Manchester City have reportedly returned 800 unsold tickets for this Sunday’s clash at the Emirates with evidence suggesting their fans are deliberately boycotting the game in protest at the £62 price tag being charged by Arsenal.
Arguably victims of their own success, the reigning Premier League champions are now considered ‘Category A’ opposition by the Gunners box office which implements equally high prices for clashes against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and big European clubs.
While two lower categories of pricing are put in place for less attractive visitors there’s nothing hiding the fact that with travel, a matchday programme, booze and food thrown in it’s a ridiculously expensive jaunt to N5.
Angry at being charged £11 more this year than last to watch their side play Arsenal in the Premier League, City fans took to a popular message board in anger.
“Won’t be going to any London away games this year, the prices take the piss,” wrote one Citizen supporter.
To which another replied: “Don’t go then, the only way to get these prices reduced is by people not going in large numbers.”
Another noted: “Remember, teams can’t charge away fans more than the cheapest seats they offer their own supporters! …and these are Arsenal’s cheapest seats!! It’s fucking scandalous!”
Further reaction from City fans…
“This has to stop. It has to fucking stop! The game has to be boycotted otherwise we are encouraging all clubs to charge us this much. Football in Engkand is becoming a joke of a sport for a load of public school Tarquins with double-barrell surnames. Prices this high affect every single club, long term.”
“Fuck me – That is a quarter of my season ticket pal. Without food,drink etc. Absolutely ridiculous.”
“Southampton fans should have boycotted us the prices we charged them. Fcking scandalous. One day hopefully football fans will say enough is enough and stop going.only then will clubs take note and do something about it.”
“£62 after Christmas and New Year is a pisstake. I’m not paying it.”
“A significant day needs organising between the FSF and other Organisations where all fans in this league boycott together…so the home/away ends will be empty, only the clueless daytripper types will be sat on their own. Then they will pay attention. even if you have paid for a ticket. a mass boycott needs organising. if you are a true football fan you will boycott. I know i would. for the longterm future of the fan.”
It’s worth noting at this point that 5,000 City fans did take advantage of £10 tickets to watch Sergio Aguero knock us out of the Carling Cup last season; a ticketing policy implemented to ensure top level football remains accessible to the next generation and one which has been broadly praised.
Nevertheless, given that the cheapest seat available for home supporters this Sunday is £62 with the most expensive ‘terrace’ ticket hitting the dizzying £126 mark it’s pretty obvious that prices in general have spiralled out of control at the higher end of the market.
Realistically, unless a rigid ticket capping structure is imposed somehow by the game’s authorities there’s little to suggest these prices will be reduced while Arsenal remains an attractive club to watch.
The alternative could be the return of standing on terraces like that seen at Germany’s Bundesliga clubs. It’s an idea which Arseblog News certainly agrees with in principle and one which Ivan Gazidis touched on in June 2011 and Arsene Wenger recently spoke about:
“I would love people to be able to stand and I would love to have people behind the goal for example,” the boss told press ahead of the recent 7-3 win over Newcastle.
“If it is only seating, you cannot stand up. Yes [I would be in favour], 100 per cent [of safe standing].”
Food for thought.