There are two teams that play in blue and white hoops in the Championship. One has committed to charging away fans no more than £20, the other thinks such a thing is impossible. How strange.
In recent years QPR have drawn the ire of away fans for their matchday pricing with visits to Loftus Road often costing the travelling fan upwards of £40.
Now you might think the chief executive of such a club would either ignore the complaints (not good) or do something about it and drop the prices (good). But you would underestimate QPR’s chief executive Lee Hoos in that case, because he’s found a third way…
Lee has come out swinging and says fans shouldn’t dare question his pricing structure.
“How could you possible tell me the price of a product when you don't know how much it costs to make that product?” asks Lee.
So take that supporters. Never question the price of anything, ever, unless you know the minutiae of that business’ budget. Don’t you dare ask QPR for more affordable tickets. It simply isn’t on. Just stump up and shut up!
“You want to make sure season ticket holders are getting value,” he said. “You don't want to price them out. For me it's all about a philosophy of rewarding people who, one, make a commitment and, two, show loyalty. If you renewed your season ticket early, that's rewarding both commitment and loyalty.”
But if you’re an away fan or someone who simply can’t afford a home season ticket you’ve got no-one to blame but yourself for those high prices. You’re in detention, and will be forced to study QPR’s accounts in-depth until you learn the error of your ways.
To be fair, when it comes squeezing fans for every last penny, you might think Lee would blame the club’s past transfer record – you can’t just find £70,000 per week for Rio Ferdinand down the back of the sofa – but Lee has a way more nuanced understanding than that.
It’s all down to that pricey H20.
“The water bill here is tremendously expensive because the pitch requires a lot of water. It's not so much the actual water going in, you have to pay drainage fees as well when you're a football club.”
“The rubbish doesn't get taken out, we have to pay for that, that's a grand a game.” (We think he’s talking about crisp packets and stuff, not the club’s 2014/15 starting XI.)
Lee’s on a roll now and he won’t stop until we all submit to his SUPER BUSINESS LOGIC.
“When you're pricing these, you hear a lot of things, like ‘Twenty is plenty’. When people say that to me, I say really? Well, what's the cost base?”
“It's like going to the petrol forecourt and saying a pound a litre's plenty. What do you mean? It cost me £1.04. They say it doesn't matter I do a lot of travelling, I've got my family, budget's tight I shouldn't pay more than a pound. But it cost me £1.04 – ‘A pound a litre's sweeter’ – it rhymes; it has to be that."
We’ll have to try that one on the forecourt actually. Nevertheless, in amongst Lee’s money saving tips we don’t want the thrust of his message to get lost – and we think it can be summed up like this: “If you’ve got a family, and your budget’s tight, don’t moan at me about prices.”
Family Club of the Year 2016, surely?!
While you might have detected the tiniest bit of sarcasm sprinkled through this piece, we’d like to assure QPR fans we aren’t having a laugh at your expense. Far from it. The BBC’s most recent Price of Football survey shows season ticket holders at Loftus Road still pay more than most in the Championship, and the R’s fans are as vulnerable as any other when it comes to buying away tickets.
And we’re only teasing Lee in the hope he might actually read this.
The more serious point is that Lee doesn’t see the hole in his logic. He says he’d like to reward the most committed and loyal – yet is totally blind to those values in away supporters.
So here’s an appeal to Lee…
Reading FC have committed to Twenty’s Plenty for every single set of away fans visiting the Madejski Stadium for league football. That includes QPR fans. QPR fans’ loyalty will be rewarded when they visit Reading on Saturday 14th January 2017.
We know you think that’s a nice idea as you say so in the video: “One of the things I'm quite keen on, again, is rewarding that loyalty - if we have season ticket holders that go to away games then that's the people I think, yes, there should be a cap, clubs should supplement that with the Premier League money that it gets.”
So why not reciprocate that spirit of generosity, and recognise the trials and tribulations of away fans, by offering Reading fans an identical deal for their upcoming visit to Loftus Road on Saturday 15th October? We know you think there should be a cap, after all.
Cardiff City have already committed to such a deal with Reading for their games - it’d be brilliant to see QPR follow in those footsteps.