Everyone’s experience of football is different, from perceptions of a player’s ability to views on their club’s pricing structure. If you run a fanzine or are involved with a supporter organisation, we’d like to hear from you on how you think your club is doing, email firstname.lastname@example.org. First up, David Johnstone from Chelsea fanzine cfcuk…
The recent ‘Share TV Wealth’ demonstration in London and the ongoing ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ campaign made me realise that, as a follower of Chelsea FC, I can proudly say that my club has done much to communicate with their supporters as well as to assist them as far as the cost of watching their team is concerned.
This season, the Board of Chelsea FC has bent over backwards to listen to the club’s supporters and has held ongoing meetings with several supporters’ bodies including representatives of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust. These have been held in addition to regular meetings between Chelsea FC and those representing supporters on the club’s Fans’ Forum.
With the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge almost assured, the Board are canvassing Chelsea supporters for their views on a range of issues – both for the present and the future – including initiatives to help improve the sometimes poor atmosphere generated by the Stamford Bridge faithful at home matches, an affliction that is not peculiar to Chelsea but one that affects the majority of Premier League clubs.
Since the arrival of Mr Abramovich in 2003, the club has – corporate areas aside – only implemented three season tickets price rises. With a season-ticket for both the Matthew Harding Lower and Shed End Lower tiers costing £750, it means that the price of watching a Premier League match costs a little over £39. Those who sit in the upper tiers of these two stands pay £880 per season, an average cost of just over £46 per match.
The cost of watching home matches in the FA and League Cups and the group stages of the Champions League have been held at reasonable prices giving more supporters the chance to attend games at Stamford Bridge while the club does say it “recognise(s) the importance of our younger fan base to the… future of Chelsea.”
Meanwhile, Sunday 12th April sees Chelsea supporters scrambling for tickets to watch their side at QPR who have decided to cut the away allocation to a miserly 1,629. Chelsea’s away support averages 3,000 for domestic matches. Tickets for the away section will cost £55 and £50 - with restricted view seats costing £2 less.
Each top-tier club has budgeted £200,000 to assist away followers but the help that Chelsea has given to their supporters far outweighs that figure. By the end of this current season, the club will have subsidised the cost of travel for away supporters in the following ways; 17 coaches at £10, six trains at £10, and £10 off the cost of match tickets to three matches. This season, Chelsea’s total outlay on subsiding the away support will have been in excess of £410,000.
However, enjoying subsidised travel to away matches is nothing new for Chelsea supporters. The club has been laying on trains and coaches since 2004, some nine years before the Away Fans Initiative. It’s not that Chelsea have a fabulously rich owner that allows the club to do this. He hasn’t put his own money in for quite a while, this is self-funded out of the club’s budget.
Although many fanzines have been critical (and still are) of the clubs they write about, the cfcuk Chelsea fanzine has – since the departure of Ken Bates at least – always sought to assist Chelsea FC and steadfastly refuses to criticise for the sake of doing so. Bearing in mind what I have written above, it seems there is nothing that cfcuk can find fault with in what the club is doing at the present for its travelling supporters.
Long may this continue.
The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don't necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn't be attributed to the FSF.
Thanks to Action Images for the picture used in this post.