The
WALTER
PILKINGTON
COLUMN

BEING THERE

 

MEHSTG's first e-mail since we went on the Net was on the subject of ticket allocation, a subject that raises the blood pressure somewhat. So, why does a small piece of paper cause such a passionate reaction, when all it does is allow you to park your backside on a small piece of plastic for a couple of hours ?? The thing is , it's all about the being at the game. People who have attended Spurs' matches, home and away, just have to be in the stadium to watch. The sellers realise that there is this constant demand and tend to charge prices which, over the last few years, have shot up quicker than large all-seater stands at football grounds the length and breadth of the country. Moreover, they know that supporters will continue to pay that price for their devotion. They play on that with so much more consistency than any team does on the pitch.

Let's just imagine that Tottenham are relegated at the end of the season. Normally, you would expect to pay less for an inferior product, but can you really see prices being reduced for Nationwide League matches ? (Or even being kept the same as this season's ?) People have been saying to me, "Oh, well, at least your season ticket will be cheaper next season." Have they forgotten that there are more League matches per season in the First Division ? And that means more money for the club and Company.

The game of football has been called "The Working Man's Opera", but I don't see it myself. In opera there is lots of singing (so that's like football), but you see it once and you know that next time it will be exactly the same. And, in opera, you never tell who's winning ! There is one thing that is bringing the two closer and that is that they are becoming highly priced and therefore, not available to the masses. How many people can afford to take their children to matches these days ?? These kids are the future of the clubs and I would not swap the times I spent as a little kid watching Spurs for anything. Can the clubs really afford to deny these fans access or are they happy to cut off a vital supply of ready made supporters to spite their own face ? The redevelopment of some football grounds has led to reduced capacities and increased pressure for tickets. (I.e. the continued expansion of Old Trafford and the search by Arsenal for a plot to build a larger ground.) Away fans are especially discriminated against. It is often the case that away fans find themselves pinned into a tight corner, both in terms of getting a seat and then the location of it. No concessions and normally having to pay more for their seats than those home supporters. Is this because they are depriving home fans of those seats ? Because they might provide some support for the opposition and thus enliven the atmosphere ? Because if they have enough money to travel to away games (a ticket to ride ?) , then they can afford to cough up the premium for a ticket ? We should really be touting for a ticket policy that complies with some sort of footballing equal opportunities culture. And some FA or legal backing to it. (Are you listening David Mellor ?) Without that, you will not be able to guarantee a change and that means tickets won't be worth the paper they're written on.

And that's why ticket allocation is such a touchy subject. (If you don't believe me, then see further the current row over World Cup tickets)

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