Football today is ruled by one thing, money. The top flight clubs seem to have it in abundance, yet some of them make the fans pay through the nose to support their club.
The fan is the little man, the smallest, yet most vital cog in the football machine. Without fans, the game would not exist, well not in its current form anyway. Bar a few clubs, ticket prices have generally sky rocketed over the past few seasons and have often been the causal factor in large numbers of debates and protests. I mean, who can forget the 77th minute protest by Liverpool fans at Anfield against Sunderland, which seemed like a brilliant idea at the time but was attributed as the main factor the Reds capitulated and dropped a 2 goal lead to draw the game.
All in all, fans are generally taken for granted, so it’s wonderful to see them being given something back for their long-standing commitment to the club they follow. Unfortunately, it is not one of the Premier League big boys forging the way in this matter, but two League One sides that have made football headlines in the last few days and all for the right reasons!
I’ve heard of a ‘kid for a quid‘ advertising before, where a child can get into the ground for a solitary pound if they are attending with a full paying adult. I must say, I have never heard of any fan being able to attend a game for £1. Until now. Up step Rochdale to hopefully change the way clubs think about generating interest and giving kids the opportunity to soak in some live football. It means that you could take the entire family, grab a pie and a drink for each person a
nd you’ll probably spend less than £25 based on a family of four. Phenomenal!
The game in question is being played tonight and is against Port Vale, so if you’re in the local area get yourself down. I think this is such a big step forward and many clubs could learn from it. The additional interest and media discussion regarding Rochdale is helping the club become more recognisable, it should see a bumper crowd fill Spotland and hopefully will prove to be a long-term success.
The next League One side causing a stir for all the right reasons is Bradford City. The ex-Premier League club have been in and out of the limelight for some years, and not always for positive reasons. Being up north the cost of a season ticket, in theory, should be lower than down south, and this is purely based on average income of people in the relevant areas. However, Bradford City have not just set a reasonable price, they have effectively offered the opportunity to watch all of the home league games in the 2017/2018 season for around £6.50 per game, absolute madness!
It’s always important in remembering that taking stances like this allows many more people a way into football, to pay £149 for a season-ticket and therefore 23 league games, is brilliant. Almost any person will be able to afford such a ticket and this will therefore make the Bantams a much more accessible prospect, rather than face losing any support to either local rivals or any of the Premier League big boys.
Both of these schemes will hopefully boost attendances, and generate the next generation of staunch football fans. I’ve always been a firm believer that it is far better to have a higher attendance, as this gives the best chance to create a phenomenal atmosphere and think this should be done by keeping ticket prices as low as possible. Obviously, it is not possible for all teams to do this and for example, a League Two side would probably only see a negligible benefit by lowering the ticket price.
I am not naive enough to believe this sort of thing would be a long-term strategy but knowing these clubs are thinking of the fans and taking that into consideration gives you a little bit of hope, just when it seems to be dripping out of football.
There is very little else to say, other than ‘thank you‘ and ‘congratulations‘ to the Dale and Bantams boards respectively. Long may this continue and, hopefully, other clubs will take note of your example and begin to follow it.