HERE I am in my 11th season of going to watch Liverpool play at Anfield and still awaiting my season ticket, writes Philippa Smallwood. I have a major decision to make, and the time has come to finally decide if I get enough out of it to warrant spending the money, time and effort to attend week after week.
I have so much respect for the fans who have continued to turn up at Anfield season after season. Admittedly I only have a 30-minute drive. I have friends who travel over three hours just to get to the game, and then they have the same again to get back home. Still they turn up week after week. If they can do that, then why am I questioning still turning up?
If I look at the cost of simply going to the game, then straight away you would question the sanity of someone paying out to watch 22 blokes kick a ball about on some grass – sorry, “The hallowed turf”! So far this season sitting in the Kop has cost me as follows:-
Am I mad? Nearly £1500.00 – on watching football! I dread to think what the cost is for supporters who go to the away games as well. I even took the decision this season to move from the Centenary Stand to the Kop to try and save spending as much, but you have to seriously question whether the supporters are being taken advantage of. You end up feeling relieved when your team is drawn to play away from home in the Cup competitions because it will save you a few quid.
If you don’t go to all the games, you risk not gaining enough loyalty credits, so you end up in the free for all madness trying to get tickets. So, you buy all the tickets for all the games you can. You are driven by fear – the fear of missing out on that moment.
You sign up for the AutoCup scheme so you qualify for the ballot should the team get to the Final of a Cup competition. Wembley holds 90,000 fans – yet for the FA Cup final in 2014, each club was awarded 25,000 tickets. So, 40,000 seats went to “The Football Family”, sponsors and the corporate bunch. What about the supporters who have invested their hard-earned money into going to the games week after week? We get the reward of watching the final on the TV – no doubt listening to the new commentating legend that is Robbie Savage.
Tickets for the semi-final cost up to £60, plus your travel to and from Wembley, and your food and drink. The final then costs up to £115 plus the extras. It all leaves me feeling that the supporters are seriously being taken advantage of, and it leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth.
But who cares if I stop going to the games? I am just one person. Someone else will just go in my place, paying the extortionate prices. The club still gets their money. The FA still gets their money. The players still get their money. The only people left feeling dissatisfied are the supporters. I am sure that I am not the only supporter who feels this way. Trapped in a loveless unreciprocated marriage, in fear of missing out on the glory – the glory that lasts for a moment in time! With a cost that leaves many people struggling to justify it.
It isn’t just the cost but the time and effort that it takes to take several hours out of your day for 90 minutes of “possible” entertainment. When will the clubs, the Premier League, The FA and UEFA realise that at some point the fans will have had enough of being taken advantage of? Why does it cost £10 to park my car? Why does it cost £4 for a hotdog? Football is no longer about glory or winning trophies, but about covering the costs of the players’ and staff’s wages.
I don’t go the games to see Liverpool FC finish in the top four because we will get £20m in prize money – I go to see my team lift some silverware. Someone somewhere has to start listening. Someone has to make a stand and say enough is enough.
And so, here I am staring at the facts in front of me. Eleven years of loyalty all building up to a decision I never wanted to make. But one that I feel is inevitable. I feel drained. I feel like nobody cares. Nobody cares that my heart is breaking. Maybe it’s my own fault. After all I was the mug that started going to the games in the first place – sucked in by the image of seeing the team I love play in front of my eyes.
So, at the end of the season I shall therefore say: “Goodbye Anfield. We shared some great times, we have shared some bad. It is a shame that it had to end this way!”
Pics: David Rawcliffe
You certainly are mad if you’re paying £10 a time for parking! There are so many streets within a mile of the ground where parking is free and freely available, I can’t believe that any regular visitor pays for parking. So there you are, that’s £240 saved already. Add to the that the value of the Middlesborough game – how often to you get 31 goals at Anfield? – and seeing the stars of Real Madrid and it’s already worth half the money. However at the end of the day a true Liverpool fan (of 50 years standing in my case) would never think of giving up, under any circumstances. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. That’s football.
It’s not entirely free is it! We park anywhere we can in Everton but you can’t leave your car if you’re not gonna pay the kids.
P.s If the article said I’m giving up my ticket because the team aren’t playing well then I’d understand your comment a little. As it is, I think it’s inconsiderate.
Not being able to afford to go the game makes her no less of a supporter. Good for you that you can continue to go but don’t judge someone’s loyalty as a supporter based on their ability to pay.
Great stuff David, we all wish we could be true Liverpool fans like you. Let’s hope you don’t find yourself in circumstances where you’ve got no choice but to stop going as often, if at all. Those who describe themselves as ‘better fans’ tend not to be ‘better people’ in my experience.
A lot of people had to make this tough decision over a decade ago, while there possibily could be savings made with the mode of transport the fact is the ticket cost has priced out a large proportion of match going reds.
That in its self is a heart breaker but critically it has priced out current and future generations of young reds. What kid can use their pocket money to jump on the shiel road circular and pay for a ticket these days? Probably Tarquin can but the rest are left behind staring at a club and players so far out of their reach, that to me is the real heart breaking story and one that has repercussions today as far as the atmosphere is concerned and will only get worse in the future. It’s typical right wing, short sighted greed running this thing into the ground.
As for that “a true fan would never think of giving up” comment David, who are you to question anyone as a fan when they simply can’t afford to go to the game anymore? You know where you can stuff that don’t you?
It’s hard not to agree with all of that, the cost of travelling to and watching LFC (or any other club) is just getting too high. I all but stopped going about 3 seasons ago but I don’t feel it makes me any less of a supporter or ‘not a true fan’. It’s not about how much you love the club, it’s about seeing how much money it costs and looking at the other areas of your life that money can be spent on. Looking at what it costs you (and assuming prices continue to rise) you could probably retire two or three years earlier at the end of your working life by saving the ticket money. Or buy a nicer house. Or anything you want really. It’s not just the cost of football, it’s the increased ticket prices combined with the increased cost of living. All of this combined with the increased prices of all of the ‘extras’ you mentioned – parking, food, petrol etc.. It’s just too much.
And it’s not just the money, it’s the time. Since I stopped going I’ve been able to start an occasional LFC blog, somthing I could never have found time to do when I was going to the games regularly. I don’t feel less of a fan because I don’t pour my money into a non reciprocal relationship.
Since I stopped going (not completely, I still make it to the odd cup match, it doesn’t have to be ‘goodbye Anfield’ forever) it’s not when we win that I miss it, it’s when we’re not doing well. I want Liverpool to win every match they play and when they win I’m happy. I’ve been to massive games that we’ve won and seen us win massive games on TV, the same with smaller, more insignificant games. At the final whistle I’ve been just as happy whether I’ve been at Anfield, Wembley, Cardiff or watching on TV. I repeat, when we win I’m happy. It’s different when things are going badly. Watching on TV you feel helpless, screaming at the TV can’t change anything. When you’re in the stadium you feel you can make a difference, even if realistically you can’t. You feel that by singing, shouting, yelling, cheering, supporting, not booing or jeering you can positively influence the players, after all, they’re only standing ‘just over there’.
Just remember, if you do decide to stop going for financial reasons it doesn’t make you any less of a supporter. I don’t see how anybody can hold a banner or take part in a march demanding fairer ticket prices and then criticise someone for choosing not to spend that amount of money. It’s a sad time when being a football supporter and being responsible with your money can’t go hand in hand. If you choose to stop going simply because we’re not winning then that’s a different thing altogether and I hope anybody reading this post understands which category you fall into.
That’s an excellent article and shocking when the facts are laid bare like that. I’ve just commented on Tony Barrett’s article on here so I’m not going to repeat myself but I just want to say I completely agree with all your points and also, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a true fan for giving up your ticket. I honestly don’t think that when evaluated and passion is taken out of the equation it’s worth it any more but each to their own.
Totally get what you’re saying. Ignore the “true fan” crap; LFC are not the be-all and end-all of everything, just a very expensive form of entertainment (although, on their current form, i would feel the need for inverted commas around that last word), and some would do well to remember that football is not a religion. I have known many Anfield season ticket holders give them up for various reasons, but all linked into one root issue; unaffordability. This is a fact of life, not an excuse.
With the second batch of sales coming, I had a decision to make. Do I go all in again?
Well, my decision was made for me this weekend. No, not because of the result.
Because I paid £58 (FIFTY EIGHT) for this view – http://i.imgur.com/r9Cdpue.jpg
I knew it was a ‘restricted’ view. I though ‘for £1 off, it can’t be that bad?’. Well, there you go.
I’ve been going for years now, home and away, domestic and European. That was the final straw. I am in the ‘auto cups’ so I will continue with that, and hopefully get to another Euro Away in the new year.
The league though? £50+ for a ticket every couple of weeks? Enough is enough now.
We need to start growing balls and start winning end of
I gave up my season ticket at the start of the season because my wife lost her job and we were getting by on my income. However, it was less that I couldn’t afford it and more that I didn’t WANT to afford it when I thought about the other priorities in my life, including my kids.
The Reds will always be a constant in my life and its killed me not going at times this season, but I can’t square spending thousands on what is essentially a hobby whilst cutting back on essentials. The club don’t give a shit about me so I’m not prepared to put my family below them when managing household finances.
All football clubs revel in the class system which exists within supporters, were those who go the game are viewed with greater respect than those who don’t. Thats exactly what gurantees that people will always come back, regardless of how you treat them.
If not going makes me less of a fan, I’d rather that than less of a Dad or husband.
I myself had to make this decision years ago, born in anfield, pinehurst rd. Moved away and spent thousands following them. Im as much a fan as anybody, and so will you be. Ignore the odd fuckwit who will huff and puff. The majority of the gang on here are good folk. All the best to you.
P.S. dave graham, your a cock.
Sadly Anfield has become more like a tourist attraction with so many people turning up dressed to the nines , wearing half and half scarves expecting to be entertained and amused. Gone are the days when going the match was about the football – the passion and partisanship. It saddens me that we see Mighty Red in the stadium to keep the kids amused. As a kid the amusement was the anticipation of the match ahead, watching the crowd build, shouting on the players, the tears and smiles, the highs and lows – the ‘just being there’.
You are so right when you say that no one will care that your loyalty, love and commitment to going every week will be lost. The business of the glorious game is now a monster which demands to be fed at any cost. Has Anfield become the Little Shop of Horrors?
Great article, is exactly my thinking, £3.80 a pint! pie 3quid, its all a rip off now. They dont even need the money now. And the atmosphere is already starting to suffer, day trippers ect are rife, I seen someone take a picture on their camera when Chelsea scored the other day in the kop! Enough is enough sick of people looking at me when I sing, sick of being ripped off, were mugs at the end of the day, im getting out at the end of the season, give my season ticket to a 10 strong consortium of asian business men so they can have a meeting on the kop, the soul of the game has gone now
It’s rotten value for money. Watching mediocrity in near silence.
Check out any footage of Galatasaray fans going mental, before the game is even underway. It doesn’t even get close to being like that on a big European night at Anfield, or when Man Utd show up.
Even when I went in the 80s to games at Anfield, I was surprised at the lack of atmosphere. It was obviously way better than today, but not as mad as some would have you believe.
And as for a club understanding what makes the fans tick, this really takes some beating…
It’s worse when you have kids. My lad comes to most games with me, so it costs a fortune. I make sure he eats before he leaves the house, no £4 hot dogs, I park outside my mother-in-law’s and walk to the ground (don’t give her anything for minding the car, though), refuse to spend any money except to watch the game and come home. The whole match day revenue thing is a rip off. For tourists and day-trippers.
I count my blessings cos I am fortunate to be able to afford to go to the match, and to have that bond with my lad that comes with going the game, but that’s the way it used to be, the way it still should be, but ordinary people have been priced out and they’ll never go back. Football needs to be careful what it wishes for – stadiums full of people who are come-day, go-day supporters won’t be doing an 11 year stint like Phillipa. They’ll piss off as soon as something better comes along. Then what?
Worse still, stadiums full of David Graham’s, smug and self righteous in the knowledge that they can still afford to go the match while others can’t
Is this a wind up?
11 years ?
1976 I went to my first match. Eventually getting a season ticket in 1992
I still love every minute of it and wouldn’t give it up for anything
Bloody Jonny come lately!
If you can’t afford it don’t moan, just don’t go!!!
I made a similar decision 4 years ago. I too am a supporter of 50 years, but after having to finish work to look after my wife who had Cancer (Now all clear) money was tight.
U had a 2-3 hours drive to home games also always paid to park. Once found a place to park on street returned to find windscreen wipers snapped off!
I’ve attended 3 games in last 3 years as a treat, but unfortunately it’s a case of paying bills first. I will always support Liverpool, but attending games will be few due to finances.
You’re spot on Philippa, I’m facing the same decision and it’s really tough. I’ve refused to pay for the membership as I disagree with paying for something when you might not even get a ticket. There comes a point where you need to think about the return on the money spending, and it never used to be like that. For the cost of taking my two kids to one game I can get the whole family a year at the zoo. I’d rather be looking at football than elephants but the kids might argue differently.
After 30 years going myself I’m gutted that I can’t afford to take my kids. There’s nothing to capture them like going to the match and there’s always a danger a family tradition will die out as they lose interest. The most annoying thing in all of this is that, with the TV money, most Premier League clubs could afford to play in front of an empty ground but they still bleed us dry.
Absolutely spot on piece. Maybe a few things missed out. I feel the same. If you cant justify paying the money for watching over hyped, over rated players then it comes down to value for money. The pr bandwagon is in full effect everyday telling us sahko or allen or lucas or amazing and generally todays fans believe it. And what for, so they can charge what they like, when will it end… well it wont end, the new stand a reduced capacity the demand goes up n people prepared to pay silly money.it kills fans who simply want to support the team show some passion but the theatre goer fans pay more clap at nothing n ask who is our number 8 is. In my view these owners have reduced the quality of player only time will tell if kids are good, they are raking it in dangling a carrot to the fans who keep nibbling. Well maybe going the theatre now has more appeal now that the theatre types go the match. All around europe fans show passion support clubs except this country. Fans live in fear.
I totally sympathise with you. I went through a similar thought process this weekend. It costs me about £1,000 to go to each game, as I am flying 7 hours to get there, plus taking 3 days off from work, so I can only do 2 or 3 games a season…and then this weekend, I spent half the Chelsea game wishing I was able to see replays of contentious decisions.
I love the pantomime theatre of being at the stadium, but I am not sure if I should continue flying for matches when I can watch every game live as it happens with replays, sitting with 20 other Liverpool fans in my home country for free…it isn’t the money that is the problem, but it is a factor. The 3 days out of my schedule is probably the biggest factor, but the money is a close second. And whether it is £1,500 for 24 games or £1,000 for 1 game, the figures are all relative to ones budget.
The main thing is I won’t give up supporting LFC, but I might just continue shouting from 4,000 km away
I very rarely go to games now. It became almost unjustifiable after I had children. It is gut wrenching not going but also I feel guil5 for flirting the money on a ticket to indulge myself.
And as the article suggested, paying top end prices at anfield the club/ownership should be clear via actions in its intention that it wants to win titles and that it is not just wanting to hang around the top 4 and Europe to increase the stock. That is not what people spend their hard earned cash for.
If I could fully believe this was the case I could be tempted to go and indulge again but far to often in football now we don’t see the ambitions of managers and some players matched by their backers.
Christ! They’ll be no one left in the ground at this rate.
I’ve got a solution. In early December i’m jumping on a Ryanair flight to Berlin to watch FC Union Berlin V FSV Frankfurt. Will kip in the airport overnight and get an early flight home the next day. Match ticket was £15, return flights only £45 and I get a mini adventure in Berlin with no major outlay. All up, it will cost me less than £90 with food and a bevy or two.
The day before I can join my mates in the local to have a few and watch the Sunderland match on the tele. And the beauty of that is I can also see everyone filming Stevie G corner kicks on their iPhone without having to pay £50 for the pleasure! ;)
What doesnt help is that we still have fans providing the following responses.
Is this a wind up?
11 years ?
1976 I went to my first match. Eventually getting a season ticket in 1992
I still love every minute of it and wouldn’t give it up for anything
Bloody Jonny come lately!
you are missing the point of the whol article, the point of this is how expensive football has become and the way ticket prices are spiraling out of control. This is not about loyalty or whos the best supporter this is about footballs future and our future as match going fans.
having the attitude of ‘just go and pay’ is exactly what is worng with the game, why should be pay an unreasonable amount, the longer people just accept this, well the quicker the game will slip out of reach for the normal man woman or child in the street.