The
WALTER
PILKINGTON
COLUMN

SURVEYING 
THE
SITUATION

MEHSTG Vol. 2  Issue 22  -  September 2001

Some recent reports in the papers have come to my attention and these could explain a lot. Without wanting to come over all Watchdog on you (Oh God), here are the best bits from them.

Firstly, a Sunday Times article told us that football club credit cards were a massive boost for the companies who ran them rather than the clubs that you think are benefiting from them. Interest rates of 19.9% were common amongst a lot of the club cards, with Arsenal one of these most expensive ones. Spurs fell into the middle ground of clubs, with Liverpool and Manchester United at the cheapest end with charges of 14.9%.

The most telling factor of this revelation is that only 0.25% of each deal goes to the club shown on the credit card. Therefore, for every £100 spent, just 25p finds its way into the coffers at the club. So you would do better to take out a low interest credit card, which does not link itself with the club, walk up to David Buchler, slap £10 in his hand and then demand that he sign Ronaldo as he now has no excuse.

The credit cards leave a lot to be desired, but then at least the one that Spurs are affiliated to isnít as much a rip-off as it could be !!

The next survey (and it was in the Daily Mirror, so it must be true), told us that England has the league that boasts the highest average gate of 32,821. This was over 2,000 higher than second place Germany, with Italy third and Spain fourth. This is not a surprise, as the amount of money that is flowing into the game from other sources has made it an attraction for all sorts of fans. The product I donít think is a brilliant one, but the excitement that we have been brought up on makes it a spectacle for the ninety minutes perhaps more than the slow, but skillful leagues of Italy and Spain.

What would have been interesting would have been the average cost of going to a game, as you can bet your bottom dollar that, with us all paying a premium rate to watch our teams, Englandís Premier League would have been at the top of that table too.

It did go on to break the figures down for individual clubs and surprise, surprise Manchester United plc came top with an average of 67,544 during 2000-01. Real Madrid came second with Borussia Dortmund next. Further down the list, the next best English club was Newcastle (8th) followed by Sunderland in 15th. Our rivals from the other end of Seven Sisters Road came in at 26 and Spurs were in 29th place averaging 35,216, about 500 more than Chelsea just below us. And this is in an era when Tottenham are not among the leading clubs in the country.

I think this shows that with a slightly bigger ground (see elsewhere in this issue for more on that) and a little bit of success (or even more entertaining games or style of play), we could shoot up this table. The fan-base is there and it needs the stage in which to set that performance to increase the crowd size and consequently, the income through the turnstiles. For example, to become the club with the 20th highest average crowd, we would only have to average 5,121 more fans per game. How many supporters do you know of who donít get to matches, but would like to if they were able to get tickets ?? Quite a few I reckon. It is easily done and should the new ground not be full on a regular basis, then reduced prices would at least be bringing something in for the seats rather than them sitting empty and earning nothing for the club.

Lastly, another Sunday Times article shed light on which teams gave best value for money using a points index including good moves, cards from the referee and fouls conceded (from Opta statistics) against the average cost of a season ticket.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Gold Trafford team came out on top of the League (again) with a rating of 26 points per Pound, while Charlton, Villa and Ipswich followed them as the next three clubs. Everton proved to be one of the Big Five in this instance with 22 points.

At the bottom, it was also surprisingly to find Arsenal with 11 points per Pound. They scored highly on points (even though their disciplinary record is very bad), but it was the average price of £980 for a season ticket at The Library that put them at the bottom of the class. After the season we had last time around, it would shock none of you to find Tottenham in 19th place with a rating of 13 points/Pound. With Glenn Hoddle at the helm, we hope that the entertainment factor will be on the rise, but thanks to ENICís creative accounting for the removal of two Cup vouchers, the season ticket price is also going the same way. Still, just above Spurs were Newcastle United, who racked up 14 points despite reducing their season ticket prices by up to 50% in some cases, because their loyal fans were not that keen to turn up in huge numbers to every game.

Tottenham may be bad, but at least we are always in our places at the Lane !! And we know our place too.


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