The Premier League’s announcement that clubs have set aside a pot of £12m over the next three seasons to make games more affordable for away fans is a welcome one. The Away Fans’ Initiative equates to £200,000 per club, per season.
It’s good news for top-flight fans and we believe it’s a direct response to our Away Fans Matter campaign (which includes the Twenty’s Plenty for Away Tickets petition) and direct action from supporters at many clubs.
Since its launch in January 2013 Twenty’s Plenty has become a rallying cry for fans and 20,000+ emails have now been sent by fans to clubs (and the authorities) outlining their support for the campaign.
Twenty’s Plenty’s primary aim is to persuade “football clubs at all levels of the game to recognise and reward the amazing contribution of away fans by getting together to agree an across the board price cap on away match tickets of £20 (£15 for concessions)”.
Away fans are the beating heart of football, bringing noise, colour and atmosphere to grounds across the country. Without that vibrancy would football be as appealing a product for TV?
We don’t think so, and it seems Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has come to the same conclusion. Those £5.5bn+ media deals would take a tumble if stands were empty, that’s for sure.
“In the past five years we’ve seen a 10 per cent decline in away attendance,” said Scudamore. “In the past six months we’ve put a lot of effort into what can be done for away attendance. One of our unique selling points is the away attendance because it creates the tension, the passion, the show.”
While a maximum of £20 for away tickets is the ultimate target we’re pleased to see that the campaign’s having an impact – away games are now more affordable for some fans.
This isn’t a magic bullet – for a start those outside the Premier League obviously don’t benefit – but it shows that clubs can be persuaded to listen to fans. It’s a step in the right direction, although there’s more work to be done.
- Arsenal away fans will receive a £2.50 discount on every remaining away Premier League match ticket. The club will also provide away supporters with a £10 refreshments voucher at an away fixture this Christmas and invest in the away end at the Emirates.
- Aston Villa put on 10 free coaches for ten games this season starting with their match against Hull City on Saturday 5th October.
- Cardiff City will subsidise 30 coaches for Norwich City away so fans only have to pay a fiver. The club are also looking into other deals. Fans travelling to Cardiff should also check out the club's Away Fan Guide.
- Chelsea confirm subsidised travel for at least 10 away games this season including long trips to Everton, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Sunderland.
- Crystal Palace and Swansea City do a reciprocal deal which means “any adult ticket can be purchased at half-price with every full-price junior ticket”. The Jacks also promise to provide a free hot meal for every travelling fan at St Mary's on 6th October.
- Everton offer £5 discounts on away tickets over the Christmas/New Year period. Junior Evertonians going to Stoke City on New Year's Day will only pay £1. The club will also invite 10 visiting junior fans to carry their club's flag at kick-off and random select youngsters for football coaching sessions.
- Fulham provide four free coaches at every Premier League away game. The club will also hand out free away tickets to junior season ticket holders and members.
- Hull City offer free travel to away games and have nearly 30 coaches going to Everton on Saturday 19th October. The club will also offer free travel to Spurs (league and cup), Southampton, Arsenal, and Swansea City, all before Christmas. The club are looking at further offers in 2014.
- Liverpool reduce away ticket prices by £2-£4, dependent on the opposition. The decision was taken after consultation with the club’s Supporters' Committee.
- Manchester City will offer half-price tickets for selected away games - those furthest away or taking place during periods of fixture congestion. City players and staff have also chipped in a reported £1,000 each as well. The Blues will revamp away areas at the Etihad Stadium and have produced a Visiting Supporter Information booklet.
- Manchester United consult the Fans’ Forum and knock £4 off the price of every away ticket bought by a United fan, starting with the Fulham game on 2nd November.
- Newcastle United fund disabled away fan travel for the remainder of this season. Reports suggest the club is also willing to implement reciprocal £20 tickets deals for away fans - hurrah for Twenty's Plenty!
- Norwich City offer "double discount" for trips to both Manchester clubs. The club also laid on 25 free coaches for the trip to Hull City and have offered half price tickets for Stoke City away.
- Southampton have improved the away fans concourse areas and are providing supporters with a Family Fun Day for their home match against Fulham.
- Stoke City offer free coach travel to away fans for all Premier League fixtures. This has already resulted in the Potters taking a club record number of fans to Anfield for a Premier League fixture.
- Sunderland subsidise away tickets at certain fixtures by £10 and improve the concourse, signage and bar areas for travelling fans. The Black Cats will also produce 40,000 guidebooks for visiting fans with things to see and do while in the area.
- Tottenham Hotspur offer subsidised travel to all 14 top-flight games outside of the London area. They'll also assist official regional clubs travel arrangements and refurbish areas used to accommodate visiting fans at the Lane.
- West Ham United look at a host of offers, incentives and actions exclusively aimed at travelling supporters, including affordable tickets, reduced-price coach travel and enhanced matchday experiences. Specific details here.
At present, not all offers are known as we've yet to hear confirmation from West Bromwich Albion and other clubs might yet offer more deals. If you know of any Away Fans’ Initiative offers we've missed please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about Away Fans Matter: www.fsf.org.uk/tickets