alleged a group of males surrounded his car in Great Russell Street and attacked him, stealing his watch,” the force said.
In 2015 Tottenham had a £15million bid for Berahino rejected by WBA, who valued him at £25million. Spurs wanted him as competition for Harry Kane – who had just one season as Tottenham’s first choice striker under his belt.
At that point, both players were at a similar level. Both 22-years-old with one proper season in the Premier League under their belt. Berahino the more naturally gifted of the two.
Since then, Kane has gone from strength to strength becoming one of the best strikers in world football -scoring 124 goals from 2015 to now. Berhaino’s career has been a car crash with a move to Stoke and various arrests for drink driving. He has scored just 12 goals in 4-years.
Saido Berahino highlights a lot of what is wrong with the modern game. He has become a millionaire by not doing very much, and still has 3 years on a £70,000-a-yar deal. By the time his contract expires, he would have earned over £18million from a club who are struggling financially.
The sad thing is if Stoke City cancelled Berahino’s contract tomorrow, there will be queue of clubs happy to pick up his wages. He will end up retiring at 30-years-old having earned millions from football, whilst not really achieving anything or caring for any of the clubs or fans he is supposed to represent.
A bit like how nothing will change in football if fans do not get together, clubs should do the same. Blacklist people like Berahino. Do not give him another chance. Tell him his kind is no longer wanted in the game.
Anyway, that is today’s musings.