Away fans: five times around the world?

Newcastle United fans approach Anfield Photo Danny Molyneux

Here at the FSF we get loads of random press releases that aren’t really anything to do with our work and most of them go straight into the bin. Sorry about that PR people.

Having said that, the odd one catches our attention, a recent example being research by parking app JustPark which claims top-flight supporters will travel a total of 119,000 miles on the road this season.

Geography dictates much of this, with Newcastle United fans travelling the greatest distance at 8,874 miles, with an average round trip of 467 miles per away match.

Aston Villa fans get the “easiest ride” with “only” 4,464 miles to travel, an average of 235 miles per away match. Still sounds an awful lot to us. The average travelling fan apparently spent 100+ hours and more than £1000 on the road.

“Supporters who drive to every game fork out an average of £832 per season on fuel and £203 on parking. Chelsea supporters spend the most on parking, at an average of £400 over the course of the season,” say JustPark.

“The longest journey in the league is between Newcastle and newly-promoted Bournemouth. St James’ Park to the Vitality Stadium is 356 miles by car - a 712-mile round trip for travelling fans, taking over 11 hours.

 “In contrast, Liverpool and Everton fans enjoy the league’s easiest journey: the Merseyside Derby. The distance between Goodison Park and Anfield is just 0.7 miles - a quarter hour stroll or four minutes by car.”

Fans can find out how far they will be travelling this season, how long it will take, and how much it will cost by using JustPark’s distance calculator.

Twenty’s Plenty

All of this shows just how much time and money away fans spend on following their team, whether that’s at Premier League, Football League, or beyond. The buzz away supports bring to a ground can’t be easily replaced – home supporters bounce off it.

That back and forth is central to the atmosphere created at football, one of its main pull factors. It’s not just about what happens on-the-pitch. Without away fans helping create that spectacle in stadiums we believe football’s mega-media deals would collapse. Clubs would lose fortunes.

We want to hammer home to the football industry just how important away fans are.

At present travelling fans on average pay higher ticket prices (and that’s before you get to rising travel costs, TV faffing around with fixtures, poor away accommodation, and so on).

Away prices need to come down, and on Saturday 3rd October and Sunday 4th October fans will make their voices heard with a weekend of action to tell all clubs that Twenty’s Plenty for Away Tickets. We want you to get involved – email tickets@fsf.org.uk

We also have a number of initiatives which aim to help the travelling fan under the umbrella slogan “Away Fans Matter”. These include the Away Fans Survey (which aims to improve matchdays and increase travelling support) and the Away Fans Matter Ground Guide ('wiki-enabled' which means you can share what you know about your club).

In addition Twenty’s Plenty has saved 68,000 fans a total of £738,000 since its launch and secured the backing of Coventry City meaning no visiting fan the Ricoh Arena will be charged more than £20. Swansea City have also committed to subsidising their own fans away tickets at £22.

Thanks to Danny Molyneux for the picture used in this article. Reproduced here under CC licence.