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Future Voices: Lowering football ticket prices would be an investment in future fans

PUBLISHED: 13:00 27 April 2017

npower Championship
Norwich City Football Club v Scunthorpe United at Carrow Road.
April 2nd 2011
Wes Hoolahan

Picture: James Bass

npower Championship Norwich City Football Club v Scunthorpe United at Carrow Road. April 2nd 2011 Wes Hoolahan Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

I’m lucky enough to remember the first Norwich City game I attended. Sadly, I wonder how many young children can say that in 2017.

The fact is simple - ticket prices in football are too high. Non-football enthusiasts will ask ‘why pay it then?’ It’s a good question. Supporting a football team is an addiction - it’s an affection that is so indescribable. Only football will take you on a three and a half hour journey to watch your team lose 5-1 only to say, ‘right, what’s the next away game?’

I was angered when Norwich City announced ticket pricing for the third round FA Cup tie against Southampton in January, for a few reasons.

Firstly, the FA Cup is the greatest cup competition in the world, let the fans come and support their team in that competition. Secondly, where is the invitation for mothers and fathers to bring along their young children for a taste of live, affordable football and let them become potential Canaries fan for years to come?

This isn’t a dig at Norwich City.

Ticket pricing is an issue in football generally.

Arsenal, for example, charge north of £2,000 for a season ticket. How has the working people’s game become so expensive? Football clubs would argue they run a business and they need profit, but surely for a business like football where money is being injected by billion pound TV deals, this excuse surely doesn’t add up.

When you consider the fact that Bayern Munich’s season ticket prices are as low as £104, compared to Arsenal charging £126 per game, you can see there’s a problem in English football.

In Germany, train tickets to games are also paid for, inclusive in their match ticket. Interestingly, TV money is significantly higher in England.

But there are positives. Seeing Norwich City freeze prices again is a big bonus for supporters.

Witnessing Huddersfield Town’s release of season ticket prices and how affordable they are asks serious questions of other clubs. The twenty is plenty campaign, which calls for away tickets to cost no more than £20, is picking-up pace.

Football clubs are at a treacherous crossroads where they need to decide between fans and a bit or marginal profit, because the more fans on seats, the better their team will play.

Football teams should invest for the future, not just on the pitch, but off it too and give many young fans a day they won’t forget, their first football match.

• Can you remember your first Norwich match? Leave a comment below.

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