What is the real cost of football to the supporters?
Football has fast become more than just a game, it has become big business over the years, and like many businesses it has struggled over the last couple of years of recession.
As supporters, we are having to pay more and more, not just because of ever-increasing ticket prices, but also because of mistakes made by boards who have lost control of their costs and because of ‘top players’ who are lining their own pockets richly by draining supporters pockets like ours.
The Premier League is described as the richest league in the world, and a lot of money is undeniably going in to football, and also going out to the players, but who is really benefiting?
Sky and sponsorship certainly put their money in, but we - the supporters - are having to pay that back with interest, not only in the ever-increasing subscriptions to watch the games on TV, but also the increasing prices on the products we buy.
Despite all this money flowing into the game, it was only last week that Portsmouth (the first Premier League club to go into administration) came very close to being the next in line to bite the dust, and even Liverpool had to go to Court because their owners did not want to sell at a loss.
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Why are clubs still making so many losses? Where is the money going? Why is there not an even fair share cash feed down to the lower leagues?
‘Greed’ is an ugly word, yet people at the forefront of football as well as the clubs stand by and say it is ‘just part of the modern game’. Time and time again we see the ‘top players’ holding clubs to ransom for even more money despite the fact that the rest of us are having to tighten our belts and cut our costs to survive.
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Football was once called a game for the people, and played by the working class, but these days it seems less a game for the man/woman in the street, but more of a game for the wealthy and elite.
Norwich is known as a family club, but even our board are facing choices which are unpopular with fans, starting with the increasing prices for food from the kiosks to ticket prices for the casual supporter. Next year’s season tickets are being priced as I write this, but I wonder how much more we can take?
With the additional hidden costs of rising petrol and travelling costs added on to the rest of the increases, how long will it take for football to become an expensive luxury that we look back on as we remember the days when we could afford to go to every game?
As supporters we need to speak out and say enough is enough - whether clubs need to enforce a wage cap, or whether players should reduce their own demands and cut down like the rest of us, I am not sure, but I do know that they all need to do something soon before we lose the beautiful game to the administrators and liquidators.
On the Ball City.
• Visit our website, ncisa.co.uk, for details of a Fans Forum with Kevin Drinkell and Ken Brown. Whilst you are there see how you can win some really great prizes in the NCISA Christmas Raffle