It’s back – sadly. The proposed idea to play a set of Premier League fixtures abroad, currently set to be the United States, is back in the headlines. It’s clear what’s enforcing this idea; money. The fans? Not cared about in the slightest.
Roy Keane’s second autobiography has recently hit the shelves, making headlines all over the back-pages over the last few days, and almost overshadowing the other big bit of news to break this week – Premier League bosses are slowly trying to instate an extra game into the league season. Richard Scudamore has once again proposed the idea of a 39th game, which would be played abroad, with USA being the most likely host at the moment. In spite of the Premier League bringing in billions of pounds worth of revenue each season, it is yet another selfish idea thought up merely to put a few extra bucks in their back-pockets. The fans back in the UK will be the only losers.
Season ticket holders and locals, who spend ever-increasing amounts of money to watch their team play, are being moved down the FA’s list of priorities, and it’s slowly killing what football was – local fans watching their side without a financial care in the world. Today, it’s a case of fans worrying and weighing up their hard-earned cash to figure out how much they can afford to spend on a ticket, food, drinks and match programme. Despite a slow decrease in the average ticket price, a lot of fans are still put off by the steep prices and if it wasn’t for the vast popularity of the sport, clubs would no doubt be hit hard in the pocket.
Take, for example, a season ticket at Arsenal – the most expensive is £1955, which includes 19 home games and seven cup matches, while the cheapest is at Manchester City, costing £299. It seems quite staggering that a team that has only won two honours in the last ten years are charging their fans so much just to spur on their side, while a team who, let’s face it, have bought their way to success, charge almost 70% less.
To put things in to perspective, the average ticket at Stoke would set you back £50, which is right in the middle in terms of Premier League ticket prices. The average income is £474, as of May. A pie, programme and a pint at the Britannia (as of 2013) cost £2.70, £3.50 and £3.70 respectively, which adds the cost of the day up to £59.90, assuming there aren’t any travel expenses. Conclusively, that’s 8% of the average weekly wage being spent right there. Maybe that isn’t so much, but let’s take a look at an away game. Stoke’s next outing is at Southampton on the 25th October. For those travelling by train, a ticket to Southampton usually costs a staggering £92 alone, although booking early and in advance, or using a railcard, would reduce that price. An away ticket at Southampton is £32, while a pie, pint and programme comes to £9.80 in total. To sum it up, the cost of Stoke’s away match at the Saints will be, on average, a staggering £133.80.
The point I am trying to make is that it’s already ridiculously expensive to watch your beloved team week-in-week-out, whether a home game or away. The introduction of fixtures being played abroad would see fans getting even less for their money, demonstrating how little Fifa, UEFA and the FA care about fans.
It’s like going to the supermarket and handing over your money, only to be told by the cashier that a percentage of the food you brought will be given to a well-off family across the street.
Football fans in the UK need to stand up to these plans, which fail to consider their thoughts and feelings strongly enough.
Do you disagree? Should an extra Premier League game be staged abroad? Leave a comment below.