IN the past I have been an outspoken critic of the Liverpool Supporters Union, but fair is fair and I would like to praise Spirit of Shankly for the way that they have attempted to make their voice heard over the scandalous increase to Liverpool’s season ticket prices.
I’ll always have differences with the union due to excessive disagreements with the way Hicks and Gillett were tackled, and those differences run deep enough for me to say that I will never be a member again. But I absolutely commend them for taking a stand against the increases to the pricing structure.
As a season ticket holder, I am pretty annoyed that prices are going up. Whilst our inconsistency makes me want to boot a door through, I have belief that we are heading in the right direction. This is one reason why I will (and I will find it hard, as will we all) find a way to stump up the extra cash. Additionally, I really enjoy watching us play. We have a great attitude to the game and I like the way we approach matches.
But let’s take some irrefutable statistics. We are currently seventh. We are not even approaching being competitive for the title and probably won’t be for some time to come. Whilst I honestly don’t think we’re that far off having the quality for the coveted 4th place, we don’t have it right now. We’ll be lucky to get into Europe at all because we are so wildly and infuriatingly inconsistent.
So why are ticket prices going up?
We have had a price freeze for two seasons in a row prior to this one. In the dying embers of their reign and already creaking from fan pressure, Hicks and Gillett dared not to raise the prices when their hand was clearly in the till as people wouldn’t swallow it. In their first full season, FSG followed suit.
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To me there is no justification. Some of the increases are downright outrageous to be honest. Many Main Stand fans are paying Old Trafford prices for their season tickets following the adjustments FSG and Ayre have made. They sit in that stand every week. They must know it is in dire need of some serious redevelopment. To ask fans to pay more to sit in antiquated surroundings is frankly extremely unfair and probably borderline exploitative.
The Americans are obsessed with the “Arsenal model” and our season ticket prices are getting closer to theirs than we’d like to think. If we were in the Champions League I probably wouldn’t mind paying more because we’re in the elite competition and the best teams are visiting us every couple of weeks.
However, the stark reality is that we aren’t. Spirit of Shankly are very right to take Ayre to task over the increases. They simply do not stack up. If prices go up again, I will struggle even more to afford it as will many others. The problem is that the club don’t care. For every one of me who can’t renew, another 1000 people are on the waiting list.
Currently I feel that the club is as detached from the fans as it has been at any other point in our history. I don’t buy the SOS mantra of wanting to own the club; for me that model is totally impracticable and is a work of fiction in this country. But the current model does not work. Ian Ayre has a lot to answer for, and in my view so does the Supporters Committee.
We’re all struggling and times are hard. The last thing we need are prices pushed up. FSG have a worrying track record for this as they did the same with the Boston Red Sox – upon the redevelopment of Fenway Park, prices rose. It would appear that history is repeating itself.
But at least SOS are trying to publicise the issue. The club needs to be made into a money-making machine, but penalising the match going fan when we aren’t competing is counterproductive and grossly disrespectful to the paying customer.
But sadly, the club just don’t care.
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