Football without fans is nothing

At a time of increasing commercialisation, it’s important to remember what made the game of football the sport it is today. Footballers, managers and the supporters. Or the ‘Holy Trinity’ as Bill Shankly liked to call it.

As sponsorship deals, commercial partnerships, transfer fees and players’ wages have become inflated, so too have ticket prices. At the Bank of England’s reconised rate of inflation, the cost of a Liverpool season ticket would have risen by 77.1% between 1989/90 & 2012/13, meaning the cheapest adult season ticket at Anfield would have risen from £60to £106. In fact the LFC inflation rate is a staggering 1108%.

But this problem isn’t confined to L4. It’s a problem that exists throughout English football.  Supporters are faced with a dilemma – pay up, or don’t go. Loyalty and devotion, which extends much further than a ‘brand’, has become all about money.  Loyalty is being tested, stretched, and in many cases, broken. And this is all to finance the increasing pay of our millionaire idols, or improve the balance sheet of a billionaire owner.

The most loyal of supporters, the away fans, know how much their loyalty costs. This graphic shows the cost, and disparity, in how much away supporters pay to watch their team.  Supporters face a threat, a real and growing one. If costs continue to spiral out of control fans will one day no longer be able to afford to watch the team they support. We all probably know someone who has begun to miss games due to cost, or has given up altogether. We can sit back and accept this. Or we can stand up and fight our ground.

As a Union, we intend to stand up against these ever increasing costs. At our last EGM, it was voted on, and agreed, that we should pursue a proposal through a campaign to cap away ticket prices for all Premier League supporters at a flat rate of £25. Today, we officially declare our intentions to take on the Football Cartel over the coming months.

Fans have been dictated to for far too long. The Premier League, their sponsors and “partners”, the FA, club owners, players and their agents have not considered the importance of supporters. They have used supporters to market themselves  – just watch Sky’s fancy montages or look at the images your club uses in its glossy brochures and programmes. But they haven’t given us anything back for our unwavering support. Our place in the game has been taken for granted and abused.

For the remainder of the season, we will embark on a campaign of awareness raising.  This will initially be amongst our own away supporters and those of other clubs attending away games at Anfield. We will leaflet, educate and inform supporters of how fans are being ripped off and how we propose to change things.

At the end of the season the Union will assess the progress of our campaign. Should the football authorities continue on their present path, we will consult with fellow supporters’ organisations with a view to organising a campaign of direct action to ensure that we are listened to.

This is the fightback – “football without fans is nothing”.