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Ticket prices threaten to burst football's cash bubble

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Jim Spence | 18:12 UK time, Friday, 18 February 2011

How much is a game of football worth?

This season's Uefa Champions League final at Wembley will cost upward of £150 to attend.

The tickets available are priced at :

Category 1 - £300

Category 2 - £225 (or £338 for an adult and child package),

Category 3 - £150 and Wheelchair - £80, as well as a £26 booking fee.

No matter how much you love your football, those prices bring tears to the eyes.

They also beg the question, how long until football's overpriced bubble bursts?

Economics was never my favourite subject, but I do recall some of the dismal science, in particular the notion of elasticity of demand.

There are plenty better qualified than me to explain it, but one thing's for sure about elastic: whether it's the kind they use in knickers or in economic parlance, it has a snapping point.

And, if football's elastic snaps, the game will be caught with its trousers down very soon, charging these kind of prices.

Everything is relative and, with top music acts charging well over £100 for gigs, some may see Uefa's pricing structure as simply the going rate for top-quality attractions.

It's also true that no-one forces fans to go to football. Instead, there is a kind of emotional and spiritual blackmail at play for most fans.

But there are worrying signs for the game, even in its heartlands.

In the Premier League in England, Niall Quinn, who has done a terrific job at Sunderland, says the club have lost up to 10,000 fans to illegal television broadcasts.

Fans who would have once roared on the Black Cats on from the Stadium of Light, now order another pint and a packet of crisps as they watch the fortunes of their favourites in the comfort of their favourite boozer.

Once fans stop going to games, it's very hard to get them back.

In Scotland, even the Old Firm are seeing empty seats that not long ago were sold out well in advance.

We hear all the time that fans are the lifeblood of the game, but football has to be careful not to cut its own throat and see that lifeblood drain away to leave a lifeless corpse.


  • Comment number 1.

    Jim, its not just admission prices, it is players wages that are sickening the public. It will take me 6 years to earn what some of these overpaid, under worked, ill-educated trumpets get in one week, and that doesnt include add ons like bonuses and sponsorship cash. Why should I subsidise this? Football is no longer the saturday afternoon out, watching 22 men give their hearts and souls for the shirt. Watching over paid nancy-boys is not my cup of tea anymore.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good post, but it is simple economics albeit not a relevant issue in Scotland where the supply far outweighs the demand for tickets. However if some idiot wants to pay £300 plus a £26 booking fee to watch the CL final then be my guest....and if it is a sell out then they've justified their pricing and at the top level, demand will always outweigh the supply!! Can't ever see that changing :-(

  • Comment number 3.

    Ok well it is the CL final - is it THAT outrageous? You'd pay more to watch barbara streisand, or a boxing match that may last 30 seconds.

    My problem is the way they treat fans who have paid these sums. Your bossed around by stewards, shown to your seat, can't have a decent drink etc

    You cant blame lads for going to the pub, some boozers have more atmosphere than the match.

    anyway, Where does Niall Quinn get his figures from? Your happy to infer this is a fact Jim?

    I hardly think pubs ripping SKY off is an illegal broadcast. It is SKY that are doing the broadcasting is it not? Sending the broadcast out in to the world for us all to enjoy, luvly job.

  • Comment number 4.

    Also Jim, you are confusing price elasticity of demand with simple supply & demand.

    These ticket prices are set in response to demand with a view to maximising profits at the point along the supply curve, at which, the stadium is sold out.

    80,000 or whatever.

    price elasticity describes how reactive demand is in response to increases in prices. So football, along with fags & booze & petrol has a low PED in that even when the Govt puts tax on beer, we still drink just as much.

    It is not really for decribing how a seller fixes the selling prices, for this we have the supply & demand curves.

    Plus, Wembly cost like a squillion bucks, it was journos that used to bleat about how the old wembly was falling down and needed renewing, of course ticket prices go up after this

  • Comment number 5.

    @ DavieMacLawside - I couldn't agree more, you sum up the situation perfectly.

  • Comment number 6.

    It is pretty expensive but then again as #3 pointed out it is the CL Final. The problem for clubs is to ensure some tickets get to their genuine week-to-week support and not have the final hi-jacked by a bunch of day-tripper glory-hunters. Could be that it is Tottenham who get there (after all it is the first year of a decade). In that case I think Spurs fans might well be prepared to part with even more to see their team compete in the final of the world's top club trophy. They'll see it as a possible one-off event (especially with it being a London final). Maybe Barca or Madrid fans would think differently. Personally, I think the finalist clubs themselves should take tickets (say 20% of their allocation) and attempt to distribute them to their registered fans (season ticket-holders) through a ballot at a quarter of the cost or less. This would put admission within the reach of a UK pensioner. I don't know what the pension is in other Euro countries. Obviously it must vary. It would be hoped that the competing clubs would vary their reduction accordingly.

    On the other hand, it might be convincingly argued that the prices quoted are an outrage taking into account the economic and financial affecting all parts of Europe at the present time and for the forseeable future. Just as well there no Greek teams left in the competition....

    re #1. I'm not sure its as simple as that. For every fan who opposes the current high level of some players wages there must at least several others who will call for more and better players to strengthen their team. Look at Carroll's move to Liverpool. This young guy was on maybe £20k per week and quite happy at St James Park. He was doing well and getting better with the potential to be a top class striker sometime in the future. Along comes Kenny with £35m and young Carroll finds himself with a new employer and a new salary of £60k a week. He never asked for a transfer and remains unproven at the highest level. Liverpool fans applauded this as a coup. No-one dissented or criticised the trebling of Carroll's earnings.

    I think it's all down to perspective. Wonder what Protagoras would have said..... 'Damos good blogos Spencos'.

  • Comment number 7.

    @ DavieMacLawside....couldn't have put it better myself mate!

  • Comment number 8.

    I think there are many factors within today's "Modern Football" that risks alienating the general match going public. Certainly this is the case the higher up the football pyramid you go. Ticket prices for a lot of Premier League games are absolutely ridiculous. Wasn't the Arsenal V Man City match the other week the first league game to break the £100 for a ticket barrier? Outrageous case of clubs fleecing their fans.

    I fear that the situation is only going to get worse before it gets better though. Not until clubs are fan owned, safe standing is introduced and ticket prices are lowered will we see the return of the game we all love.

  • Comment number 9.

    The phrase "emotional and spiritual blackmail" is spot on in my opinion.

    The price rises at Old Trafford fit into this category. It is not just the price hikes, it is also the force feeding of supporters with games from other competitions - forcing those "lucky enough" to have season tickets to pay for games they will not attend, whilst others without season tickets cannot get into the games.

    There are large numbers of fans who are terribly conflicted - paying more than they want to, and in many cases can aford, to be part of something they love.

    I attended the Man U v Stoke game in January (whilst in the UK on holiday) and the attendance was reported as more than 70,000. However judging by the swathes of empty seats I doubt there were even 50,000 in attendance. The number reported was presumably the number of seats that had been sold.

    In my own way I have already turned away from the premier league. I was paying close to 100 quid a month for cable TV - for no other reason than it is the only legal way to watch premier league games here in Australia. (I have no interest in any of the other 150 channels I have to pay for.) I have very reluctantly made an economic decision not to do this anymore.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think it's only natural that, as in most businesses, they are trying to squeeze the consumer for as much as they possibly can. And of course as football fans come from such a broad spectrum of backgrounds, and a lot are so passionate in their support, their will always be people willing to pay these prices.

    What's always bothered me a lot though, as it seems in every major sporting event, that is when the finals arrive, suddenly a lot of people who are not really 'fans' come out of the woodwork and manage to gain tickets, and even some real fans who were actually willing to pay the ludicrous prices are unable to get their hands on tickets.

    The shareout of tickets really bugs me and this Champions league final really is a good example of this as seen below -

    25,000 for each team
    11,000 for the 'general public'
    25,000 for sponsors, for corporate purposes and the 'UEFA family' (whatever that may be).

    UEFA and FIFA are becoming increasingly distant from football supporters. And the recent court battle in which UEFA and FIFA tried to challenge the mandatory free to view sporting events in the UK and Belgium, such as the World Cup and Euro's, so that they could sell the TV rights to the highest (probably pay per view) bidder just shows that business and cash is way above the fans at the moment.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm afraid Scottish football cut its throat a while ago! Football (particularly in the UK) seems to have lost its soul, although games like Arsenal vs Barcelona remind everyone why it can still be the 'beautiful game'. I think many people are fed up with the rampant self interest...nothing lasts for ever...and football should remember that. Personally I find the rugby 6 nations a welcome relief.

  • Comment number 12.

    I can't believe what some people pay to see a game that is live on telly. There should be a significant discount. Yoy would never pay £3, to go to theatre, concert etc if it was being broadcast live. Not only that the fans are asked to go Sunday lunchtimes, Monday nights etc.

  • Comment number 13.

    correction £3 read £30

  • Comment number 14.

    Lets look at relative costs for one game and predict what people's behaviour might be:

    This weekend's OF game: £40 for an adult and £30 for a child.

    Two adults + 2 children for a total cost of £140 (and all before travel/snacks and refreshments).

    Watch a game on PPV. Total cost?

    Using a PC to watch the game non-PPV. Total cost? Must be marginal.

    Clubs must make very little from their TV channels. Quite honestly, they would be as well closing them down in many cases.

    I should say that I watch live football myself (Scottish Juniors).

    I would not pay these OF ticket prices ever for a game I can happily watch on PPV.

  • Comment number 15.

    You're a bit early in deciding whether or not these European broadcasts are illegal or not.

    If these smaller English Clubs are not happy with a Pan-European market, to which they've sold the rights to, then that's their problem for selling these rights off too cheaply.

    But then, the EPL has been sold around the world as the "best in the world" (when in reality, it's full of boring games, just as much as all the other leagues are).

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm a (very proud) Fulham fan

    In the Europa League last year I was lucky enough to see my boys play Roma home and away, Shaktar Donestsk, Juventus, Wolfsberg, and Hamburg (all at home - so no flight costs) and I spent in total LESS than the price of ONE of those category 1 seats, and that includes the flights to and from Italy for the Roma match.

    For the final my ticket was £85. - which in truth, I thought was fair for a major European final, and there was a category below what I paid at £75.

    Just a bit of perspective I hope :-)

  • Comment number 17.

    The prices don't look that bad when one compares them to other events of similar importance. The recent Superbowl in the States had an average ticket price of five thousand dollars. The face value was 600-1200 dollars but few regulars fans get access to those prices and instead have to buy from ticket brokers who up the price to 2300-8000 dollars. The Champions League final looks a bargain in comparison.

  • Comment number 18.

    Get going to the Junior games, great entertainment and plenty of hearty effort for approx £4!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    @3 - I too, don't know where Niall Quinn gets his figures from - Sunderland's crowds are down (on average) about 4.5k from their recent high of 43,000 or so 5 years ago; they are typical of crowd dips shown in the on-going difficult financial climate though.

    I do feel a bit of sympathy for Quinn though - his team have retained a sense of perspective with regards ticket prices. You can go to the forthcoming game against Liverpool with a friend/partner and a couple of kids for marginally over £80 (same prices v Arsenal, ManU, Newcastle, Chelsea, etc). Contrast that to Rob04's OF ticket prices.

    But, yeah, supply and demand. If you ever needed any evidence that top-level football is but a business, this is it: we can sell CL final tickets for £300, we probably shouldn't, but we will still sell them for £300 and people will buy.

    Maximise profit. The core support will stay at home and watch the game (and adverts), which keeps the sponsors happy, which keeps us happy.

    It's the UEFA way.

  • Comment number 20.

    @17 - The NFL long gave up the pretence that it was little more than a finance incentivised 'sport'.

    I would imagine the £300 tickets can be had for several times that amount from various vendors too - witness WC 2010 prices, where tickets were hawked for many times face value, despite FIFA's best attempts.

  • Comment number 21.

    To those who peddle the line, "...well, it IS the CL final..."

    So what?

    There will be another one next year, and the year after that, and all on the telly too...


    To watch a game of fitba?

    You are having a LAUGH.

  • Comment number 22.

    The lowest priced ticket for CL final for supporters of either team is £85, same as David #16 paid last season to watch Fulham. The announcement didn't say how many of these tickets there were however, I don't suppose there will be that many.

    Nial Quinn was getting at those who can afford to go and watch Sunderland not those who can't and, for the price of a couple of pints, can watch the games in the pub.
    Much as I sympathise with Quinn who has worked hard to make Sunderland an attractive team to watch this is simply what happens when you sell your product to TV. Once the deal is done you have lost control and it looks as though SKY will also lose control if the European Court upholds the advice given to allow other broadcasters to show live games in UK.
    Clubs have no right to dictate to fans how they should spend their money.

    As regards prices for football and concentrating on Scottish football as it's a Scottish blog I would make the following points;

    Prices are spiralling out of control.We look like having the first OF game (Scottish Cup) in recent years which won't be a sell out due to a combination of the fixture being midweek/on tv and the cost,£38 for season ticket holders,£40 for non-season adults.

    Season tickets don't allow admittance to cup games and it's noticeable that many season ticket holders do not attend cup games,this can only be due to lack of funds available for football.

    Clubs have vital decisions to make at this time.
    They need to pitch prices at a level that fans can afford taking into account economic circumstances.I remember a time when Celtic allowed the unemployed into matches at the same price as boys upon production of a UB40.
    They decide to keep prices high,rely on the diehards to turn up and the revenues from tv, remembering that home matches are transmitted around the world every week.
    The problem with the latter option is that once fans lose the habit of attending they will be very difficult to entice back.

    I have 2 season tickets at Celtic and have purchased my tickets for the cup tie at a cost of £79(2x£38 plus a ridiculous admin fee of £1.50 per ticket) which will be in addition to a 300 mile round trip by car, food and drink. No one forces me to do this but I am seriously considering the wisdom of such trips when I can watch the game at home on tv.

    When it comes time to renew I will be influenced by the size of the SPL as well as the cost. If they move to 10 teams I will consider a season ticket not value for money and after more than 20 years will give them up either restricting my viewing to TV only or combining this with occasional trips to Celtic Park.

    If clubs acted in concert and reduced prices as well as paying salaries they can afford we would all be better off in the long run.

  • Comment number 23.

    Regardless of it being a champions league final paying prices like £300 is far too much! Imagine the prospect of two teams from outside the United Kingdom reaching the final... Fans from Europe may be paying £300 each for tickets then about £100 for accomodation then travelling costs who knows how much it could be... It could be about £500 for one overnight stay where they only have time to see the match then leave the next morning!!

    Concerts of musicians paying £100 is different. Acts who charge about £100 a ticket are supported by music artists it would cost around £60 to see and then the first act cost about £30 to see!

    So you are getting around £190 worth of music acts in one night!

    Or at festivals like T in The Park £190 to see some of the biggest acts on the planet and there be around 180 bands playing!

    Music and Football events are very different so there is no point in comparing them!

  • Comment number 24.

    Jim, the prices in Scottish football have been a joke for years. Why do you think attendances have been going down and down in recent years. I go to Ayr games each week and it's £15 to get in and that's 2nd divsion football. The standard in scottish football is poor and the prices are just to much. It's all very well blogging about it here but you (and the media) should be lobbying for the prices to be lowered as otherwise clubs will think they can get away with it.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm amazed people even bother going to the games myself. I'd hypothesise that you could charge £300 for a Dunfermline vs Raith game and you'd still get a few punters through the gates because of blind loyalty.

    In Scotland kids and pensioners should get into all games for £2 - adults £5. Crowds would double, maybe you'd have to pay players less but the atmosphere would increase and the product and experience might become better in time.

    But it'll never happen. So I'll just try and enjoy it, though I find it very difficult these days.

  • Comment number 26.

    Just for the record jim,when was the last time you paid to get into a football match or any of your hack mates that spout about the state of soccer in Scotland and its perilous financial state.

  • Comment number 27.

    I think the comment about players wages was very apt.If Mr Berbatov is on £175,000 per week ,then Mr Rooney must be on 200grand.With these kind of amounts 50% could be given to Charity,40% saved and the rest would still let you live like a king ,40 Grand a month!The savings would be enough to live off after retirement at the grand old age of 36.
    Just my opinion?

  • Comment number 28.

    300 quid for a one-time-in-a-year event may not be the biggest problem. How about 50 quid a month for a sky subscription, and you may still miss out on the best action of the weekend because it happens to be on Saturday afternoon? Sky are a joke. They sucked me dry for far too long. Nowadays I am Sky-free and I am loving it! R5 Live is even better, and absolutely free!

  • Comment number 29.

    Yes it is the CL final (not many have been a good spectacle) but fans will pay to see their team. Through blind loyalty amongst other things. UEFA know they can charge for it and it shall no doubt be full, although probably not just after the 2nd half starts as the UEFA "family" shall still be in their troughs!

    I refuse to pay in to SKY, never have, never will.
    There are so many issues around ticket prices at the mo. I shan't pretend to know about Scottish football, i don't, however it is comparable with any country.
    they are in a recession (like the rest of us), higher unempolpyment than other parts of the UK, a spread out population affecting distance to games, lower average incomes. All of these things combine with the quality of the product suggests that fans won't pay for the product if the money isn't there.

    Take Swindon Town for example, their gates have done quite well in last 2 years, thanks to a decent run, which has faltered this season, they are charging £16-£22 a ticket for adults, under 10's get in free and there is also a BOGOF for an upcoming relegation 6 pointer!

    Clubs needs to offer incentives, i have argued for years that if clubs want to succeed, they need the fans. To do that they should have realistic prices, fill the ground rather than half full, that way they gain the next era of fans (the kids being brought along by parents) they sell food/drink/merchandice and the place generates a better atmosphere which gives the players a lift therefore raising their spirits and hopefully their performances.

  • Comment number 30.

    poor article. it simply overreacts.

    apart from the economics which was the poorest part of it the point is quite simple:

    1. whenever there is a good match and I want to see it I buy the ticket. 2. if I am not interested or I cannot afford to buy a ticket I dont buy.

    you speak as it was compulsory to buy a ticket at any price...

    PS: the same problem was when the video appeared. all the cinemas were on the edge of being broke - at least this is what they said. and you know what happened?? they tried to get used to the new facts and most of them survived. that is how life goes...

  • Comment number 31.

    "you speak as it was compulsory to buy a ticket at any price..."

    And here lies the problem. We're not talking about cinemas here noble, we're talking about our national game, our national pastime. Price the average fan out and the game no longer earns that coveted title... a high price to pay indeed!

    But let’s face it... the English game has simply been taken over, swamped, by foreign investment: apparently winning the CL is now MORE important than winning the Premiership, our top flight league, as finishing 4th will now do. I could go on but I suspect that if this FIFA domination is allowed to continue our national game in another ten years will be..... rugby.

    Give me strength!

  • Comment number 32.

    I love football. Apart from my faith and family, nothing beats getting ready with my boy, enjoying the journey, banter, LIVE football and atmosphere and the emotions of the trip home. There is still much that clubs could do to enhance the matchday experience.

    Too many LARD ars!s on here criticise people like me for paying to see a game i love...and yes if the opposition are of a very high standard, i will pay a lttle more too. Stagnate on your couch if you so wish, i prefer the real thing.

    Many may not understand this, but this is UEFAs final. They organise it, it is up to clubs to enter...not heard of many refusing.

    Saying that, i would see a place for clubs balloting their tickets for normal game prices between £20 and £50 and the shortfall being added to the price the 'public(non suppotive)' elements and the UEFA family have to pay for freebies for anyone except true supporters of participating clubs!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Too many LARD ars!s on here criticise people like me for paying to see a game i love...and yes if the opposition are of a very high standard, i will pay a lttle more too. Stagnate on your couch if you so wish, i prefer the real thing.
    Really only lardies watch football at home? And people who attend matches are there to exercise, eat Tofu at half-time and are not Lardies?! As far as I can see, fans who attend games watch other people exercise!

    I would agree with you though about improving the matchday experience and if you had also said that clubs should try and do more to get fans in I would agree with that as well.

    And part of getting fans back in might be to reduce ticket prices. Not for showpiece events like the CL final but for the run of the mill league and cup matches.

  • Comment number 34.

    If you follow the link in the blog you will see that Niall Quinn said,

    "Anybody who says they can't afford to come down to the game, there's no way I would ever criticise, the problem is that people are going down to the pub and spending equivalent amounts of money."

    Isn't that rather the point? I can sit in the pub for a few hours drinking AND see the game, for the price of going to see the game itself. (In actual fact considerably less.)

    I stopped going to football two years ago. Prior to that I went to every game in Scotland, home and away. I reckon all in, that costs about £3,000 a year. The money was an issue, and I felt I was paying far too much, but the real reason I quit is that supporters are treated shamefully, and all the enjoyment has been stripped out the live experience.

    For instance I can stand in my pub, which is now banned. I can choose who I sit with in my pub, avoiding idiots and sitting next to my friends, rather than have them at the other end of the ground. I can have a drink in my pub, banned in Scotland not only at the game, but also on the buses and trains going to and from the game and even the street outside. I can nip out for a quick smoke in pub, which you can't do in most stadiums. I can sing whatever songs I like in my pub, without being policed by some ignoramous in a luminescent yellow jacket.

    The treatment of supporters has taken all the enjoyment out of live football to such an extent and killed the atmosphere to such a degree that most pubs offer a more enjoyable experience.

  • Comment number 35.

    Fans are being priced out of the game, and driven away by the blatant greed on display by almost everyone involved.

    But can we really get all self righteous about it? After all, who demands the most from their team? We the fans demand success. We want trophies, promotion, success in Europe, high league finishes. Whatever club you support fans always expect them to achieve. Often if they don't achieve the fans turn against them, either the team/management/board. So can we really be surprised that clubs will try to buy success?

    All those who advocate lower prices and no Sky, would you be willing to sacrifice the success that brings your team? It's a tough one.

  • Comment number 36.

    My first reaction to the Champs League ticket prices was, "Oh they've really jumped the shark this time," but that was largely based on personal circumstances. In the last decade, I've been lucky enough to see a few Champs League and UEFA Cup finals: those in Glasgow in 2002 and 2007 and a couple abroad that I've linked in to holidays. The ticket prices were high, around £75 if memory serves, but for special one-off games, it didn't seem too bad. Knowing that the Champs League final was at Wembley this year, I was interested in going, but not for £176 per ticket, or more - work is in short supply and money is tight, so that price rules me out.
    On the other hand, the South East of England is the economic engine for the entire UK, like it or not. There is more wealth there than anywhere else in Britain or Ireland. Greater London itself has around 7.8 million people according to Wikipedia, let alone the adjacent "South East Region" (another 8 million) and "East England" (another 5.4 million) - all within fairly convenient travelling distance (let alone centres like Birmingham, Manchester, or Brussels and Paris thanks to the Eurostar).
    In pricing 11,000 general sale tickets at £176-£326 (inc booking fee), they are aiming at a fairly big pool of people with sufficient disposable income who can get to London fairly easily for the game - especially if it turns out to be stupidly melodramatic (two English teams, Barca v Real Madrid, Inter v Milan or whatever) ... That might not include me - indeed it might not include a whole lot of people in Scotland (ticket price, plus travel, plus accommodation will come to quite a sum) but it will probably include *enough* people snap up the general sale offering. If the game was somewhere more peripheral (Glasgow, Dublin, Kiev, Lisbon) then I suspect the pricing would be cheaper...

  • Comment number 37.

    There should be less concern with the cost of CL final and more complaints about the cost of SPL games, CL finals are one offs whereas the other is the lifeblood of the game.

  • Comment number 38.

    agree with the earlier posters such #37 & 33.

    I'm more concerned with SPL ticket prices.... for me 20 odd quid for an SPL game is the real issue.

    CL final is a UEFA showpiece event, the price is what it is, doesn't effect me.

  • Comment number 39.

    26. briggietim wrote:
    Just for the record jim,when was the last time you paid to get into a football match or any of your hack mates that spout about the state of soccer in Scotland and its perilous financial state.

    For the record that would be twice this season when I stumped up my fiver to watch Lochee United on rare days off. Prior to that it would have been buying the family tickets for last season's Scottish Cup Final.

    On working days when I'm covering football matches, I'm like everyone else, I don't pay to get into my job.

  • Comment number 40.

    Fair enough Jim, no complaints about your contributions considering you are based in Dundee !!

    I note the powers that be haven't given up ignoring the fans' views and are still hell bent on imposing the 10 team top division.
    You were asked by an earlier poster why you and your fellow reporters aren't creating more of a fuss about our views being ignored and I think you rather fudged the answer if memory serves me correctly.
    Why not become the most popular broadcaster in Scotland and press the fans' views ?

    There really is little point in us debating on here, writing to SPL/SFA, who both trot out the same rubbish, only way to provide the finance, if we don't have media support.
    Get Chick Young who's always keen to make everything a drama to support you and the rest of the Sportssound team who'll be out of a job if interest from supporters wanes.

    Sorry to be off topic but I feel it's gatting to last chance saloon time.

  • Comment number 41.

    I personally think that the proposed move to a 10 team SPL is motivated by greed - and not by commonsense. If there were only 10 teams they would be playing each other 3 times - and the last time we had 10 teams in the top league there were plenty complaints how unfair this was when 2 out of the 3 games could be away from home. Have the SPL a short memory?

  • Comment number 42.

    First post in a few weeks - just back from sunning myself in foreign parts. Great to see the passion on display for this topic - regular readers will note that sooner or later we get round to the topic of money in the game and the extent to which some pretty mediocre players and managers are creaming off monies that their talent and endeavour simply don't justify. While on holiday I read reports from Danny Lennon, Stuart McCall, Walter Smith amongst others saying how poorly their team had performed - comments like 'just not good enough', didn't turn up tonight etc throughout their own analysis.

    Readers will recognise that I have voiced my opinion on this topic often enough but put in simple terms football in Scotland (beyond the OF where its not really about the sport of football - more of a culture club) cannot and will not survive so long as almost all the money is distributed the way it is.

    As for some of the observations as I have read through the entire blog...

    Think the CL final is a red herring - its not really for the supporters otherwise they'd always select the venue based on the finalists. Its about TV and big business so just sit back and watch on the telly or down the pub.

    Comparison to things like theatre etc - watching people who do eight shows per week and where production costs are high. Have seen hundreds of really bad football matches - rarely have I left a theatre, especially the expensive West End saying what a load of old tosh that was...

    As for those folks going to games not being Lard A's - what a load of rubbish. Some of the characters I encounter manage to stuff more booze and pies down their throat than seems possible - agree with the comments that not many Tofu salads feature on match day. Sorry but all sound a bit self-righteous for me.

    Finally, to those people who are happy to pay - good for you. In every walk of life there are people who will pay too much for what they get - £5 for a pint, £10 for a fish supper sure its flash but it aint value for money.

    For those of us who work hard, make a reasonable living, enjoy the match on a Saturday with friends and family its getting too expensive and the drift away from football continues year after year. In my younger days I went 8 seasons and never missed a game home or away and now I pick and choose and do occasionally watch it on the telly. It seems to me however I am amongst many like minded folks voting with our feet.

  • Comment number 43.

    40 morbhoy.

    I think the powers that be are aware enough of the fans dislike of the ten team league proposals. The strength of feeling in the supporters direct survey was not lost on them.

    But they argue that it's a hard headed business decision and that it's the only solution to the game's ills.

    Personally, I remain to be convinced that there is no other way and would prefer a bigger top flight.

    However, I wish myself and other journalists had the power you think we have.

    The fans will ultimately decide on this issue, either by not turning up in sufficient numbers to watch or not subscribing to subscription tv to watch.

    Or alternatively, if the proposal goes ahead and those driving it make it succeed with a vibrant Championship below, with tv coverage and increased income, they'll be entitled to crow about their success to the doubters.

    One senior figure I know in the game, thinks that attendances are in a spiral of decline and that nothing can be done to halt it. It's a pessimistic view, but one which I know is shared by many.

    The changes if they happen, will prove or disprove the theory.

  • Comment number 44.

    #43 Jim Spence

    Thanks for your reply Jim, perhaps I should make it clear that it's only on this issue I want you guys to have power,heaven help us if some of your collleagues actually had the final word !!!

    Just a little joke.

    I think fans won't turn up in numbers and most will probably already subscribe to tv so there won't be a massive increase from that quarter.

    I do agree with the senior figure you mention that attendances are in a spiral of decline for a variety of reasons, poor performances and results, economic climate to name a few.

    Another serious issue, and I really don't mean this to be taken the wrong way, is what will happen to Rangers support, home and away, if they don't win anything and continue to have to sell their best players?
    That will also have a knock on effect on the Scottish game.

    At present I'm happy with the football Celtic are playing and hopeful of winning several trophies this season, I'm delighted that the new road is nearly finished making travel to/from Celtic Park easier but I still don't think I'll be renewing my season tickets if they move to a 10 team SPL.
    So if I feel like this when all is well what does that say about the state of the Scottish game?

  • Comment number 45.


    Agree with you on that new road. With a 16 year old track cyclist in the family, trips to Manchester for training facilities are becoming a real pain. So with the Glasgow velodrome on schedule just across the way from Parkhead it'll make a big difference to his training and my pocket.

  • Comment number 46.

    Ah we are on the recon plans again!

    Not a fan of the 10 format really but I think economically 14+ would mean more reduced income for everyone. Prepared to live with the 10 if they can properly financially cushion the relegation issue for those affected and produce a SPL2 product that livens that league up even more.

    But surely we are not yet at the stage of blogging on recon again Jim until after the plans have been voted on?

    Taking a guess but surely it must be on Sally, sorry Ally McCoist, as the possible new Rangers boss!

    Almost as soon as it was announced Chic Young had a Beeb story on it. Poor man. Couldn't talk it up fast enough!

  • Comment number 47.

    On the pricing - it's about the SPL pricing that's a worry, we don't really need to worry about Champions League final tickets as I don't see a Scottish team getting there any time soon.

    On the league reconstruction - I heard a significant quote that wasn't really picked up on. I can't remember exactly who it was but it was one of the club chairmen.
    To put it in context, I'm sure Neil Doncaster said at the very start that the idea was to leave self interest at the door and do the best for scottish football.
    The quote I heard this week was something along the lines of it is difficult to balance the best plan with self interest.

    Therein lies the problem, self interest has crept into the room in those discussions, in fact I'd go as far to say it's been at the head of everyones agenda right from the start.

  • Comment number 48.

    Morbhoy @44

    "Another serious issue, and I really don't mean this to be taken the wrong way, is what will happen to Rangers support, home and away, if they don't win anything and continue to have to sell their best players?
    That will also have a knock on effect on the Scottish game".

    Dead simple - Celtic will win everything is sight for a few years - no doubt claiming they are 'outstanding' in the process and a further nail in the coffin of Scottish football. At some point the pendulum will swing and hey Presto the roles will be reversed - another year for Celtic on their new cost base with an early exit from Europe and they will be in a similar boat to Rangers re affordability etc. Lets be honest here, Celtic are currently the least bad team in the SPL.

    Whether its 10, 12 or 14 teams in any reconstruction the answer will still be the same - OF will dominate, self interest will prevail, the punters will get poor value and our mediocre players will be off down the bookies (or some flash nightclub) with our hard earned readies.

  • Comment number 49.

    #45 Jim, What will happen to Manchester after the Olympics, there doesn't seem to be room for two large velodromes although Manchester has built or is building a large BMX track behind the velodrome but will the London based mafia insist the big events are held there?

    #48 Uriah, Have to disagree with you. At the moment Celtic are playing attractive football that's good to watch which makes a change from the Strachan years and are not a bad team.
    My comment was intended to reflect that if one half of OF has a really bad time the crowds overall will drop dramatically and where would that leave the SPL master plan ?


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