Posted by: John | May 27, 2008

Football and money: Am i missing something?

Seems, according to Today prog, that ticket prices may have to increase.

Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas. I’ve never understood why those football fans don’t wield their consumer power more by going on strike until the clubs get their own houses in order. After all, the prices seem to cost a fortune.

Is there an elephant in the room? Ah yes, I know what we can do – cut the players’ wages! I’ve never understood either how people kicking a football about doing something that is basically a hobby receive so much renumeration. I’m not talking about the smaller down league clubs but the big clubs.

Simple: Sorry sonny can’t pay you xxx million has to be xxx thousands.



  1. Top-flight footballers earn the wages they do as their talent produces the end-product which millions of people are prepared to pay a lot of money to watch. Whether or not it is a hobby is irrelevant – my job involves writing, which I also consider a hobby, but this bares no influence at all on how much I get paid to turn up at 9am every day. Many people are involved in acting and drama as a hobby, yet Hollywood actors are still paid vast sums (which often dwarf footballers’ salaries) because their presence in films raises, literally, tens of millions of dollars. Personally I consider the Hollywood ‘star’ industry to be complete madness, but I accept that not all film-watchers as indifferent to ‘star names’ as myself, and thus the market for big names exists.

    Similarly football ticket prices are high because we, the supporters, are prepared to stump up such high prices – if we were not, then rather than some kind of demand-side strike, we could just exercise the market by not turning up individually.

    To slightly contradict myself, I do think there is one problem with high prices – namely that clubs often take advantage of the elasticity of demand for short-term advantage, when they would be better off looking for long-term profit (which would involve subsidising younger fans in the short-run). Of course this would be less of a problem if there was more ownership by supporters’ trusts, and safe standing areas would also help, but I’ll resist going off on either tangent.

    One further point, though – my season ticket (at a ‘top four’ club) has increased by just 4.5% over the last two years, which I believe is roughly in line with inflation.

  2. I agree with the original post but I also accept the comments of Julian H that footballers can charge what they like. That’s life…

    Last season I went twice to mighty non-league Oxford Utd and had a thoroughly good time both times. However, the ticket prices of £19 would stop me from going more often so there is a small lesson there for the clubs: I would go to football regularly with my son – probably not every week but definitely once a month – if ticket prices were lower, perhaps around the £10 mark. The result would be that their long term income over the year and their fan base would probably be higher.

    The one thing which did come out of seeing the bizarrely named ‘U’s’ is that lower league football is a thousand times beter than the prissy falling over, hissy fits and tantrums that characterise the top level game of over paid foreign ‘stars’.

  3. There’s no doubt that if they wanted clubs could drastically reduce the amount that they pay their players, but like energy companies on the subject of lowering their prices…who’s going to do it without a unilateral agreement from all others involved in the business?

  4. W&W’s Point 1 – clubs (that do not sell out) would likely do better with more fans packed in at lower prices. Totally agree.

    W&W’s Point 2 – non-League better than top flight. Totally disagree. £19 to see Oxford United? Pah! For an extra dozen quid you can see the sublime little genius Cesc strutting his stuff, embarrassing the poor, delusional ‘midfielders’ in enemy colours. Worth a day’s wages in itself. Then again, I haven’t seen any lower-league football live for a few years now. Used to see Orient every now and again. £7 for students, I seem to recall.

  5. Julian, the first Oxford Utd game I saw was a 3-1 thriller with the ‘U’s’ mad goalkeeper conceding the first goal then brilliantly saving two spot kicks in the first half before his team ran riot. How often do to floght games have more than one or two goals for any team other than boring, boring Chelsea or cheating, cheating Man U?

    Non league is football at a pace you can understand.

    £29 to see one of the ‘big four’ is just a joke. You’re welcome at the Kassam for a proper match next season.

  6. Hmm, well a look at the last day of the season’s results don’t match that.

    Boro 8 – 1 Citeh
    Birmingham 4 – 1 Blackburn
    Derby 0 – 4 Reading

    And so on. In fairness I believe (without looking it up) that there are more goals the lower down one goes. This, however, is not necessarily a good thing as a mass of goals does not equate to quality football – in fact, there is possibly a trend in the opposite direction. A few seasons ago I went to Fulham v Blackburn, which I recall ended something like 5 – 3 (to Blackburn). It was rubbish. Worst top flight game I’d seen in years. The plethora of goals didn’t make up for Fulham’s indifference nor Blackburn’s (then) complete lack of quality nor the gaps between the goals which were utterly mind-numbing. Thus I would much rather watch a decent, low-scoring game (at any level) with battles of skill, tactics, teamwork, discipline and so on, than a Sunday-League-Laurel-and-Hardy-esque goal-fest. The tendency in England to over-appreciate high-scoring games (and synonymise them with ‘exciting’ games) and reluctance to focus on defending when analysing is symptomatic of our rather embarrassing lack of decent managers and inability to understand this sport.

    Anyway, that’s yet another tangent; and the beauty of free choice is that any disagreement here is academic as we can continue to happily make our different choices in any case.

  7. What type of football do you yourself play?

    Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

    Very impressive that this blog is syndicated through Google and is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

    Soccer / Football greats you should write about next!

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