Arsenal surcharge season ticket holders for Barcelona tie

125
Stan Kroenke

Arsenal wrote to gold members (season ticket holders) on Thursday evening to inform them that they would be placing a surcharge against their season tickets for the Champions League tie against Barcelona later this month. In an email, the club explained their rationale, that Barcelona will be rated as a “Category A” match and cup credits are broadly given a “Category B” rating.

So the difference will be charged against season ticket renewals for the 2016/17 season. Gold members will be given the option to opt out of the Barcelona tie and surrender their seat. Ordinarily, this option is only extended to members once all seven cup vouchers have been used.

Barcelona is the 7th cup credit of the season, but the club are obliged to provide an opt out option, since they are effectively introducing an extra charge outside of the season ticket price, paid last May.

In a confusingly worded email, Arsenal explained that, “As a result of our continued progress in cup competitions this season, our FA Cup Fifth Round home match against Hull City on the weekend of 19/20/21/22 February is the sixth cup credit for the 2015/16 season and will be a category C match.

“Consequently, our UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixture against FC Barcelona, to be played on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 will be our seventh cup tie credit of the season and has been designated as a category A fixture.

“Due to the number of matches played this season and the categories assigned to them, there will be an additional cost to your season ticket for the 2016/17 of [between £18-30 depending on the price of your seat]. This additional cost will be added to your renewal price for next season.”

With a new £5bn TV windfall to come this summer, adding to the already swelling pile of TV cash, the decision to make this surcharge has obviously been met with some opprobrium. The announcement isn’t especially well timed as the team falter in a winnable title race, whilst Liverpool’s decision to raise ticket prices has attracted a lot of media attention around the subject.

As well as being unnecessarily covetous, the announcement comes at a time when media focus on supporter welfare issues is high. Liverpool fans announced their plans to walk out of the next home game after 77 minutes in protest at rising prices. Whilst Leicester fans (and some Arsenal fans, myself included!) will sit out the first five minutes of the upcoming Arsenal v Leicester home match to protest Sky Sports’ late decision to alter the kickoff time.

Arsenal will surely have been hoping for a better result against Southampton prior to this announcement, but they would have needed to let supporters’ know as soon as possible to uphold their obligation to offer members the chance to opt out of the Barcelona match.

Ultimately, it feels like Arsenal have driven another chasm between themselves and the fans and this will probably manifest itself in a more bitter atmosphere at games, which seems a shame when the club are trying to reignite a title challenge.

125 COMMENTS

    • I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. I don’t get why it has to be this way. Has this always been a world where we are routinely lynched in public? It’s nobody’s fucking business. Surcharge, Kroenke, Gazidis, what the hell is that! Which guys are here and which guys aren’t here. Forget it, the fact we have to deal with this shit, it’s not our business.

      I like to talk — and I’ve spoken as clearly as I can, if that’s not good enough, I won’t say a thing. I’ll go, ‘yes sir, no sir.’ And I can do that. But fuck, I’ve been as clear as I fucking can about this team and our players, and we’ve got to deal with this shit, every fucking day, every fucking week and every fucking year into eternity.

      What they can and can’t do? Fuck me, it’s a disgrace. It’s hard enough to by one meal, let alone be bought back to the table every fucking day. I’m sick of it. That’s what I’m saying. To make it very clear, I don’t like the way that this shit’s going — at all. I don’t like it. I don’t think we know anything. And I certainly don’t think we need to see something and forget it, this needs to be a fucking world event. How do we benefit from this? How do we benefit from these fucking people? Can you answer that?

      Thumb up 65 Thumb down 7

        • In the words of the great bard MJ:

          “Annie, are you OK?
          So, Annie, are you OK?
          Are you OK Annie?
          Annie, are you OK?
          So, Annie, are you OK?
          Are you OK Annie?
          Annie, are you OK?
          So, Annie, are you OK?
          Are you OK Annie?
          You’ve been hit by
          You’ve been hit by
          A smooth criminal”

          Thumb up 6 Thumb down 50

        • In the words of MJ:


          Annie, are you OK?
          So, Annie, are you OK?
          Are you OK Annie?
          Annie, are you OK?
          So, Annie, are you OK?
          Are you OK Annie?
          Annie, are you OK?
          So, Annie, are you OK?
          Are you OK Annie?
          You’ve been hit by
          You’ve been hit by
          A smooth criminal”

          Thumb up 13 Thumb down 39

          • It will be interesting to see how much more Kronke sports Enterprises, extracts from Arsenal in next years accounts over and above this year. What’s the guess that there will be a £700,000 increase ? Thank God I gave up my ticket in 2010. As Hill-Wood said of Silent Stan – “we don’t want his sort round here !”

            Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

    • What,s that? ..we make more revenue on a match day each season than Barcelona, Munich, and Real Madrid.. why’s that you ask?

      Well its simple really.

      Its all because we charge you through the nose for the most expensive football ticket in Europe, so you can enjoy the game in our big atmosphere-less corporate arena, where foreign businessmen watch the big match through their Ipads and Tablets.

      Why you’re there, why don’t you try one of our Cheeseburgers, they only cost £10 each, or if you’re a bit chilly outside, you can always pick up a cup of tea for the bargain price of £5 a cup.

      Oh, and just to be clear, we wont sign any decent players that will potentially help us come out trumps in this years title race or in any title race for that matter, because we genuinely ‘wink wink – nudge nudge’ don’t have the money to buy anyone decent, so why bother even look?!

      Oh, and just to clarify, we wont/don’t subsidize any further costs for tickets for fixtures that crop up in the season by default just because the team jammed their way to another FA Cup tie…

      See you next year.
      ThaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnkkkkkssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssButssssssssssssBringssssssssMoresssssssssssssMoneysssssssssssssIssssssLovesssssssssMoney

      Thumb up 99 Thumb down 4

    • I used to be one of Wenger’s biggest supporters, even when every one and their dog were asking for his head. I think it’s time Arsenal move on to someone with more ambition (not to say anything about self-respect). An analogy would be taking my kid to a piano teacher. When I feel that she has nothing more to teach my kid, I’ll look for someone who can. Arsenal are regressing, not getting better. I think Arsenal fans would be fools to pay inflated prices. I for one, will stop watching Arsenal play (even on TV), until the club starts investing in some quality players who can play — today, not 5 years from now. Wenger has become a corporate manager rather than a football one. We are football fans and want quality football. All professional football clubs should have fan representation in terms of deciding who to bring in. It would be great if fans get together to organize themselves against corporate greed in football. Wenger OUT!

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      • Err what has this got to do with Wenger? I’m sure Wenger is not the one that sets ticket prices. Even if he were to leave the ticket prices would not be any cheaper

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        • Wenger is the one that chooses to not invest all the money the fans put in to improve the squad and actually challenge for major silverware. You fail see/understand that? The squad, the results the last 12 years, and his ambition doesn’t justify charging the highest ticket prices in world football. Supporters are being charged top dollar but getting “top 4” results and are now being surcharged to watch an actual top drawer side come to town. Its sickening.

          All while AW and co sit on more cash reserves than the rest of the other 19 teams in the EPL combined, but yet somehow being the only side to not sign an outfield player in all of Europe because “nobody was available to improve a his squad” (Barca for example won the treble and had a transfer ban but still found players they felt could/would improve them, crazy) and here we sit in all too comfortable 4th place in season when United and Chelsea are having historically bad seasons and a club which fought off relegation last season has been setting the pace atop the league on a budget and turnover a fraction of ours (7th highest in Europe).

          Wenger is just as much of a problem as the board and Silent Stan.

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  1. Not a season ticket holder yet but this is rather petty from Arsenal. I am not sure if the categorisation of the game had been explained when people buy their tickets as I assume this would be open to some sort of challenge otherwise. It’s even more ridiculous when you consider that whilst Barcelona may be a category ‘A’ game the same cannot be said of Hull or Burnley who must be lower than category ‘B’.

    What happens if a member opts out? Do they get the difference in cost back, the cup-credit carried forward or is that just a write off?

    Finally speaking as a non-member I would like to point out that twice now the box office for the Barcelona game has been postponed on the morning of the game to a later week. Last week was postponed to this week which has subsequently been moved to next week. It’s absurd and now I am wondering if this was the reason why?

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      • I think the ticketing systems can’t cope with the demand for the Barca tickets so it keeps on crashing when they put them on sale. I’m a silver member and it’s very frustrating because I keep on putting aside a good 45 mins to make sure I can get my hands on some!

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        • After the change to the Leicester kick-off I can no longer attend, very annoyed. I e-mailed the box office over a week ago asking to take up the offer of a refund and, surprise surprise, still no reply. Also noticeable that the club didn’t announce the refund themselves and there’s nothing to be found about it on the official website, only the Premier League announced it. Probably spending their time working out ways to fleece season ticket holders for more money…

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  2. Arsenal have the highest match day revenue in the world with £100 million (Swiss Ramble).

    The email makes it clear that it’s all about the money and holding cash. If it was about supporting the team and fans by maximising the chances of winning titles we would have spent the money and be skint, and I would gladly spent the extra £20 to help out.

    Arse#013s

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  3. Reminds me of this quote from Uli Hoeness. He might be in prison now, but think I would prefer him instead of the current Arsenal board and owners.

    “Former Bayern president Uli Hoeness once explained the rationale behind the club’s £104 season ticket price.

    “We could charge more than €130 (£104). Let’s say we charged €380 (£300). We’d get €2.5m (£2m) more in income, but what’s €2.5m to us?

    “In a transfer discussion you argue about the sum for five minutes. But the difference between €130 and €380 is huge for the fans.

    “We do not think fans are like cows, who you milk. Football has got to be for everybody.
    “That’s the biggest difference between us and England.”

    Thumb up 248 Thumb down 3

    • “The rest is for me to pocket”
      (Yes I went there even when you write “He might be in prison now” and his general sentiment is nice).

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

        • And that’s the difference between a business man and a thief. Also evading taxes still makes (or saves) you money.

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          • Unfortunately there is a very thin line between thiefs and big business men these days. And in Hoeness’ defense – at least he didn’t steal the Club from the fans.

            I would still prefer a member-owned Club With a Crook as the president, instead of a Club owned and run by People who don’t care about the fans…

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  4. Increase prices for season ticket holders and can’t even
    open up barca tickets to silver members due to their sheer incompetence…disgraceful treatment of fans.

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

    • Exactly what I was thinking. They can also deduct the amounts for the two previous Cat C ties against Burnley and Sunderland.

      Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  5. Re the 5 mins, most fans will be forced to carry this out anyway due to the ridiculous new search system.
    Block B now has a female only search line which is ridiculous, by all means have a female steward designated to search them but also have a male steward to search the blokes as well.
    It now causes long delays and congestion onto to walk way and ironically and obviously God forbid this ever happens but should the event hey are trying to prevent actually happen it will cause maximum carnage due to to he numbers now forced to que.
    Sort it out Arsenal and stick up your Arse along with this outrageous surcharge

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    • How does the search system now work Trippy? I have not been to a game since it was implemented but am coming over for the Leicester game. Just interested to see how much time I should leave to be searched.

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  6. How about a boycott or sit out the first half then. It’s not like the club is broke. I know it’s Barcelona but if we stay away then we send a clear message. Besides its not like we are delivering like Barcelona on the trophy front which might have made this more palatable

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    • No one is going to sit out the first half of Arsenal vs Barcelona and the club also know that few season ticket holders will forego the game, especially when the cost is deferred to later in the year.

      That’s how they get away with it.

      Thumb up 36 Thumb down 2

    • Afraid that message won’t be heard so long the fans keep on paying for tickets, merchandise and TV-subscriptions. The board won’t listen until the seats in the stadium remain empty for the full 90 minutes…

      Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

    • I always thought Arsenal cared about the supporters. The ticket prices being high just so we can compete at the top level and push us to challenge the likes of Barca.

      I guess I was wrong. I guess Arsenal only really care about making more money.

      Maybe it is just the owner calling the shots, but it is sad. Wenger will get stick for it as always, but anyone who knows the guy will be aware that he wants success above income.

      Any other line of “business” and this simply won’t happen.

      Disgusted.

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  7. I noticed that too. I was waiting for the Red member tickets today and saw that the on sale date had been changed to the 10th. Quite weird…

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    • They’ve actually changed the date for ticket sales 4 times, I’ve emailed them to ask why but haven’t heard back yet. It’s ridiculous, but maybe this explains why. They were going on sale to red members on the 2nd, then the 6th, then the 10th. It’s ridiculous.

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      • It’s because the box office has collapsed every time they’ve put them on sale to Silvers, the day before Reds. I’m a Silver and have had to organise time three times now to try and buy. We sit in the online queue for 45 mins and then a message comes up saying the sale is postponed.

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  8. Embarrasing! I saw Barca in my season ticket allocation last time they were around. A deal is a deal. Arsenal are now going against their traditions by doing this. Shameful!

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  9. Since Arsenal have only invested 15 million on players the last 12 months I find that is really taking the Mickey.

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 1

  10. I’m not a season ticket holder but what a joke. We already pay the most for tickets + the bumper tv deals as mentioned, you’re telling me they can’t afford to cover the £30 cost? Even if it meant missing out on £30 for 60,000 tickets it would still only be £1.8million, 1.8mil that we will inevitably not spend in the summer. We are classy club but it’s about time the supporters got something back in return for all the money spent over the decade at the Emirates

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  11. Jasus that’s harsh pay extra to watch the lads choke and get hammered 5-0 great timing after 3 league games without a goal. Wtf

    Thumb up 39 Thumb down 1

    • The club should be paying the fans to sit through the inevitable humiliation. Given the financial situation at Arsenal this price increase makes no sense

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. I’m so furious about this. We’re not getting a g.d. discount for drawing category C teams in the cup – I feel like the numbers must balance out in the end. It’s unbelievable how out of touch this decision was. And we don’t decide how the ST works, THEY’VE chosen the ‘seven cup fixtures’ allocation. I’ve already paid for this fucking ticket.

    The Powers That Be are pricks. In case we needed more evidence.

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  13. This modern football malarky sure is fun, eh?

    Between price gouging, articles on “five things we learned about Joey Barton’s flaming hoop this weekend”, overflowing digital gutters of “opinion” and sickening criminal club owners you might be able to see a thin slither of a game called football.

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  14. Woo! Money grab!

    You could actually hear the dollar signs rack up in their eyes when we pulled Barcelona.

    Likely held off the announcement hoping we’d turn in some good results but they ran out of time. Cynical, me?

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  15. I will be writing to arsenal, contract lawyer who sits next to me is currently going through the fine print. The issue is that they are varying the terms, but as they are effectively offering a full refund if you don’t want to pay extra there is a fair bit of wriggle room. Morally it is of course completely reprehensible!

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  16. A protest that would hurt the club financially and not the fans is to boycott the beer and food in the stadium.

    If this was organised, it could be a threat that would cost the club far more than the Barcelona surcharge.

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    • No booze at CL matches thanks to UEFA. Otherwise I would boycott that. Refreshing statement form the club in many ways. Stopped pretending we have a chance of getting through to the quarters by rinsing us for everything they can now.

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      • Great idea.

        I recommend for every fan to abandon buying any drinks or food in the stadium as a protest – something like this can make a real statement. On average people must spend at least £5 on food and beverages x 55,000 (our seating allocation?) = minimum £275,000.

        This is all about the money. The owner or decision makers behind this will only stop if the “protest” hits them financially.

        So hit them where it hurts so we can try enjoy us get hammered by Barca!

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        • It is an excellent idea, although Arsenal actually don’t get the revenue from food and drinks sold so it would really just annoy the catering company. An alternative would be for people to stay clear of the club shops on the day of the game.

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  17. Greedy Bastards. I would happily pay more if the club really needed it and was not allready feckin neck deep in cash.

    It is not hard to understand why so many Gooners quit supporting the club and now enjoy lower league football instead. Like a friend of mine said it sometimes feel like the club as we knew it somewhere along the line just died and all thats left of it is it’s shell.

    And after the club past away the Shell was found and populated by this greedy soulless American corporation who only use the shell as a facade pretending to be the same old club we all loved so much so they can profit off its loyal fans.

    Maybe he got a point.

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  18. Am I missing something here? A season ticket includes 19 home premier league games and the FIRST SEVEN cup ties. I would urge season ticket holders to look into this because contractually that does not seem in order. Incredible that this club thinks that categorisation of matches should apply to season ticket holders who pay out in full weeks before the start of the season. This club regularly markets itself as a pioneer in the football world, but lets face it, that is drifting with the introduction of Kroenke and cheap tricks like this.

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  19. This has come about due to Arsenal playing Bayern in the Group stage this year. Because the seeding changed we got a top seeded team which the club (fairly obviously) wanted to charge Cat A prices for – prices which the Bayern fans protested at the time!

    In terms of the T&Cs the club it seems the club have the right to do it (as we will be having 7 Cat A games) but it’s really stupid. It doesn’t even make that much financial sense as the club will be getting Cat A income for all the Silver and Red tickets for the Barca game and they will have done the same for the Bayern game.

    I tend to (stupidly) stick up for Arsenal in the great “most expensive season ticket” debate by playing my “but we get 7 cup vouchers!” card. I think I’m done with that now

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  20. Ok, I don’t want to be the one to come in Silent Stans defence, but then again…

    I don’t get the outlash. It has been said at the begining of the year, that season ticket holders have acecs to 6 cup games. It just so happens that Barcelona game is the 7th. Why is this a problem? Should club give away free tickets just because supporters are disgruntled?

    I agree that ticket prices are overly expe nsive, but even that isn’t the case here. 10-25 pounds for game with Barcelona isn’t that much, when you compare it with regular ticket price.

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    • For a start, it’s totally unprecedented. They have never done this before and I’ve been a ST holder since 1992. They’ve varied their t’s and c’s over half way through the season, 9 months after the ticket was paid for. They can do so legally by offering to give you the chance to opt out. Secondly, Bayern at home in the group stages was also a category A match, which is also unprecedented. We’ve been top seeds for years in the group stage so the group games have always been Cat B. So we were charged extra because Arsenal fell out of Pot A for the group stage draw.

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      • Why do they have the chance to opt out? You’ve bought the ticket already. They can’t just increase price and say take a refund if you don’t like it. It’s your ticket, they can’t do anything with it.

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        • I’m just thinking out loud here, but I think it’s covered by the fact that they’re not charging anything for this season ticket, as otherwise it would constitute a counter offer by Arsenal in relation to the cost of this season’s season ticket. This based on the fact that they have accepted the fans’ offers in relation to the price of the ticket (i.e. when they pressed ‘pay’ that constitutes their offer to Arsenal, which was subsequently accepted and a ticket issued).

          With the money being added to next season’s ticket, it is effectively saying that your ‘offer’ for next season includes the additional money incurred for this match.

          Accordingly, if you don’t renew your season ticket for next season I assume they can’t charge you anything for this match.

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    • Since everyone else is down-voting this without bothering to explain.

      The season ticket includes seven cup games, and the Barcelona game is the seventh; which means it is covered.

      What the club is trying to do is retroactively charge more for a ticket that all season ticket holders have already bought.

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  21. Good on the fans who walk out in protest at these ridiculous price increases. You would think the money they get from TV rights would be enough? Good article Tim. I hope the Liverpool fans walking out after 77 minutes will become a trend across the whole premier league.

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  22. This is being done so the clubs coffers swell so Kronke can find is NFL Rams move. The sooner we get a new owner the better.

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  23. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated Thumb up 2 Thumb down 59

  24. Seriously everybody, what do you think of the idea of a walkout? Let’s leave the stadium empty for the game. They would never do anything like this again! Capitulate, and it’s as good as acceptance.

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    • The only realistic option here would be if a significant proportion of season ticket holders opted out of the game, putting 10s of thousands of tickets back on the market less than 3 weeks before the game.

      If you are going to vote with your feet; do it properly. While it is a Barcelona game, it is also a midweek, category A fixture. If the club resell all of the seats, then good luck to them.

      Making it happen is hard for all kinds of reasons; not least there is only a week to opt out.

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  25. Well, well, doesn’t this just confirm what our club has become, a cash cow for the already stinking rich yank! With Wenger being complicit. Keep the dough rolling in Arsene.

    How very sad

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  26. Ticketmaster and AFC have also fucked up two (TWO!) days when tickets SHOULD have gone on sale for Silver Members….
    Obviously this juggling of prices has lead to the “technical error” spin, in my opinion.
    Ripped off by a club we give our money to.

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  27. Fans would like to think Arsenal has a ‘style’ of football. The board knows it is just another ‘brand’ of football which is marketable.

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  28. This is all very American, you should see how they fleece us at NFL games. Couldn’t go foe less than 250 per person. Complain all you want about you 6 quid pies but how about 12 dollar hotdogs and 15 dollar beers.

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  29. Outrageous … It should all be part of our season tkt price regardless of who we play …very clever knowing were getting knocked out anyway

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  30. I hope we (arsenal) are not hammered 7:0 just like my friends from the other side by Barcelona. ….what am saying let ticket prices match club ambition….period!!! Otherwise Wenger should consider quiting!!!

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  31. The board needs to get realistic about the value of the product they’re selling.

    We aren’t the best team in the world, by quite some distance, so it is unreasonable to charge the highest ticket prices in world football.

    First put together the world’s best football team, then charge the world’s highest prices to watch them.

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    • Unfortunately the club won’t care if you do – it’ll mean the same money for them, either way.

      The only protest that will affect them is one that hits their pockets. Even though it’s only a small gesture I agree with Perrygrovesshorts’s suggestion to not buying any of the ‘products’ on sale in the stadium. Something as invisible as this would affect them far greater than an empty stadium – as long as the tickets are paid for, what do they care? It’s not like there’s any atmosphere in the stadium as it is, with all the day-trippers having a nice day-out, filming the match on their iPads.

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  32. I had an email exchane with the box office last year when they charged gold members grade a prices for the bayern match as it was the 8th tie. I was under the impression we played a flat price for 26 games as we were loyal fans who stumped up over a grand 2 months before a ball is kicked year in, year out. HOW WRONG I WAS! no apparently we pay to watch the opposition and are charged accordingly. It was pointed out to me that why should i pay the same to watch coventry in the cup as Bayern? But i come to see arsenal i protested, no matter who we play, ah they, if you don’t like it give up your ticket! I don’t think they like us really….

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  33. Why is the Wenger out brigade here, it’s nothing to do with him. We can moan about it or the simple answer which is also the most difficult, is to not pay and don’t go to the game. A half empty stadium for the whole game hits them more than a empty stadium for 5 mins but everyone has paid anyway so it doesn’t matter! It’s time fans did this and why can’t it start with the fans who pay the most now? We all need to grow a pair and just do it

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    • Because he’s responsible for the product on the pitch, and if you’re going to charge the highest prices in World football then you need your manager to provide the best team in World football.

      Wenger doesn’t even attempt to sign the World’s best players, let alone build the World’s best team. This is where Wenger appears to show no sympathy towards the fan’s at all with his constant talk of “no value in the market” completely ignoring what value his team provide for the fan through the gate.

      Personally i do exactly what you suggest and am no longer prepared to pay for a ticket when the club isn’t prepared to match the level of investment that the fans through the turnstile make and Wenger is a willing and active accomplice in this process.

      I have absolutely no problem with the team not winning as long as i feel a sincere effort has been made with the money and resources available to them to be the best they can be, that is something i haven’t felt the club has been doing for several years now.

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    • What can Wenger do?

      I bet he is just as annoyed as any fan is right now.

      It is a serious issue in football, has been for some time. Every Arsenal fan knows where Wenger stands on this topic. Just imagine if he publicly condemned this decision… He won’t do it though as it would cause a media frenzy, could cost him his job, and also derail our season.

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  34. Every year they massively ramp up the cost of renewing silver membership – last summer it exceeded £50 for the first time. £50 to essentially remain on their system and to have exactly the same right to buy a ticket as before (no chance of cup finals though…). Again, they know that people will pay because that’s the only way to access tickets easily. Is there any other walk of life where you annually pay £50 just to buy the right to buy something else?!

    Liverpool fans have got this right and fans of all teams need to stick together more over these issues. Starting with people making a stand against Leicester next week by not taking up their seat for the first 5 minutes. The club might hate it but the fans do have a say and can be influential if enough of us are pushing in the same direction at the same time.

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  35. Rather than take the opt out option, you can sell a pair of tickets for this game upwards of £500 .Might as well put that to next years ticket. The club are forcing the supply on to the touts.

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  36. Coincidentally, I was thinking last night about how much PL fans get bent over a barrel by the clubs, including Arsenal. They charge ridiculous prices for a single ticket under the pretext that it was for paying for the new stadium, this also meant that they had to sell players and not invest money into the team. Along comes this new TV deal, which means that the club will be rich beyond its wildest dreams. So how do they reward the fans who stuck by them throughout the move to the new stadium and the subsequent ‘fallow years’? They really show their colours: they don’t invest in the team and they pull further money-grabbing stunts such as this. Alan Davies’ rant on the Tuesday Club podcast for me illustrates how lifelong Arsenal fans from London must be feeling – absolutely f*cking livid.

    I’m an overseas supporter. I’ve done the Stadium Legends Tour (with Perry Groves-fantastic, I bet he’s got an opinion on this!), but I’ve yet to see Arsenal play live. At this rate, I’m not sure I’ll want to give Kroenke another cent. And while it’s easy for me to write from the other side of the planet, there really is only one way that the Arsenal® Corp. Ltd. will listen: mass walk outs. Money talks. The TV money won’t last if the team is playing in a stadium that is only 3/4 full. It’s time for them to pay the fans back for their loyalty and it’s time for the fans to make them.

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  37. Arsene Wengers greatest achievement.. The invincible year? Winning multiple FA cups? Guiding us to fourth place or better every year?… No his greatest achievement is by far and away putting up for the past decade with the twats that run this football club.

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  38. Final money grabbing straw. Sick of paying a fortune and watching a team with the feeble ambition of getting into the top 4 every season and claiming that as success. It’s a sport and we deserve the best team paid for with the most revenue in the world. Extorting more money out of us is just a cynical way of telling us we really don’t matter. It’s about time our American owner was replaced by someone that actually values football and it’s fans and want’s to compete with the likes of Barcelona and Bayern and not just see them as cash cow games. At the end of the day being Arsenal and paying the highest season ticket price in the world every game is a cat A game, isn’t it?? I hate what the club has become. I will always be an Arsenal fan but next season will be watching football at Orient! Kroenke out! Boycott one whole match before the end of the season in protest!

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  39. Cannot believe this ‘surcharge’! Like a lot of people, for me these Cup credits offset ( a little!!) the frankly extortionate cost of our season tickets. However, this surcharge sets a very nasty precedent. if this was done to someone like Chelsea, Spuds, etc. I would smile but the ‘give with one hand (price freeze) then snatch back with the other (surcharge)’ simply takes the pee. Someone is probably sitting in the finance office thinking ‘I know, lets see if we can get away with this….’!!
    Personally, forget the walk-out, the club already has our money, they wouldn’t give a flying f#*k. A better display of dissatisfaction – particularly live on TV against, say, Leicester – would be a silent protest by ALL supporters for 5 or 10 minutes at the start of the second half. This may well be overdubbed (they do that anyway) but since the Board don’t follow social media and exist in a rarefied atmosphere, a silent stadium during a league game is not something easy to ignore – unless you live on the other side of the Atlantic. Even then, the message would get across – eventually.
    Just a thought.

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  40. Yes it’s money grubbing. Yes it’s bad PR. Yes it’s treating the most loyal fans like shit. But my question is: do they have a legal basis for the charge. I have just read the Ts&Cs. They certainly say that the ticket is based on there being 6 Cat A, 6 Cat C and 14 Cat B but I can’t find anything that says they are entitled to charge extra if it doesn’t work out like that; there is mention of an entirely discretionary refund if less than* those numbers are played but that’s only mention of something happening in terms of the number by category as opposed to the total number. Even if there were something in the Ts&Cs then they’d need to behave equitably which means if they charge extra because there are more then 6 Cat A games (there are 7: 5 in the league plus Bayern and Barcelona) then they should give a refund if there are more that 6 Cat C (and, again there are 7: 5 in the league – including rather amusingly the upcoming Leicester game – plus Burnley and Hull).

    So my view (as a chartered accountant with lots of experience of contracts, but not a lawyer) is that they can’t have the swings without the roundabouts. especially as the Ts&Cs don’t seem to give them the swings in the first place. There must be plenty of lawyers among the season ticket holders so come on: anybody fancy seeing if Stan can make it stand up in court?

    * Note to the grammar police: yes, I know it should be ‘fewer than’ but you’ll have to take that up with the semi-literate oaf who wrote the TS&Cs; I’m just quoting them.

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  41. We’re 5 point off the top with 14 games to go. That is hardly “faltering in a winnable title race”. Anyway, if we were 5 points ahead in the title race would everyone accept the surcharge? Just saying. Let’s just win this title this year and it’ll all be worth it in the end…

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  42. There is no way fans will boycott a single minute of the Barca game and the club know’s it, but what might be a good idea is if they decide to leave those poxy plastic bags on the seats for this match they should all end up on the pitch as a form of protest. 60,000 plastic bags or flags on the pitch just before kick-off would send some sort of message. It really is a disgraceful decision by the club.

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  43. This is the email I sent to the club. I won’t expect a reply:

    Dear Sir,
    Considering the disregard and contempt with which you hold the supporters of Arsenal Football club I doubt anyone will bother reading this email, let alone taking the time to reply, but I will write it nevertheless.

    I wanted to express to you my utter disgust at your decision to decide to increase the price of a ticket that has already been paid for 9 months in advance.

    Irrespective of the dubious legality of agreeing the sale price for a product, and having that product paid for, only to be informed by email that the seller has decided to increase the price and will proceed to take the increased fee at a later date, the c. £1.0m that this decision will raise will cost the club far more over the long-term in the loss of goodwill and alienation of the fan base. When you take this into consideration with the fact that Arsenal did not need this money (they have amassed a small fortune in cash balances, they are about to benefit from a recently increased TV deal which dwarfs anything else in world football, Arsenal supporters already pay more to attend matches than any other club in the world, the club’s financial health allows it to pay a dividend (albeit in the form of a “payment for services”)), the decision simply beggars belief. In terms of a PR own-goal, this is even worse than Sir Chips Keswick’s disastrous performance at last year’s AGM.

    Asking for an extra £20 for this game at this juncture, on the basis that the tickets paid for in advance were deemed Category B, is petty to say the least. Would Arsenal not have found it petty if the supporters had asked for a refund because the cup games against Bournemouth and Sunderland would have been Category C?

    In any case, you can have the £20, of course. It is a relatively small amount of money (relative to the thousands of pounds that I’ve spent supporting Arsenal over the last 30 odd years). It is the principal that leaves a sour taste in the mouth. And because of that principal I will recoup my £20 multiple times over by never again buying any Arsenal merchandise for myself or any member of my family. I will ask my family never to buy any of my children Arsenal merchandise from the club. I will never again spend a single penny within the stadium on a matchday. By my rough (but conservative) calculation, the £20 that you have arbitrarily and unilaterally decided to take from me will reduce the club’s future revenues by thousands of pounds.

    In my opinion, in future, whoever is making these decisions should consider that the large amounts of money generated by Premier League football clubs essentially comes from being able to sell the worldwide broadcasting rights to a premium product. An integral part of this product is the unique atmosphere created in the stadia, which contributes to the fast and relentless style of football in England. If clubs continue to treat the fans with such contempt, they will become disenfranchised, and find other ways to spend their time and their money. Gradually the power of the atmosphere, for which English football is famous throughout the world, will fade away. Whether then TV companies will view English football as something worth paying so much money for will be debatable.

    Incidentally, perhaps you could put some of this money to good use by employing some more stewards on the turnstiles and training them properly so that they are able to carry out their security searches quickly. By simply observing the current system, and noting the amount of time that the turnstiles are not being used, it is clear that it is very inefficient. Telling 60,000 people to arrive earlier is not a viable solution, especially for a weekday evening match when the majority of people are having to come from work. At the last match against Southampton, people were still taking their seats fifteen minutes into the game. I’d imagine that this is just as distracting for the players as it is for the spectators. It was noticeable that the atmosphere was extremely muted at the start of the game, and that the players did not seem to me as switched on as usual.

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  44. I wonder how the conversation took place in the Arsenal board.
    Stan : “We have been on a winless run in the league and the fans seem to be upset. We need to do something.”
    Ivan : “How about we increase the price of the match against Barcelona.”
    Stan : “Excellent idea, Ivan. That’s why I pay you 2 million per year.”

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  45. Solution: if Arsenal win and go through to the next round, the fans pay the surcharge. Otherwise, not only is there no surcharge, but an amount equivalent to the surcharge is refunded for our disappointment.

    Maybe all games should be like this. With the current of form we’d be able to afford a pricey cuppa tea to soothe us.

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  46. Stan’s gotta pay for the new stadium in Los Angeles somehow or another. Truly sorry for all of you affected by this; it’s pure garbage.

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  47. Those pointing out that this has everything to do with the NFL (like Yankee Gooner) are correct. But more significantly–and this has been said before, obviously–you just need to look at how Kroenke has run his American teams to understand what’s going on with Arsenal. He’s a thoroughly typical owner in American sports: the number-crunchers have realized that the best way to make money is to spend just enough to be competitive and give fans hope for improvement. Next season, repeat. And repeat again. Major League Baseball even launched an investigation a few years ago to figure out if teams were deliberately trying to finish in the middle of the pack. Winning titles costs money; losing consistently also costs money. The sweet spot is finishing 4th, getting into the Champions League every year and extracting more and more money from fans. So yes, Brent, LA will have a team, but you can look forward to a lot of 8-8 seasons. I’m pretty sure that Kroenke sees absolutely nothing wrong at Arsenal right now. I’ve mentioned this on this site already, but when Kroenke took majority control, Sean Wheelock said on the World Football Phone-In that Arsenal fans should be very, very concerned. But I also agree absolutely with those here who argue for concrete action rather than resignation and despair.

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  48. It’s called chancing your luck/arm.

    You keep it going until your customers eventually get fed up paying £10 for a burger with a hair in it. Then you Readjust your strategy accordingly. I . Fucking E you’ve been caught out so do the decent thing by the people you’ve been shovelling shit too and drop the prices. Prick!

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  49. Result. The club have retracted the decision to charge the surcharge

    The response is mealy mouthed and infers ticket holders are stupid rather than it was a stupid thing to have done.

    The message will continue to need to be reinforced. It’s expensive enough

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  50. With Kroenke being American, and I’m in the US, I can tell you, our attitude about things like this is very different. We’re expected to accept price increases because we’re expected to accept that everything is a business, and no business owes anybody anything. They exist only to make money, and we all pretty much just accept it, especially since sports is a non-essential service. I opened the link to the Liverpool story, haven’t read it yet but I see they have a banner saying “supporters not customers.” But their owners are American too, which means, guess what, to them you ARE customers, and it IS a business. (They should thank their lucky stars that they were bought by Red Sox owners, one of 2 US sports organizations that at least understand the stadium thing, or they’d be sitting a new corporate stadium of their own right now.)

    Personally, I find it refreshing that not everybody shares this attitude. That to some, things other than business and money are sometimes more important. Here, if money is at stake, it always wins. The corporation who sets the price always wins.

    But for all the business acumen of those who make these decisions, the idea of pricing thmselves out of the market never seems to be considered. Usually, competitors see it as an opportunity to raise their prices too so the market itself shifts. Rarely will they realize their mistake and lower the price, they may just “freeze” it for a while, as again, happened with Arsenal ticket prices.

    I’m definitely not trying to justify this attitude, just explain it. Kroenke WILL run Arsenal as an American-style business. The more American owners you get in football (soccer, LOL), the more of this you will see. To him, why would he invest in a business if not to make maximum profit from it? That is the ONLY thing driving his decisions.

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    • Lizzie’s description is correct. Where I do think American sports fans are deluded is in their belief that it’s a fact of nature that the more a team wins, the more profit it earns. Thus we don’t see maximum profit as a problem because we assume that this means that ownership is naturally interested in winning titles in order to make more money. My local NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys, clearly disproves this myth–they’ve had very little success in the last twenty years and are the second-most valuable sports franchise in the world (according to Forbes) behind Real Madrid (who of course have had success). In short, precisely what is going on at Arsenal. Sorry to go on about American sports, but unfortunately, as Lizzie suggests, Arsenal’s American owner explains all-too-well what’s going wrong at the club right now.

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      • Generally I support my team.

        It doesn’t stop me feeling that I’m being ripped off.

        We have the highest season ticket in England (does this mean in the world?) to watch football. By your reckoning, that should mean we win the most. Clearly we don’t.

        Mounting a consistent challenge (not scraping 4th) would be good.

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