Around 1,000 Liverpool fans boycotted last night’s visit to Hull City in protest at £50 away tickets. The boycott, organised by FSF-affiliated supporters’ trust Spirit of Shankly (SoS) and atmosphere group Spion Kop 1906, was hailed a “massive success”.
“Tonight’s protest against ticket prices has been a massive success. Initial estimates from sources and from pictures are that over half of all tickets for the away end have gone ‘unused’. This has exceeded our initial expectations,” said SoS.
“We would like to thank all those who have taken part by not attending the match or the hundreds who have attended our protests at Anfield and in London.
“We never expected an empty away end. We had not anticipated such a strong show of support. However what this protest has shown is that supporters up and down the country are angry, that so many people are supportive of our message and that supporters at LFC are prepared to step up in the fight for more affordable football.”
The high ticket price was brought into sharp focus by the staggering difference that different fan groups can be charged thanks to “categorisation”. While Category A tickets at Hull City cost £50, Stoke City fans were fortunate enough to be charged a very reasonable £16.
It’s a story that fans of certain clubs are very familiar with; routinely being charges Category A prices adds approximately £300 to the cost of following your team away from home over the full season.
Liverpool fans also received the backing of many in the home end, with Hull City Supporters' Trust (HCST) releasing a statement applauding their actions.
“The HCST is concerned that ordinary supporters are being priced out of attending Premier League fixtures, including Category A matches at the KC Stadium such as this one against Liverpool, though as supporters of Hull City we will be sorry that the atmosphere will be less intense due to the absence of Liverpool fans.
“The Trust applauds the actions of Liverpool fans in making a stand against high ticket prices, and will continue to lobby Hull City and the Premier League to see a fair deal put in place for all fans attending on matchdays.”
Both managers also spoke out with Steve Bruce lamenting the cost of modern football, saying he felt “sorry” for fans, and Brendan Rodgers defending supporters’ right to protest.
“I feel sorry for the supporters of big clubs who have to dig deep every week. We have to remember the average man in the street because they are the lifeblood of football,” said Bruce.
“I hope when the new TV money comes into play the Premier League can remember football does belong to supporters. If the Premier League sets certain rules we would all have to abide by them.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said: “I respect the supporters' right to protest. I don't know so much about it but supporters nowadays have to work very hard to get the money to go to football games.”
The Premier League signed a new £5.14bn media deal in February 2015, once again drew attention to the vast amounts of money pouring into football, and how little of it is reinvested in fans.
FSF chief executive Kevin Miles wrote to all clubs and showed how the increase from that deal alone equated to around £46 for every fan, at every top-flight game. Football has enough money to cut prices.
The FSF has campaigned on ticket prices for many years, and we organised a demo outside the Premier League shareholders meeting on Thursday 26th March.
Subsequently the Premier League announced a new commitment to funding work in relation to the matchday experience and fan engagement. Further details are still to be confirmed.
The FSF’s Twenty's Plenty for Away Fans called for clubs to cap away tickets at £20 on a reciprocal basis and, last season, saved 31,807 fans a total of £342,260.