You're Gunner be skint

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Arsenal supporters have the chance to make history in 2011 – and it’s not exactly the type of history that they will welcome. They look like becoming the first fans in Premier League history to fork out more than £100 per game for the privilege of non-hospitality seats.

In January VAT is due to rise from 17.5% to 20% meaning the most expensive non-hospitality individual ticket at Category A fixtures (Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham) will cost as much as £100.60 by the time the ubiquitous booking (£2.30) and postage (£2.20) fees are taken into account.

The club’s website warns: “Please note that, with the VAT increase due in January 2011, our matchday ticket prices will be subject to change.” At present tickets in the most expensive seats – on the halfway line, upper tier – cost £98.50.

While this is in itself a fairly minimal price increase it comes from such a high starting point, and passes such a symbolic figure, that a backlash of some sort is almost inevitable – even among those who aren’t Arsenal fans.

“A £100 ticket in the present climate is ridiculous. It is proof that football is not living in the same world as the rest of us,” said FSF chair Malcolm Clarke. “The game has more money going into it than ever before and it is not helping fans. Prices have risen way beyond the rate of inflation, and the bigger clubs have gone the furthest over the last decade.”

The cheapest adult season ticket at the Emirates for 2010-11 costs £893 while the most expensive non-hospitality ticket – a ‘normal’ season ticket – comes to £1,825. This does however include seven ‘credits’ for cup games during the season, should the Gunners go on a cup run. North London neighbours Spurs have the next highest ‘ordinary’ ticket price at £76.

One of the more depressing aspects of this story for supporters will be the general acceptance of extremely high ticket prices. The Daily Mail, who broke the story, described the most expensive non-corporate seat at Old Trafford as costing “just £49”. That still makes Old Trafford one of the most expensive places in world football and is a price that many other fans in Europe would find repellent.

In September more than 1,500 Borussia Dortmund supporters boycotted their club’s away derby with Schalke after the home side raised ticket prices from €14.30 to €22 (£19). Fans in Germany also rallied behind the Zum Erhalt der Fankultur (For the Protection of Fan Culture) banner. 6,000 fans of 50 different clubs joined forces to voice their opposition to the seemingly never ending commercialisation of football.

Arsenal’s press office would not make any comment when contacted.

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