It seems relevant to write this now, but in truth, it also feels like the tipping point on ‘the price of football’ tipped a long time ago.
When I was growing up, my parents worked hard & fought tooth and nail to give my sister & me the best life possible during a tough time.
Things improved for my parents over the years, but I took a lot away from the years prior.
My 1st trips to football matches came too early for me to recall now (before the age of 3). The rest came at & after the age of 10. I’ve never had the opportunity to go week in, week out.
I was 18months old when I got my first official replica kit. I was 11 the next time I was gifted an official replica.
For years I made do with the not-so replica, replicas. Sow on stripes, sow on badges etc. Ironing on my Dads handcut name & number of my favourite players onto them too.
I didn’t care that it wasn’t a ‘true’ replica, it was good enough for me. Colours nailed to the mast & I made sure my parents got their money’s worth from those kits too.
That was during the ‘newborn’ phase of the Premier League.
The last time I bought Premier League tickets, don’t tell my Mum, was for my Dads birthday. September, 2013.
Again, don’t mention this to my Mum, because her birthday cost me a Moonpig card, a bouquet of flowers & some chocolates, but those tickets cost me £104.
Not even prime seats. Tucked away in a corner. Uncomfortable. Away from any type of atmosphere. £104.
The game ended in a loss for our team.
The day itself cost me closer to £150; public transport, cab, snacks, drinks, tickets, programmes.
Take away the football from that day, it was great to spend some rare time with my Dad. But for £150??? Forgive me, but I’d much rather watch the game on tele whilst eating some of my Mums sandwiches & drinking cups of tea.
In all actuality, I cannot honestly say I’ve ever been priced in.
I’ve held a job down for 11.5 of the 12 years since I left school. That’s including 3 years at University.
I’ve still never been able to justify a weekly/monthly outgoing on football.
To those that have and/or can – good for you, by the way.
My Dad & me were sat by all the stereotypes you’d associate with going to a game; those there for the first time ever, those there for the first time in a while, those there for the first time that week.
Let me tell you something too, the season ticket holders – the ‘we come ere every week’ pair of old fella’s in front of us did nothing to add to the experience. In fact, all they did was make it so my knee was crushed against a concrete beam for the entire 90 minutes. Not a peep from them until the final whistle.
The others, well let’s just say I overcringed. If you’ve never been before enjoy it, yes, but don’t make your biggest cheer of the afternoon for an opposition yellow card. Try and fit in. First day of school rules apply.
Anyway, we were the other type. We moaned, jeered, cheered & probably thought we’d be back that season.
We haven’t been since.
Recently I became a father myself. I hope my daughter & her future brothers and/or sisters will understand (in time) why I might have to take them to Conference (National League) football rather than Premier League. Why I mightn’t (be able to) get them the replica kits.
That’s if they even develop an interest.
Times have changed. Kids nowadays will sooner lose interest than wear an unbranded, DIY football kit like I did. They’d sooner lose interest than go and watch lower league instead of the ‘stars’.
We’re not in danger of pricing out future generations. There are already lost generations. My brothers-in-law are in their early 20’s and have never been to a Premier League ground to watch a game of football.
Hell, one thinks Fernando Torres’ name is Ferdinando!!!
He doesn’t care though, he’s got his other interests. And good on him. He’ll probably never get to go.
How many their age or younger are the same?
I suppose my point is, has the game been pricing enough generations IN over the past few decades?
It seems to me that the point of no return past a while back.
FYI – at the beginning of the 2015/16 season, you could buy a Borussia Dortmund season ticket for €382, roughly £296 (as per rates on Feb 8th, 2016). At the time of me writing this (Feb 8th, 2016), Tranmere Rovers of the Vanarama National League (the Conference) are advertising half season tickets for £153. [links below]
That’s one for a socio-political-economic article though…