Madrid Ticket Fiasco, Unfair Price Increase, Greedy Spurs/TV Companies & More…

By on March 30, 2011

I think I’m turning into a grumpy old man. All I seem to do nowadays is moan about football and spurs, the sport I enjoy more than any other and the team I love in a seemingly unhealthy way. Monday was no different as the club announced next seasons ticket price increase and yet another fixture alteration to fit in with the TV companies.

Before I start let me point out a few things. I wanted to write this on Monday night when my blood was boiling but I decided it better to wait until my anger had reduced to disappointment but as always I’ll be writing from the heart and as such some things you may not like. I’m sure plenty of people won’t agree with what I have to say, but I’d hazard a guess at the majority of those people are what I call facebook fans. By that I mean as long as the game is on TV it’s inconsequential what effect the schedule or ticket prices might have on their fellow fan.

Where to start? I guess the rush to get tickets for the Real Madrid home game would be a good place but as someone who made the concious decision before the season started to not pay Cat A prices for any home champions league games and instead make one away trip to Europe (equalling about the same value) I didn’t experience the troubles some did trying to buy a ticket for this much anticipated game. Having spent plenty of time myself trying to buy tickets for any Cat A game I know it’s hard at the best of times but when we drew Madrid it wasn’t hard to surmise that it was going to be a nightmare.

Why didn’t the club put something in place to make sure people weren’t online for 5-6 hours with a frozen screen and no ticket or perhaps reward those who have attended all the previous champions league games before allowing someone who hasn’t been to a Spurs game this season a ticket? I know someone who’s on the season ticket waiting list and spends all his money on watching spurs home and away. He’s been to a few of the European away legs, he’s been up to Blackburn, Sunderland, Everton etc and yet he was unable to get a ticket for this game. I know someone else who will be visiting white hart lane for the first time in just over 2 seasons. Show me someone who believes that’s a fair distribution of tickets and I’ll show you an idiot. It was obvious this game would be in high demand and for the club to not put a procedure in place to limit the amount of loyal and dedicated fans that were left disappointed is a shame and shows where football is heading in my opinion.

Onto my first gripe that actually affects me, ticket prices. The club announced recently that prices for next season will be increased by an average of 4%. This isn’t due to the club/board members/share holders wanting to get every last penny from it’s fans though, it’s down to an increase in administration and operation costs and having tried to keep it as low as possible I presume we should be grateful. According to the official site it’s also below the current rate of inflation which would be fine if that were true. It’s the same as inflation. My problem with this is in a time of world-wide recession most of the people walking through the turnstiles every week and buying the new kits that are released every season don’t see their wages increased at the same rate as inflation and Daniel Levy et al know this but they don’t care because they know we’ll find the money and if we don’t someone else will.

What are these administration and operation costs that have increase by 4% in the last year? There’s no industry on the planet that’s not competitive at the moment so if someone is charging too much there’s always someone else out there that’s willing to do the same job for a smaller invoice. Are these administration costs the same costs we see added to our ticket purchases already for no apparent reason? With all ticketing for season ticket holders and members now being computerised and automatic what admin fee’s are we paying for exactly?

If you’re a member who doesn’t pay by direct debit you’ll be pleased to see your membership will increase by £1. Not a lot I know unless you consider the amount of members that accounts for and the fact the membership card you use to gain access to the ground this season will be the same one next season so what is that extra £1 for exactly other than to make the balance sheet look pretty again or perhaps pay for Steven Pienaar’s £70 a week wage? Actually, that’s not fair on Pienaar. No matter what you think of him we didn’t have to pay a ridiculous wage for nothing more than a bench warmer, small transfer fee or not.

All of this a season after we’ve played in the champions league for the first time and supposedly gained a large amount of revenue from the competition and continue to gain with every passing game we play. I’m not one of these people that believe if we’re not in the champions league next season we shouldn’t pay more than this, for me that makes no difference at all. I don’t follow spurs because we’ve had a vaguely successful team in the last couple of seasons (even though 10 years in the future it’ll show 0 trophies so far), I actually follow them in spite of that. Like most of you who will read this there have been many years in the wilderness watching the likes of Jason Dozzell and Stuart Nethercott and wondering why with the likes of Ilie Dumitrescu in the team we’re not winning every week and the last couple of seasons and even those few before that have been way more enjoyable but I don’t base what I pay on what I see.

Unfortunately that’s the problem with football nowadays. My opinion doesn’t matter. Your opinion doesn’t matter. The reason is because there will always be someone else to give the money we won’t. Of course when I say always, I mean as long as we’re playing well because it wasn’t that long ago, 6-7 years I think you could ring up the ticket office the day before the season started and ask for a season ticket. Maybe even in the Park Lane. It wasn’t long ago I sat in Block 35 with 10+ empty seats around me.

Of course there are those who will say all these problems would be solved if we had a bigger stadium and if people like myself had got behind the Stratford bid in the hope to persuade the Olympic Committee to choose us ahead of West Ham. There’s no doubt the ticket shortage would’ve been solved for games like Real Madrid but as I’ve said before I’ve never had a problem buying a ticket in the Park Lane for Cat B or C games even a few hours after they go on sale and less desirable areas of the ground can easily be bought a day or two after. The price of tickets wouldn’t have been solved though. Unfortunately we don’t follow a sport that takes it’s fans into consideration any more. In an ideal world a larger ground would mean cheaper tickets but in reality all it would mean is more of the same priced tickets and of course more expensive tickets to help the bottom line.

We as fans demand success and demand the best players. As such we’ve got to front the bill, I understand that but at what cost? I know more and more people who have been going to Spurs for 30+ years and are now coming to the same conclusion as I am, it’s getting too damn expensive. With a newborn due a few months into next season the number of games I’ll be able to afford will decrease quite substantially I would expect as I find other things to spend my money and time on. I can already see myself watching a dodgy stream, elbow deep in baby poop!!! Will this increase in ticket prices see us sign the players we need? Will it help us keep the players we need to keep? Is the relatively small increase actually noticeable when compared to the champions league revenue? I suspect not, £1-2 million perhaps? Better than nothing but in football terms still a relatively small amount. It would’ve been nice to see the club give something back for a change and not make following football such a one way love affair.

My final point is something that I’m sure affects many people but is very personal to me. I travel from the South West and as such book trains at the same time as I buy match tickets. Advance booking train tickets costs me £25 return which I consider good value when you consider petrol costs nowadays. However, to get this price they need to be booked 2-3 months in advance or about the same time match tickets go on sale. Advanced train tickets are non-refundable so if the club change a date I’ve lost the money for the train. I can live with that when it’s because of games clashing with cup competitions (as the north London derby did this year for example) because I can see when it’s likely and hold off on buying the train tickets. Unfortunately, when it comes to the TV companies they don’t give quite as much notice and it’s impossible to tell what they’ll choose.

ESPN have decided they wanted to show the Spurs v Blackpool game on May 07th which was going to be my final game of the season. This is 5 weeks after the match tickets went on sale and 6 weeks before the match. My problem isn’t the match ticket which I could give to anyone or get the club to give me the money back, it’s the train ticket cost which isn’t reimbursable. The best solution I have on offer is to pay another £25 for a later single ticket but with the last train leaving Paddington at 8.30pm I would have to leave the game early to make sure I didn’t miss it. It’s not even the financial side of the problem that really irks me. This was my last game of the season and the last chance to meet up with friends and have a good ol’ Spurs day which has now been ruined simply because the club want even more money.

I know many of you won’t care because the game’s on TV but I won’t be the only person this has effected. The same happened with the Sunderland away game when the kick off time was changed after people had already booked transport. As I only get to 10-15 games a season I watch plenty on TV and when I’m not at a game I’m always pleased I don’t have to spend my afternoon with the laptop on my knee’s listening to Chinese commentary in between buffering images if it’s on but it’s only right that game time has always been planned. Whether it’s the club putting tickets on sale too early or the TV companies deciding what they want to show too late it’s just another factor that makes me think, “it’s not like the good old days”.

Rant over and as always COYS

Submitted by THFC1882

Best of the web

2 Comments

  1. kd

    March 30, 2011 at 10:03 am

    im same with regards blackpool match but im coming from ireland! so have to now stay night in hotel at extra cost and book a one way flight back on the sunday! usually its a day trip but its a nightmare getting to games after xmas and new year.. so many fixture changes and cup matches, messes everything up for the oversea fan who wants to come

  2. steve s

    March 30, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Mmmmm, where to start.
    I literally went to every home and away game from 1967 through to 1978, cost me my first marriage.
    You probably won’t remember having to get to WHL at 2.30 on a Sunday morning in the 60’s and queue for 10 hours to get cup final tickets, only to get 10,000 people away from the ticket window and be told, ‘They’re all gone mate!!’
    You won’t also remember when games weren’t on the TV at all, and we used to travel for a day and half to get to Newcastle and be told the game was off for a frozen pitch.
    Cost, you’re having a laugh mate. On wages of £8,000 a year, bloody good for the 60’s, I would spend half on following Spurs, thus the demise of the first marriage. It’s always been expensive to go to football as a regular fan, it’s all relative to what else you do with your money.

    I now live 800 miles away from the Lane and wish every bloody game was on the box. It costs me £500 every time I see a home match!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *