Pilley: “Football needs to be cheaper for fans”

Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley
Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley
0
Have your say

Andy Pilley has called for football to be cheaper for the fans after his Fleetwood Town club come out ahead of League One neighbours Blackpool in the value-for-money stakes.

A day-out at Highbury (season ticket, pie, drink and programme) costs almost 30 per cent less than an at Bloomfield Road, according the BBC Sport Price of Football study released today.

Both clubs fare pretty well, with the Cod Army fans enjoying the second-cheapest day out in the English game’s third tier at £14.50.

Blackpool’s long-suffering fans pay £20, though that figure rises to £31.50 for non-season ticket holders buying tickets on the day.

At £209.50, Fleetwood season tickets are the second-cheapest in the North West. Only Accrington charge less at £200.

And Town chairman Pilley told The Gazette it’s important for Fleetwood to keep prices down.

He said: “We feel as a club it’s paramount we keep prices low.

“We are fully aware Fleetwood isn’t the most affluent of areas. We want local people to be able to afford to come and enjoy watching a good standard of football on their doorstep.

“Our town had the smallest population of any Football League club but we are growing our fanbase all the time.

“We have seen remarkable growth in attendances. They have grown in each of the last 10 years, which is fantastic.

“I know the success on the field has played a big part, but there’s no doubt our policy of keeping the price down has too.”

The cost of watching football in England is vastly higher than on the continent. A season ticket can be purchased at Bayern Munich for £104.48 and at Barcelona for £73.88,

Match day tickets at Bayern (£11.19) and other top German clubs Bayer Leverkusen (£11.19) and Borussia Dortmund (£11.94) are lower than at any club in England’s top four leagues.

And Pilley believes ticket prices in this country are far too high.

He added: “I can understand the importance of balancing the books and relying on the revenue ticket sales bring – we do so at Fleetwood – but I feel high ticket pricing in this country is often shortsighted.

“I don’t think people consider the secondary spend which comes from having a full stadium and the feelgood factor that can bring to the team.

“There’s no doubt in my mind football needs to be cheaper for the fans.”

Blackpool lie 11th in the League One price table, though many current season ticket holders paid less than the £295 stated in the study because they signed up for two-year deals last season.

Although Pool’s prices are in line with the rest of the division, a season ticket holder who also attends every away league game will pay £757.50 this season for ground admission alone, while those without season tickets will fork out a whopping £1,014.50.

No-one from Blackpool FC was available to comment on the study.

However, Christine Seddon of Blackpool Supporters Trust told The Gazette that the organisation is backing a campaign to make watching football more affordable.

“It’s vital that we don’t price supporters out of watching live football,” said BST spokesperson Christine.

“Football has to be affordable for the fans, especially young supporters who have so many other forms of entertainment.

“It’s so important these young people can afford to watch live football and don’t settle for just watching it on the TV.”