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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

1 Step Forward 575 Back

Everton, along with all premiership clubs, has at least started to look at the totally unrealistic cost of watching football today. As previously stated, in an earlier article, and perhaps more due to falling attendances which would eventually, unchecked, have a detrimental effect on their ability to sell our product to the watching world for billions of pounds, the Premier League prompted the establishment of the £12m away fans fund.

Some clubs have been a little more innovative in their thinking, Aston Villa are the latest club to join Newcastle, West Brom, Hull City and Swansea in making a real difference to the prices paid by away fans; so it’s a start, not the conclusion of the supporters “Twenty’s Plenty” campaign.

Attending a game where there’s a full house and a great atmosphere, at the right price, is clearly where we all want to be, it’s the symbiotic relationship between fan, club and organising body that we all desire and benefit from. What we don’t need are parasites feeding off this relationship in the form of secondary ticket agencies which of course will come into their own if games increasingly sell out.

Let’s be quite clear, these businesses are little more than legalised touts which the clubs are embracing through monetary deals rather than an understanding of the English football fan psyche which finds touting abhorrent and has long since had their own methods of utilising unwanted tickets.

For the November derby game ticket prices of up to £575 can be found on the site of Everton’s official partner StubHub whose activities are being defended by the club’s director of communications who, via twitter, claims,

“For those asking: StubHub offers ST holders a facility to sell their seat for games they can’t attend, it is the season ticket holder’s prerogative to list their seats at whatever price they choose, ultimately though, it is up to the potential purchaser to determine if they are prepared to pay it.”

That disheartening response is little more than a ticket tout’s argument. Let’s see if the same defence stands up for somebody arrested caught selling the same ticket for the same price outside the ground before that game; it won’t, guilty and a football banning order awaits them, but apparently if you’re an “Official Partner” of the club it’s acceptable so that's okay then.

What next? The official cocaine and heroin partner? Why not? After all, you don’t have to worry about the morals or the legalities because ultimately it's simply "up to the potential purchaser to determine if they are prepared to pay it"

Like all theories of the self-regulated free market economy the only thing that’s ultimate is that ultimately it’s a charter for those with their noses in the trough to exploit those who hand over their hard earned cash. Look at the power suppliers being regulated through supply and demand, look at the transport companies and with full houses it doesn't take a genius to work out that the “official ticketing partners” are waiting patiently like a praying mantis.

Spurs fans are already seizing the initiative through an online petition, do not let all the hard work by fans, organisations such as the Football Supporters Federation and those clubs who, in place of the traditional act of paying lip service to their fan solutions, have embraced the philosophy of the Twenty’s Plenty campaign over ticketing prices.

Don't sit on the fence over this one, don't abdicate your responsibility as a matchgoing fan, leaving temptation in front of others, as in the long run we’ll all suffer. You know it makes sense, lovely jubbly.

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