LFC OPINION
LFC Opinion and Comment by the fans
The Kop, Anfield

The LFC Ticketing Debate

The 2013/2014 season will see Premier League TV revenues top £5billion for the first time. Football as we know, is huge business and is well and truly breaking the current economic trends.

But what about the fans wallets, will we benefit?

The Football Supporters Federation last week highlighted that the impact the extra TV money will have on clubs would mean each ticket in the Premier League next season could be reduced by £32 each. Average Anfield home game sees just shy of 45000 tickets sold which would mean an extra £1.42m per game, or an extra £27m per 19 home game season.

How to use that £27m per season?

Well there are 3 plausible options, which will strongly divide opinion depending on your viewpoint:

  1. Reduce the tickets by £32 each, meaning home games would range from £7 to £16 based on this seasons prices.
  2. Use the £27m to buy a player and pay his wages for the season, for example a player could cost £10m to buy, £7m in sign on and agents fees and the remaining £10m on his salary, bonuses and other associated costs.
  3. Split the money between player purchases and ticket price reduction, at 50/50 this would be £13.5m on a player fee or towards wages (not forgetting we do have other income streams) and ticket prices dropping by £16 each, so ticket prices would now be £23 to £32 per game.

So who will vote for each option? We don’t need a vote the answer is fairly obvious, local working class Reds will vote option 1, the people who couldn’t find Anfield on a map but that once in a life time when they do come they bring a camera and wonder what’s going on vote for option 2, and finally the more clued up people who occasionally go to a game would vote option 3.

Henry & Werner, I add, would vote for option 2, it keeps more money in their back pocket and they have a preference for the once in a life time fans because they spend an awful lot in the club shop and hot dog stands during their visit and are all about the “match day experience”. Which leads me on to my next point, atmosphere.

Atmosphere

I could very easily wax lyrical about the times when our atmosphere was adored by Reds and feared by everyone else, Didi Hamann recently said during the Chelsea Semi Final prior to lifting number 5, the fans were that good it brought him to tears and physically won us the game.

Today though, a magical, touching atmosphere at Anfield is a rare find, the best in recent memory for me is the Man City Semi, I walked home that night it was electrifying I don’t think I slept for about a week, it occasionally hits decent heights in the Europa league games too. But if we’re playing 15 of our 19 competitors in the league then Anfield, sadly, is not what it once was. Stoke at home the past 2 years I’ve nearly cried. It hurts when they sing “where’s your famous atmosphere?” now, because it has actually gone, it’s like a library at times. Why?

That’s a rhetorical why of course, I argue that it’s because the fan base at Anfield has changed a lot in recent times. In years gone by Anfield was full of local lads, hardworking lads who love going the match because it’s their passion, to support their local team, its tribal, or at least it was.

Anfield now is, and those of you who go to the games will testify to this, a different place. You get certain sections who’s only vocal input is “sort it out will you Downing you mug”, which quite frankly you can do from the comfort of your own living room. Then you get the overseas fans, who god bless but them are too drunk to sing along even if they knew the words, and then you get sporadic locals, there’s still the core in the upper central Kop, but they’re ageing and tired, but mostly the locals are spread out, and if you dared start a song in the Main Stand you get looked at as though you’ve just tickled your nans best mates backside.

What we need to bring in, is a ticket tier system based on a core of local, young, enthusiastic lads who will bring the noise and support the team. At this point I realise a lot will be saying “pfft why?” well quite simply because that noise can, and did for so many years, win us the game; it really is the twelfth man, and we need it back.

My proposal therefore is to offer the tickets to those based in the Merseyside area first, then any that are not bought can be sold to those further afield.

Now I appreciate we are a global club, but you need to understand the impact a true atmosphere can have, remember all those draws last season? A true Anfield atmosphere turns them into wins. The world wide fans have a place in our club, we need them too, but we need a local heartbeat first.

A shining example

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or any other decent German team for that matter have got the right idea.

Bundesliga ticket to points

Bayern Season Ticket is under £100, this is genuine. They have players like Ribery and Robben who both earn over £150,000 per week; they pay very good wages, yet have incredibly small ticket prices which also include free return travel. So are they a club in trouble? No they are the most financially stable club in Europe.

Anyone who has watched German football will tell you they have a magnificent atmosphere. So how is this possible? They have fan ownership, largely by locals from the Munich area, the money is spent wisely, and it is something FSG should look to emulate. Oh and they narrowly missed out on last year’s Champions League due to Chelsea parking the bus, not bad eh?

To finish, I’d like to say that I see atmosphere as crucial to success, I feel it is local, hard working, passionate fans that can bring this winning atmosphere back to the club, and finally I think we should vote for option 3, reducing the ticket prices by £16 and investing the rest on players.

  • ThomoLFCok

    I see where you are coming from and the sentiment is spot on.
    Ticket prices will only go one way, and it aint down.
    League game atmosphere is gone, when the ground got bigger and the inception of the premier league we all got our season tickets but, as you say, we are getting old and tired. The young excitable young lads are few and far between to get the atmosphere going.
    Games were the locals are the majority, midweek games with only a matter of weeks to sort tickets out etc are still loud, and the atmosphere is good. However, on a Saturday afternoon they dont want me who turns up at 2:59 leaves at 4;45 and who will buy a bovril once a season – they want the lad who will pay Thomas Cook a fortune to fly over, then massively overpay for the ticket, spend the morning in the club shop and fill their faces at the concession stand – the same passion is not there. Big business and money rules, which unfortunately mean our atmosphere is in the main I thing of the past – but we need the money – we cant have both Im afraid.

  • Betley red

    Sorry to go on but when I had a season ticket in the late 60s when ynwa was played half way into the song it was turned off and the kop did the rest. So turn the record off. Thanks

  • johnny mac

    I agree with the sentiment and also agree the atmosphere at league games is lacking, but I am based outside the area and believe myself to be as passionate as the locals. Organised singing sections in each stand would not be difficult to do

  • Betley red

    First went to anfield in 67 beat Newcastle 6-0 it changed my life It became part of my daily world to read everything about this team. I don’t go anymore iwatch on the Telly. With a nice glass of red but if it was say 20pound I would go every week. But then the ground is to small. Well done

  • Owen

    You’re right ticket prices are scandalous. I live in North Wales and used to go to matches, if only a couple a season. But paying £40 to watch teams like Villa come to Anfield is ridiculous.

    I also agree with you about the atmosphere. In all but a few of the evening games I’ve been to in recent years the atmosphere has been awful (which breaks my heart). I’m sad to say it but in many a game I get a better atmosphere watching the match in my local pub.

    I also agree FSG need to do more to encourage local support. I’m sure a lot of fans would be against it, but I’d like to see standing tickets re-introduced once Anfield has been expanded. If these were 1/3 – 1/2 the price of current tickets and local support was given priority you’d get the old atmosphere back.

    Unfortunately, clubs just see fans as cash-cows nowadays – which is an element of modern football I despise I don’t know what a ticket would cost back in 1990 when the Premier League first started up, but I’d imagine a ticket today would be at least four times the price after inflation has been taken into account. Can the owners honestly say that their match day ‘product’ (sorry to use that term but that’s how they’d refer to it) is four times superior to that of the late 80s early 90s – not a chance!

  • Grinch

    Agree totally with the OP. local support should get a certain amount of priority and ticket prices should be reduced so the average working class fella can get hold of one without having to remortgage.

  • adamtomo7

    It’s not only locals who raise the atmosphere. Two friends and myself travelled up from south Wales last weekend. This meant digging the car out of overt a ft of snow, followed by three and a half hours of driving, and we started several of the songs you heard bouncing around the kop. Furthermore, there wasn’t a song/chant that we did.nt contribute to.

    I understand what your saying, but I would put the club before myself and at present the team needs investment. I vote that you have also failed to mention the impending redevelopment Anfield. This will tie up the additional revenue streams youhave mentioned. This seems like a poorly thought article by a local fan hoping to save a few pound. It costs me roughly £75 a game to watch my beloved reds. The atmosphere is shy of what it has been, this is because the team is less competitive which I truly believe will soon change.

  • Dan

    “where’s your famous atmosphere?”

    It’s in the Champions League games – as you alread pointed out. A league match against Stoke City, is nothing when compared to that of a Semi-Final Champions League match against Chelsea (or any team really) – especially considering the rivalry between the two sides at the time.

    Let’s not forget the ‘famous atmosphere’ not only comes from Champions League nights but also a time before seated viewing. A time when the record capacity for Anfield was reached at 61,905 with over 30,000 of them in the Kop alone. Now the capacity stands at little over 45,000 of course something’s going to be lost.

    Not only that, it’s been over 20 years since Liverpool had a League Championship to sing about, a lot of the regular crowd at Anfield now will have never seen us win the leage, this will naturally affect their motivation to get involved creating an atmosphere having never experienced it themselves.

    The thing that lets it down in my opinion is the Songs. There’s really only 3 songs that the fans sing now during the games (if you don’t include the ones for the players, usually after they’ve scored) People haven’t had anything to sing about and some of the songs have lost relevance. New songs are needed, and the only way to create new songs is to bring new history to the club.

  • disqus_DhHZ9zmzv6

    I have a dream…….

    I’ve got four season tickets in my family. Are you saying I’ve got to give them up or will I get the benefit of a discount.

    I now live in the Midlands as a result of moving away due to work. The work I do enables me to pay for my four tickets.

    Perhaps I should have stayed at home, lost my job, but qualified for cheap tickets. I think there are easier ways to sort out the atmosphere….. Performances on the pitch are what drives the atmosphere. Look at Villa park last night. For an hour the noise was deafening….. For the last half hour still deafening but from another part of the ground.

    You mentioned Chelsea and Citeh…. Early goals in both games gave the Reds something to hnag onto.. I hazard a guess the same fans were in the ground when we lost 3-1 in the EC quarter finals…. The atmosphere that night when we went 3-1 down was pants…. Same fans, same competition, same teams. Its not 1976 anymore !

  • DaveG

    Although a great debating article, living local doesn’t mean passion and atmosphere. We travel from Kent as often as we can afford (10 – 12 times a season) and, without question, despite the 5 hour journey north we are probably the most vocal, supportive and passionate fans there, even when we are losing.

    I think you may need to re-think this one as the lead always came from the Kop end but when they’re quiet everywhere else is.

  • Bradas

    I agree totally

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