The Price Is Right - Or Is It?

PUBLISHED: 11:05 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:55 10 September 2010

Rick McEwen, Capital Canaries

I had this all drafted out and now, on Friday evening, NCFC have forced me to rewrite it. I planned to speculate on how 2010/2011 Season Tickets might be priced, but was beaten by First News.

Rick McEwen, Capital Canaries

I had this all drafted out and now, on Friday evening, NCFC have forced me to rewrite it.

I planned to speculate on how 2010/2011 Season Tickets might be priced, but was beaten by First News -www.canaries.co.uk/page/NewsDetails/0,,103551941398,00.html

The headline is that the club are to charge one pound extra per game. But, let's be precise, what they actually mean is one pound more per game had relegation not actually happened.

That is some trick, trying to wipe from history that Killen, OJ, Archibald-Henville and Leijer (to name but four) passed the Thickthorn roundabout in 2008/2009 and collected tens of thousands of pounds merely for doing so.

I certainly wish I could forget it but, strangely, I can't.

I'll be honest, I claimed my rebate. I thought it was payback for continued loyalty and for the dross we had endured. So my ticket for this season worked out at £12.73 per game. But next year the same seat will rocket to £16.91 per game; a rise of 33 per cent.

Of course another sidebar is that flat-rate increases are not necessarily equitable. If you can afford the £500 to sit in the Castle or Cathedral lounges your 'one pound per game' increase is 4.5 per cent. Meanwhile the Barclay loyalists see their tickets rise by nearly half as much again, at 6.45 per cent.

I admire the club's bullishness in riding the wave of Lambo-Mania, but I am not entirely comfortable that all this extra income is going to “Paul Lambert's first team budget”.

Of course, expensive players should be better than cheap ones, but City's experience since May 2005 contradicts this (simplistic) theory and our financial situation will never improve if spending continues to outstrip income.

I know of no other club where a combination of declining league placing and higher ticket prices result in Sold Out signs on such a regular basis, and I just don't know how many more times the genie's lamp will respond to being rubbed.

t The game at Colchester was a bit of a hoot. It encompassed many of the good things about modern-day football (nice new stadium, good sight-lines, light-touch policing) and reminded us of challenges that still grate (seats exposed to the elements and a stadium that is miles away from the nearest rail station).

Added to the mix was planned engineering on the main rail line, so my day looked like this: tube to Liverpool St, train to Witham, bus to Colchester North, train to Colchester Town, beers at the Fat Cat; walk from Fat Cat to Colchester North (shuttle buses all full), taxi to ground; post-match bus to Colchester North, another bus to Witham, train to Liverpool St and finally tube to home. And public transport bosses wonder why people prefer to use their cars!

t Everyone is (rightly) getting quite excited about the stellar league form City have shown since late August (undefeated in the last 13 games, 50 points taken from a possible 66), but there is much to play for yet. I firmly believe that City & Leeds are the two class sides in this division, but Charlton, Colchester & even Swindon should not be entirely discounted.

The fixture-list has added to the uncertainty by ensuring that the top three have to visit Swindon between now and May, while the top five all have yet to visit Fortress Galpharm, home of Huddersfield Town. And how do Charlton's last three home games of the season pan out? Colchester, the mighty Canaries and Leeds!

At this stage we need to just keep doing our stuff and hope that the Injury Gods smile upon us.

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