It would appear that football is recession proof, or football fans are just oblivious to the fact there is a recession… either way this wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the clubs themselves didn’t realise this! Sadly, they do and as a result, ticket prices for most teams are on the rise. Many loyal fans, some of whom you may know or have met down the years, have been attending less and less games and it saddens me that we, as a collective, can’t seem to make a stand against it. We are fast becoming extinct and no one is looking to preserve us… except the club who have our “best intentions” in mind.
Time and time again the club have stated that moving into a new, 60,000 seater stadium, will enable them to generate more match day revenue and thus lower ticket prices, and why should we be sceptical… After all, that’s exactly what happened for the Arsenal fans, isn’t it? The real reason Chelsea want to move is to obtain the corporate middle tier, the corporate “rubber dinghy”. This is somewhat understandable as yes, football is a business these days and businesses constantly strive to make more money, however, it doesn’t appear the club have addressed either of the following avenues which seemingly provide both sufficient corporate seating (therefore generating greater match day revenue and allowing the club to decrease ticket price) and keep the fans happy.
The first regards us staying at the Bridge. The Emirates Stadium currently has 7,139 “Club Level” seats and 2,222 box seats which generates almost an equal amount in match day receipts as the rest of the stadium combined. Surely Chelsea are capable using areas of both the East and West stand to obtain roughly the same amount of “higher quality” seating. After all, we all know the East and West stand never sing (the upper tiers especially), and sacrificing a few seats here could allow a cheaper ticketing policy all round and, another controversial subject in its self, if we were to sell the naming rights on top of that then it would help further in the club’s never ending quest to get more money.
The second angle however, should the first not be possible for whatever reason and a move to a new stadium is made, is a simple one, make sure we Chelsea fans are involved in every aspect of the design process as possible, to really listen to the fans and try to make it as proper Chels as possible! Even keep the corporates to one side of the stadium, they won’t care!
With all the talk about moving stadiums and the future, we are only really looking to be heading in one direction, and that is up, towards even more success. However, what the fans may think is the best thing for the club, may end up being the worst thing for them and, if it meant being able to attend games more often, I’m sure in a strange way most of us wouldn’t actually be too phased by the club slipping down a league or two. These days it seems as though before every game, the pubs are filled with conversations about ticket prices and games missed. I know relegation is not what we are hoping for as it is not what is best for the club, but real Chelsea fans and football fans in general just love going to see their team play, with their Dads’ and friends, some of which they may have made because of the attending games. At the end of the day, where ever we may be, Chelsea fans will enjoy turning up to see their team play. After all, success is relative to the situation you are in, therefore, for example, winning league two, after clinching it in a violent London derby against Wimbledon, would be just as exciting for us as winning the premier league this year!
All footy fans want to do is to be able to support their club and not have to think twice about buying a few drinks before the game, these days it just seems football is moving further and further from its roots. People understand that it is a business and every business will want to grow and the people in charge will always be after more money, but let’s just hope that when those in charge have made enough, and Sepp Blatter has seen enough non-English Champions league finals for his liking, it begins to remember where it came from and starts thinking more about the people who made it “the beautiful game”, us.