There were a time when, in football’s glorious sepia-hued yesteryear, a cloth-capped father could take his apple-cheeked lad to the football on a Sat’dy afters, stop for a pack of 10 Benson’s from the kiosk in t’market square on the way to the ground, ay’ a meat pie and a foamy nut-brown stout at half-time, get a pewter tankard engraved on their way back through town after the game and still have enough change from a shilling to get the tram back home again.
Sadly, those days are now long gone. In fact, you’re lucky if they’ll let you take a half-time leak for under a pound these days – such are the significantly increased fiscal demands of the modern game.
However, it’s refreshing to see that Arsenal are doing all they can to help out their fanbase during this financially stringent epoch in which we are all currently mired, by announcing that – as of 2011 – the club will be introducing their first £100 ‘non-corporate’ matchday ticket.
Recession? What recession?
The price hike is anticipated to come into place at some point during January, as the VAT on tickets is set to rise by 2.5% to 20%, taking the cost of the most expensive ‘standard’ (i.e. no half-time hospitality) matchday ticket at the Emirates Stadium (including the £2.30 booking fee and £2.20 p&p) from an already staggering £98.50 up to an eye-watering £100.60.
‘Milestone’ or ‘millstone’?
Arsenal (who are already the most expensive team to watch in the country on a game-by-game basis) haven’t made any specific comment on breaching the £100 barrier, but the club’s official website is warning that “with the VAT increase due in January 2011, our matchday ticket prices will be subject to change.”
The increase will mean that, by booking a £100.60 ticket at Arsenal, supporters will have paid more than 11 times more than it currently costs the majority of Borussia Dortmund fans to watch their team – with the table-topping Bundesliga club offering matchday tickets for as little as £9.00 on the nose.
Chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, Malcolm Clarke, responded to the re-pricing, lambasting a £100 ticket as being utterly ‘ridiculous’:
“A £100 ticket in the present climate is ridiculous. It is proof that football is not living in the same world as the rest of us.
The game has more money going into it than ever before and it is not helping fans. Football is no longer a game that is readily accessible to all sections of the community.”
How monumentally and depressingly true. Personally speaking, I can’t even afford to go and watch my team (a middling Championship side) play on a regular basis, as the £30+ matchday ticket prices are just too expensive for me to justify the ridiculously inflated outlay.
Lord alone knows how financially draining it must be to follow a Premier League side week-in-week-out in these heady days of unbridled marketeering and commercial viability.
I weep for you, your children and your wallets.