Mails: ‘My kid’s four and priced out the game’

Date published: Tuesday 9th February 2016 10:48

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Football vs cinema
In response to John Nicholson’s article about ticket prices, and the fact they should be £5-£15, I couldn’t agree more.

If you consider cinema prices. You can go to the cinema and be entertained for 2 hours or more for about £10-12 per movie. Longer entertainment, for a quarter of the price, or less. Football is a sport, but clearly positions itself with corporate entertainment etc, as entertainment, yet for some reason seems to think it can charge four times more than other things within its field.

You can see top stars in the movie of your choice, read a review in advance and see if you fancy going, and be relatively assured you’re in for a decent time, for £12. Football can be 0-0, with a bad view, you pay for parking, and get treated with contempt more often than not by the club, if you complain about it.

Clearly we all love it, but that’s taken for granted by clubs, who harp on about waiting lists for season tickets as though it gives them some sort of divine right to charge what they want. Funny then how Man United, Man City, and I dare say others have recently taken to advertising ticket sales on the radio or in local papers for various matches.

What John’s not mentioning though is that apart from £77 a ticket or whatever it is, most people are also throwing in another £30 a month or whatever for sky sports. Then the big clubs MAKE you buy tickets for cup and European matches, however poor and uninspiring they may be, if you want to buy a season ticket.

I have a pretty good job working for myself, earning decent money, I don’t have a large family to support, and there’s no way I could afford a season ticket for me and my Son, or for all three if my Wife wanted to come. We’re going watching some Baseball in the States whilst on holiday this summer, ticket prices are $60 for 3 of us, it lasts about 4 hours, if it’s rubbish we’ve lost £40.

One premier league match out would cost us about £200, for the risk of 0-0, your favourite player not playing, the big stars not turning up that day, a plastic seat with no leg room, bad parking……Seriously ?

Let’s say a season ticket at a top club is about £700 each. That’s 60-70 movies. 50 Baseball games. 5 Months Unlimited indoor skiing a stones throw from Old Trafford.

Question is, how do we stop it ?
Paul, Manchester

 

Don’t give clubs your money, however hard it is
I’m a football fan. In my forties now. Love the game. Always have. I follow a premier league team (Chelsea). Now let me tell you what I spend on the game, and tell me if I’m typical, atypical, or whatever.

I don’t go to games. I don’t live in London so no home games for me. But even when I was, I never went. I’ve been to about 10 PL games in the past 15 years, tops.

I don’t buy replica shirts or any other footie paraphernalia. In my part of the world, you look naff with a football top on. It might look OK in Manchester high street or in Magaluf but trust me, you’re not going to pull any decent-looking girl with yer Terry or Rooney top. I’ve got kids now, one of them plays football and loves it but I don’t think I’ll encourage him to buy shirts, and definitely no duvet or anything like that.

I don’t have Sky or BT Sports or BEiN or whatever it’s called in your parts. When I want to see a game, I stream it live from some dodgy Romanian web site. Or VPN my way to the BBC iPlayer and watch MOTD. Then I read all about it on your website, or ESPN, or the Guardian.

I have watched the odd game in a pub, buying drinks and stuff so in that sense, yes, I have given money to the game. But I’d say that’s about it really.

In other words, the corporates aren’t making much money from me. If we all did that, they’d probably clear off from the game. Would it be good? Dunno.

Not sure what my conclusion is, but as I was reading emails from people who feel exploited by the clubs, I was thinking “I’m not like them”. It doesn’t make me a better fan, or worse, just different. But I was wondering whether the majority is like me. Let’s face it, only a small percentage of people who identify as football fans actually go to games – the stadium cannot hold millions of people. And I would guess that again, only a small percentage have a Sky or satellite subscription. So maybe most football fans are like me?

I appreciate the irony of talking like this and being a Chelsea fan – rich owner, wealthy fanbase, strong commercial arm, etc. But you know what? There are actually a lot of Chelsea fans who, like me, don’t get sucked into the hype and the “product”. I loved Chelsea when we were sh*t, I loved Chelsea when we were great, and I love them now. But it’s not the clubs products that I love, it’s the club itself.

Cheers,
Mike, Auckland Blue, CFC

 

‘My kid is four and doesn’t get to see football’
Martin Gilbert is right that clubs should (do) care more about TV revenue than gate receipts, but misses a crucial point. In suggesting that it is in the club’s interest to make fans buy TV subscriptions, it misses the point of how the game comes across on TV. As a Man City fan I already get a load of stick from mates about the empty stadium looking rubbish on TV and this would be even worse with Martin’s theory.

Club’s need bums on seats to create an atmosphere (I wonder how many points Leicester have gained due to the noise their fans make – but that’s another email) and to make the “product” (shudder) look good on TV.

Jon Nic’s article picks up on the average age of match going supporters and club’s need to realise that other sports will quite happily snap up young followers leaving football with just the rich / obsessed ones. My son is 4 and doesn’t care about football, he hardly ever sees it on TV and I can’t afford to take him to a match.
Tom (brackets is a funny word to use for this punctuation mark), Manchester

 

Simeone: He’s clearly going to Chelsea
In response to Jo, the answer is Chelsea. Simeone would go to Chelsea. Mid-table mediocrity, a huge wage, and a transfer budget to make your eyes water.

Yes, Daniel Storey envisions Simeone at Chelsea.
Dale May, Swindon Wengertite

 

Dortmund are ‘smallish’? Pffft.
I read JazGooner’s mail in the Monday morning mailbox comparing Leicester and Dortmund with a raised eyebrow and assumed someone would correct him in the afternoon version. Nobody did but I can’t let it lie.

Dortmund are probably the second or third biggest club in Germany. They have the largest stadium in Germany holding over 80,000, the largest standing terrace in Europe and have one of the highest average attendances worldwide.
On the field, they have won the top league 8 times in their history which I think is the most after Bayern Munich. They have also won the Champions League and competed in 5 European finals in total. They are in no way “small-ish” and didn’t “exceed previous achievements” under Klopp.

Leicester have won the League Cup and that’s as far as it goes for major honours. Which actually makes their current circumstances even more remarkable.
Kieran, Glasgow

 

On Ozil vs Higuain
I see the point being made by Andrew M, AFC, in regards to the signing of Ozil and the failure to sign higuain. However there are some major flaws in his argument. He’s implying that Arsenal didn’t get Higuain because they signed Ozil instead. This would be a valid point but Higuain signed for Napoli on the 27th July, not August as Andrew states in his mail. This happens to be over a month before Arsenal signed Ozil. So really the signing of Ozil had nothing to do with the failure to acquire Higuain.

If Wenger wanted to sign Higuain, he’d have signed Higuain. He also claims that Cazorla would’ve continued to excel in the in an attacking role and we’d be in a much better position. Due to his run as a deep player since the beginning of 2015, people must forget that Cazorla played in an advanced role for the first 18 months of Ozil’s spell at Arsenal. Playing in that position he struggled to continue his debut season form. Yes he had spells in a wide position but rarely showed his true quality when played in an attacking midfield berth.

At the beginning of last season, Ozil was in fact pushed wide to allow cazorla a central role in which he once again underperformed meaning Ozil is now the undisputed first choice number 10 at Arsenal. Even when Ozil was injured last season, Sanchez was the one to play behind the striker, not cazorla.

I agree that Arsenal are crying out for a striker of Higuain’s but disagree on the fact that is the fault of Ozil’s transfer. This is based on facts and not getting defensive over Ozil. In an ideal world wee have both in our forward line and probably currently favourites for the title. But it wasn’t a case of one or the other. Wenger had a chance to sign Higuain which he turned down for some reason, but it wasn’t due to a move for Ozil.
Alex AFC (If only we had both)

 

QPR or Ipswich as the greatest English football achievement?
The question posed by the mailboxer about “The greatest footballing achievement ever and Leicester City” is an interesting one. I agree that one off´s and tournaments can´t be compared and I too considered Peter Taylor and Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest but they cannot be because they spent relatively large sums of money on many, many players.

That’s the crux with Leicester , they are down in the bottom quarter on wages being paid, they have spent peanuts on all but two players, it is difficult to find a good comparison.

Given that Leicester haven´t won the league championship yet and could still finish second on the last day I put forward the 1976 Queens Park Rangers team losing the league to UEFA cup winners Liverpool on the last day of the season.

QPR were a smaller outfit than Leicester City today and Liverpool had started to pay serious money to build their all conquering team (pre Kenny Dalglish). A certain Manchester United were spending a lot of cash too. QPR came from nowhere and quickly fell back there.

If Leicester do win then I’d put forward Twente under Mclaren with almost no knowledge of Dutch wages. Talking of Dutch, Franz Thyssen and Arnold Muhren should have taken Ipswich Town to the pinnacle of english football in 1981. Ipswich were (by stadium size) smaller than Leicester City today but did splash some cash to put together an incredible first 11. After finishing second to a Villa team that they beat twice during that season, they went on to win the UEFA cup. “Little” Ipswich finished above an incredible Liverpool team (triple European Champions) , Manchester United (who I believe had broken the transfer record to get Bryan Robson). Nottingham Forest (double European Champions) and much bigger spending clubs like Everton, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham.

We all remember them simply being the best team in the land. I seem to remember Ipswich´s ten outfield players were all internationals though (only Paul Cooper was uncapped and he was pretty handy). I think, more than anything, this Leicester success highlights the hugely inflated wages and transfer fees paid today. If they do it, it’d be the greatest english footballing achievement in my lifetime.
Peter (Rafa for England) in Spain

 

Leicester are Tom Watson 2009
I was thinking about Leicester’s incredible season and trying to think of a similar occurrence in football and plain couldn’t. What it does remind me of however is “old fogey” Tom Watson bidding to become oldest man (and the first with a hip replacement) to win one of golf’s major championships at the 2009 Open Championship. I have copied and pasted a couple of paragraphs here from people who wrote more eloquently about what happened than I would, and won’t bang on about golf, but playing four rounds of Open golf is probably a little more similar to a full league season than you might think initially, and pressures of leading are possibly tougher on an individual than it is on a team.

– Tom Watson: 59 years old, playing a game where fitness and strength is more important than ever, had previously won a major 26 years before, odds before play at least 1,000/1.

– Leicester City: Favourites to go down, playing a game where money and resources are more important than ever, never won top Prem/Division One title, odds before play up to 5,000/1.

The then 59-year-old, whose last major championship victory came 26 previously, had an eight-foot putt on the final hole to secure one of the greatest upset victories in the history of sport, let alone golf. He missed a pretty makeable putt (let’s say Leicester home to Swansea in late April) and his countryman, the dull, Stewart Cink, younger by 23 years (probably a Chelsea or United in this analogy) won that easily — by six shots, to be precise – as Watson’s efforts over the previous 72 holes took their predictable toll.

I’m hoping that the way it works out in this little parallel is a player who has had several chances for major glory but lacked bottle will do it this time (think Adam Scott Masters 2013 if anyone’s still with me) and Arsenal do finally come good on their ability and getting themselves into strong positions and take the title.
Dave (not sorry for bringing golf into the mailbox) Groves, AFC, Bogotá

 

2004: A year of sporting upsets
With all the debate as to whether Leicester City winning the Premier League would be the biggest sporting shock of all time, I thought I would bring to mind the seminal sporting year of 2004. It after all featured Greece winning the Euros, Porto winning the Champions League, Todd Hamilton winning the British Open and an unheard-of Maria Sharapova winning Wimbledon as a 17 year old. Further afield, Fermanagh reached the All Ireland football semi-final for the first time in their history (a unprecedented achievement in the world of GAA then or since), Tampa Bay Lightning won their first ever Stanley Cup, Detroit Pistons defeated hot favourites LA Lakers in the NBA finals and the Boston Red Sox took home the World Series for the first time since 1918.

While every sporting achievement against the odds has it’s merits, and it is impossible to pick a clear number one shock of all time, it is hard not to consider Leicester’s achievement (should they go all the way) as the greatest of them all. Such is the joy they have brought to this year’s version of the Premier League that I am rooting for them all the way, despite being an United fan, and just as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez appear to be confirming my suspicions that they are merely run of the mill players playing well above their stations, they showcase their credentials again. And it’s impossible not to be enamoured by Ranieri’s affable personality.

All credit where it’s due.
Brian (Foxes mate for life), Wexford

 

Blaming Depay is silly
I know I’m a little late to the party here but United fans bemoaning Depay losing the ball on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area on Sunday are just pathetic.

As if you can blame an attacking player losing the ball over 100 yards away from your goal. You should have just put the game to bed when you were on top and you didn’t and your defensive players should have been switched on when it mattered most and they weren’t.

To say one player who had just been introduced to the game cost you 3 points means you need to get real. Also the match statistics point to that being one of the most even games of football ever, so tuck in your bottom lip and accept a draw.
Sean, CFC, London

 

How do you describe certain scorelines?
Winners and losers prompted a thought, albeit a short one, around the subject of when adjectives can be reasonable applied to a result.

Let’s start small. 1-0 is a defeat. Probably 2-0 and 2-1 too. I think we can agree that, though you can lose 1-1 like United at the weekend due to the timing of the equaliser, while a close result can be a ‘good win’.

Beyond that the adjectives have to balance the goals scored and goal difference.

3-0 is a heavy loss or possibly a spanking, depending on the dominance of the winning side.

But where does 3-1 fit? A thumping? A hammering? I think a mauling is probably too hard, and more fitting of 4-1.

4-1 could also be a savaging, or a battering, depending on your mood. Maybe even a schooling.

Up from 5 I’d say you’re in to annihilated and humiliated territory.

Point is, although I’d say there’s a chance of City getting defeated by Spurs, a think a mauling could be too much to hope for.
Guy S (I’m not sure we have a mauling in us, right now, and that makes me sad)

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