Obscene season ticket prices to be slashed?

Money_4 News reaches us that Premiership chairmen are going to be forced into cutting 'obscene' ticket prices because fans have just about had enough of being the victims of daylight robbery every weekend, and as a result, football has reached a tipping point.

Two top-flight chairmen have expressed the same view, both of whom predict price cuts all round next season. 'It is a serious issue that has reached saturation point across the country,' said Phil Gartside, chairman of Bolton. 'We feel duty bound to make a stance by reducing the cost for our season ticket holders, and I'm sure other clubs will follow suit next season and listen to public opinion.' But surely the tickets are inflated at the chairs' behest?

This weekend saw ManYoo fans protesting about the amount being charged to let their fans watch their side at Fulham. They were asked for a whopping £45 to watch their team, and that doesn't include travel and grub... although they hadn't got far to travel from Essex eh? Ho Ho Ho... I'll get me coat. A senior executive from another of the Premiership's 'big four' clubs told Observer Sport that prices could not go any higher. 'Officially we are monitoring the situation,' he said. 'But privately we have realised that ticket prices have reached their maximum, at least in the immediate future.'

These warnings come slap bang in the middle of an attendance slump. Despite an increased capacity at Arsenal and Manchester United, the average attendance is down from last year, and whilst the big four continue to sell out their games, the overall Premiership average is down by more than 1,000 year on year and now stands at 32,775, not including this weekend. What is causing fans to stay away? Well, once, you could watch the footy and not dent the wallet too much, and know exactly when you'd be going out. Basically, high prices and amended kick-off times to enable saturated TV coverage aren't encouraging fans to get down the ground. 

Of course, a lot of money is generated by the TV rights, which obviously help clubs to bring in new players and the like. That said, the Premier League negotiated a new £600million, three-year deal for overseas TV rights to the Premiership. Add the £1.7 billion Sky and Setanta will pay to screen matches in Britain, and the £400m for internet and mobile phone rights, and it seems scandalous that ticket prices continually increase. Each club will be getting around £900m per season (starting in August).

Apart from drops in season ticket prices, a group are also want away matches addressed. The Football Supporters' Federation want a fixed price for all travelling supporters. 'Away fans in England are unique. You would not get 5,000 Milan supporters travelling to Juventus. If prices were to stay in line with the Taylor Report's recommendation, then £15 would be a fair price for those who travel to watch their team.' The report, published in January 1990 in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, stated that 'it should be possible for seating to be £6'. With inflation, that would mean fans paying just £9.60 now, rather than the average of about £30.

So what's the answer? Well, looking at Germany's Bundesliga, the average attendance was approximately 40,000, which is superior to our league matches. In fact, it's about a quarter more fans in through the turnstiles, shouting for their team. German fans can buy tickets for as little as £10 or £15 for all games, and in some cases, terracing is being used, which gives a fan a feeling of real unity, as opposed to the sterile stadia over here. What is interesting is that the Bundesliga is renowned for its competitiveness, with many teams standing a chance of winning it. Should we look at the German model to fix our game? [Mof Gimmers]

February 26, 2007 in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, News balls, Portsmouth, Reading, Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (2)

Phil Neville is shit, says Nicky Hunt

Irony. Not something that footballers are great at spotting. Want an example? Well, here is Bolton Wanderers right-back Nicky Hunt offering forthright views on Phil 'Newly Hatched Bird' Neville.

[Mof Gimmers]

February 20, 2007 in Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Funny old game, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (3)

Emre in race row again


The FA are to launch a second investigation into claims that Newcastle midfielder Emre used racist language. A newspaper report today alleged the  Turkey international, who has already been charged by the FA with using racially-aggravated language during the defeat at Everton on December 30, made a comment to Bolton striker El-Hadji Diouf during a game at St James' Park in October.

He is alleged to have called the Senegalese striker a "f***ing ape". An FA spokesman said: "We will be looking into these allegations and will be contacting El-Hadji Diouf to see if he wishes to provide us with a statement." The player's agent, Ahmet Bulut, insisted his client is innocent. He said: "This is not a true story." [Mof Gimmers]

February 16, 2007 in Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Newcastle United, News balls | Permalink | Comments (2)

Andrei Kanchelskis hangs up his twinkle toes

Kanchelskis_1 Former Manchester United winger and all round twinkle toes Andrei Kanchelskis has decided to retire from football. Kanchelskis, now 38-years-old, said: "You need to leave at the right time. Now seems a suitable moment to begin a new chapter in my footballing life," added Kanchelskis, who will be deciding his plans in the coming weeks.

Kanchelskis won two titles and an FA Cup during his time at ManYoo won two Premiership titles before buggering off to join Everton in 1995. He then went onto have spells at Fiorentina, Rangers, Manchester City, Southampton, Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia and Saturn Moscow Krylya Sovetov. Despite being born in Ukraine, Kanchelskis opted to play for Russia following the fall of the Soviet Union, winning 36 caps and scoring five goals. His greatest accolade came last year when he was voted as the 47th greatest Premiership player ever by Pies writers.

Click over to see Andrei's wonder goal against Oldham in the FACup semi final, or alternatively, click here to see his hilarious showboating...

February 12, 2007 in Cult Heroes, Everton, Manchester City, Manchester United, News balls, Scotland | Permalink | Comments (0)

What's wrong with Rafa Benitez saying Everton are a small club?

Rafa_1Rafa Benitez referred to Everton as a small club at the weekend and it ruffled some feathers.  The Spaniard said after Saturday's 0-0 Merseyside derby: "When you play against the smaller teams at Anfield you know the game will be narrow." Everton chief executive Keith Wyness responded on the club website and said: "Benitez is in a minority of one in believing Everton is a small club. Somehow we just expect more of a Liverpool manager." Boo Hoo. If Everton are a big club, then I'm not sure what defines a football club as 'big'.

There is no doubt in my mind that Everton have a rich history in football. They've won all sorts of trophies, have a loyal fan base and have been in the top flight longer than anyone else. Fair enough... they're an important side with lots of heritage. Does that make them a big side? Well, not in my book. A big side commands the best players from around Europe, a side that consistantly reaches the Champions League, a side that genuinely challenges for trophies year after year. Liverpool, ManYoo and Arsenal are the only three English teams who can stake a claim for this. You may be wondering about Chelsea... but they've only been challenging since a certain Russian billionaire got involved.

If a club can claim to be big on heritage alone, then Wolves, Burnley, Notts Forest and Bolton Wanderers are big clubs. Somehow, I doubt you'll find many who would agree on that. If you look at a side like West Ham, many fans hark on about the spirit of Bobby Moore, and how it was their side that won the World Cup for England. Of course, that's not true, but it shows a side with lots of heritage to look back on. However, like West Ham, Everton haven't had much to crow about in recent years... in fact, apart from the FA Cup, Everton have done nothing.

Why should Rafa Benitez give Everton any credit? Not since the days of Neville Southall have Everton caused anyone any major problems. As far as he's concerned, they're local rivals, and not much else. Fair enough. Also, since when did Liverpool and Everton show each other the love? I love a bit of tension between rivals... and it's refreshing to see the Liverpool manager sticking the boot in on his neighbours. As a Bolton fan, I'd be punching the air if Sam Allardyce referred to Wigan as "those shitty pie eaters from down the road". I'd also be furious if Paul Jewell slagged us off... but that's what football is all about. It's about time we had a bit of banter between clubs instead of all this PR guff. [Mof Gimmers]

February 5, 2007 in Everton, Liverpool | Permalink | Comments (6)

Now That's What I Call A Merseyside Derby

Let's hope today's Liverpool v Everton clash is as entertaining as this…

February 3, 2007 in Everton, Liverpool | Permalink | Comments (0)

Classic Moments: Peter Schmeichel's volleyed goal against Everton

The red-nosed Dane was not only one of the greatest keepers of all time, but also a useful emergency striker…

January 30, 2007 in Classic Moments, Everton, Manchester United, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free travel to football matches

Wewillfollow_1 Fans who have experienced the thrill of an away match will know how addictive it is. The trip down, the pre-match pints in a strange pub, being in a strange ground. It's like a holiday with a football match stuck in the middle of it! However, loads give it a wide berth because they can't get a lift down to the games. Well, you needn't fear that any more.

A website called WeWillfollow aims to stop all that worry and hassle by allowing you to offer and request lifts to games home and away, and it’s completely free. Added to that, the site also has a ticket exchange for fans with a spare. It's all rather nice isn't it? To add to the community feeling, WeWillFollow also have a unique 'Exile List' for each club, so if you've drifted away from your club (geographically speaking) you can register as a member on the site and talk to other exiled supporters of your club. With a list of 1000+ supporters clubs too, you need never feel lonely and exiled again! Have a look and sign up with the site now!

January 22, 2007 in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, League One, League Two, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Non League, Portsmouth, Reading, Scotland, Sheffield United, The Championship, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cult hero: Mark Hughes

When people look back on great players, one name is often omitted. That name is Mark Hughes. 'Sparky' had spells at Barca (where they called him Leslie), Bayern as well as spells at Everton, Chelsea, Southampton and Blackburn. However, it's his time at ManYoo where he'll be remembered best for his explosive finishes... and curly mullet.

January 17, 2007 in Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Classic Moments, Cult Heroes, Everton, Manchester United, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lookalikes: Diego Maradona and Sylvester Stallone

When Sylvester Stallone put in an appearance at Goodison Park before Everton's game against Reading yesterday carrying a few extra pounds than when his first Rocky film came out in 1976, there was a certain resemblance to a real-life sporting legend with his own weight problems.


[Rob Parker]

January 15, 2007 in Everton, Lookalikes | Permalink | Comments (3)