Often Partisan

Football without Fans…

I’ve been watching with interest what has happened up at Liverpool with the protests held by the Spirit of Shankly group against ticket price increases. Fans are claiming victory after the Liverpool board have confirmed prices will now be frozen for the next two years.

The Football Supporters Association (FSF) claimed the u-turn made by the Liverpool board was a “game-changer” and a “significant success” for the fans groups involved in the protest as prices will now not go up to £77 next season.

The protest is part of a wider movement among fans with the central theme “football without fans is nothing” – making the point that although football is a valuable commodity when sold for TV rights, part of the package that is bought is the crowd noise and atmosphere. Who wants to watch televised football in a sterile, cold and empty stadium?

While it is pleasing to see small victories like the one above I have to admit I don’t believe football clubs and fans are working together any more than they used to. Indeed, I think many fans act more like customers now buying a product than actually being part of a bigger entity; the apathy shown to the neverending saga that has been Blues ownership woes is testament to that.

Part of me thinks that is sad because inaction and apathy across the board in football has allowed clubs to impose on fans more and more the way they want to do things and in consequence fans have acted more and more as customers. I get the feeling that the sense of entitlement I see from many fans in football is more related to people demanding something from a product than they have bought than as a by-product of expectation and commitment.

However, I have to be honest and say I can easily see forcing change in football isn’t a priority either. We all have our own lives, our own work and our own families to worry about without thinking about trying to make football a better sport. I know this as well as anyone else – I run this site as a hobby around my work and family commitments and as much as I’d like to do more it’s not as high priority as the more life and death things are.

I know some people might think that football has been taken away from the average fan but I think the truth is we gave it away. When we paid Sky to watch football on tv, stumped up more as they built up more and more coverage of more and more games we (as a whole) created this monster that the TV rights now are. I think it’s important in all these protests to understand that money controls football, and money in the main comes in from TV rights.

It’s very hard for clubs to resist Sky  when they want to move a game – when FC United of Manchester tried they were told in no uncertain terms they had no choice in the matter – and thus I have to say I think for all the boycotts of grounds, the scarves and banners the only way to truly get football back is to not to pay to watch it on TV. Unfortunately, this is even less likely to happen than walkouts in the game so in some ways we have to deal with the monster we created.

Tags: ,

89 Responses to “Football without Fans…”

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    I was proud of what the Liverpool fans did.Nearly £80 to watch your team is just taking the p#ss.
    Premier league matches should be cheaper than the rest because they get all the TV money.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Alan Shearer said much the same thing on MOTD last week. He more or less said that, with the new TV deal next season, clubs could charge a tenner a game and still not lose out.

      • Hillfield Blues says:

        It’s the fans that create the atmosphere that is a big part of the package that SKY are selling.

      • Pete says:

        All very well carragher and Shearer saying this but ther crazy demands has led to this where clubs charge huge money, taking every penny sky give. Can’t imagin contract demands considered finances of the fans.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I’ve not had Sky Sports since we were relegated from the Premier and have no intentions of having it again in the future. I have no desire to pay to watch Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea etc every week. For me, Sky have ruined our beautiful game and I also have no desire to support them with my hard-earned.

    • Carl71 says:

      hear hear Staffs good call i used to have Sky too and even ITV digital (remember that) but now its the pub on a Thursday to watch the best premier league in the world …… Darts !! (until Blues get back up of course)

      • StaffsBlue says:

        We had Sky for about 10 years, but I never had the sports package until we were promoted to the premier, then, when we were relegated, I cancelled it. We got rid of Sky altogether 3 years ago. There’s so much content on line these days, we haven’t missed it one bit.

    • steve says:

      Sky isn’t just about football.

      • Shirley Blue says:

        I have got Sky Sports mainly so I can watch cricket and golf for which their coverage is excellent especially test match cricket, the major golf tournaments and Ryder Cup Not sure I would pay what I do if it was just football because I don’t watch that many live games despite how many are shown. Taking the package as a whole for me personally its well worth the money but maybe I need to get out more!

        • steve says:

          Same here.I watch a lot of cricket on Sky. There coverage of all sports is second to none. We won’t be moaning about them if we go up this season.

        • Hillfield Blues says:

          Likewise Shirley.Golf and cricket mad so it’s worth it for me although the Mrs has a slightly different opinion.

  • AdamTrueBlue says:

    I used to have the full sky package, which I had for 10 years, last January they put it up £2 a month, in June they sent me a letter saying it was going up another £2 so I cancelled it….nothing to do with the amount but the principal, so now sky doesn’t get £65 a month from me it gets nothing, yes they send me letters every week with special offers if I go back to them, they have phoned me asking who is getting my money now, yes I keep refusing the greedy company, yes I am sufferring, I have no sky but I am a martyr and have to suffer sitting in my local to watch games…thankyou sky.

  • Brian says:

    I believe that in some ways it is a good thing that supporters are treated like customers, professional football is now a product and owners should do all they can to improve that product. If the product I.e. The football and the ground is good more customers I.e. The supporters will attend games and thus improve the attendance and income.

  • swissjonny says:

    Its a vicious circle really.We fans want success-the club pays big money for, and to, players-the clubs need the TV revenue to pay for this and so on. Its big business now.Reminds me a bit of how the big supermarkets killed off independent retailers and provincial high streets. As Leicester and my local butcher have proved bigger isnt always better!

  • Rvh1t says:

    the other Merseyside club is making the news with yet another American takeover. The next monster could be a fresh attempt by Premiership clubs to pull up the drawbridge on relegation and promotion.

  • Retroblue 73 says:

    I recall Tom Ross saying on the radio many years ago when Sky TV took over the rights to Premier League football that the money Sky were pumping in would eventually destroy the game for the real fans, he was mocked pretty much then he is not far from being correct. But then as fans we have mostly all bought Sky TV at some stage. To me, Premier League prices are obscene. Clubs just taking more and more despite huge, huge TV rights. I think somehoe the FA and government need to bring in a “cap” to ticket prices across football. Maybe £30 for PL, £20 for Championship, £15 for League 1 and £10 for League 2. Non league football is obviously a lot cheaper but at my local club Redditch United it is still a tenner to get in to a game….

  • ChrisG says:

    You can’t totally blame sky for what has happened to the game, if the Italians & then the Spanish hadn’t thrown so much money at players 20 or 30 years ago things could possibly be a lot different. I’ve said for years now that their needs to be a categorized table for players fees & wages based on age, caps & experience etc. The amount of foreign players that come into this country that no one has heard of, clubs pay an extortionate fee of 10-20 million & give them wages in excess of £50,000 a week, it’s no wonder prices are over inflated. You look at the price that’s been put on Neymar of nearly £150 million & then wages on top of that it’s a total insult & there’s no guarantee he’d adapt to British style football.

    • Retroblue 73 says:

      I agree mostly with your thoughts ChrisG here, although I do stand by Sky with all the money that has been pumped in has just made the PL a money mad animal…with the new TV deal I think I am right saying that instantly the 20 PL clubs next season will be the most cash rich in the world alongside Barca & Real. You are spot on though about foreign players who we know little about being paid fortunes but then that is to do with Sky’s vast money they put in all players see the PL as the gravy train. I do miss the old days before the PL and Sky and tuning in as a kid to watch the Big Match on Sunday with the highlights from Midlands League 1 …sorry Division 1 (as there were so many Midlands teams early 80’s in the top league)

      • Dr Peter says:

        I have always been very concerned about the way the Premiership was set up and its subsequent evolution. The rich get richer …..but what really bothers me is the increasing disregard clubs seem to have for their supporters as supporters. Supporting a club is more than just being a customer. For many of us, it’s woven through our lives and the lives of our families. In this way it’s more than just another entertainment seeking our custom. However, the cash geni is out of the bottle and it seems to grow larger by the season, I understand that the idea of a European Super League is coming back into focus despite denials from some quarters.
        I rather admire the German system of club ownership and can’t help but wonder if in some way this has something to do with their national team’s success. Our Premiership set up has strengthened the idea of club before country – I can’t see where even a sucessful European championship campaign (England making the final) will come from.
        But I will have to live with the frustrations nationally and look forward to Blues storming to three points tomorrow!

    • almajir says:

      One thing that interests me is the way American sports are run – they publish all fees and wages in full. I’d love to see that kind of transparency here.

      • Strettonbluenose says:

        The Americans don’t have the EU anti competition laws and it cannot happen here. The NFL is a cartel. This has many advantages, including those you’ve talked about. The big problem is that it has to be a closed group. So there is no promotion or relegation. Entry would be by invitation.
        And have a look at the reaction of neutrals to the troubles of our neighbours? All that ” shouldn’t happen to a big club” nonsense. Think the Blues would be invited?

        • Roy Smith says:

          On the bright side, Wimbledon excepted we don’t have the possibility of our club suddenly being moved somewhere hundreds of miles away at the whim of the owner.

          • Shirley Blue says:

            Totally agree. What happened with Wimbledon was a disgrace, Who knows what might happen in the future though with foreign mega-rich owners who care nothing for supporters or the local area of a club they take over. We do know the footballing authorities would just roll over though if it came to it.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I have the full sky package purely because of my love of watching all sports from around the world including football so I’ve kept mine going , i personally have no time what so ever for Liverpool fans generally and I will keep my reasons purely to myself on that front but in this case I support there action , £30 maximum for away premiership matches, £20 for championship ,£15 for league one and £10 for league two should be the max… Season tickets for premiership no more than £700 , for championship £500 for league one £400 and league two £300 and Ime talking the best seats here … There’s no reason especially at the top end why this can’t be achieved with all the sky and TVs money coming in , that’s my shout on it anyway !! KRO

    • steve says:

      I think Football league teams would struggle to drop prices too much Dave because the TV money isn’t as good as the PL. PL teams on the other hand could do a lot more.

  • Oz says:

    Safe Standing areas are the only option to see any reduction in price. It really is as simple as that. It’s the only solution

    • steve says:

      Ground capacities would probably go up as well with safe standing. Even with cheaper tickets losses would be covered. Also,more money would be spent in the ground.

    • Dan Hickman says:

      Any boycott would need to be worldwide, do you think that United, City, Liverpool or Arsenal would just take it on the chin that top European teams were leaving them in their wake? Take away the Sky money and THEN you would see how much the club’s care about their fans! The ticket prices would be astronomical as they tried to recoup some money and keep up with everyone else. The relationship needs work but the worst thing to do would be get rid of Sky or go down the Spanish route of clubs being in charge of their own rights. As long as the club’s get the money they get then at least the fans have that as leverage and valid reason to not fork out that money. Those clubs would sell out no matter what they charged because of the brand and/or history. At least this way everyone gets a chance at a slice of the pie. Bigger issue imo is the lack of depth and lack of interest in developing home grown talent, too much laziness and short termism in recruiting.

  • Bristol Blue says:

    I agree with everything that has been said in the previous posts, but I do worry about the future of the game outside the premiership. All this money from Sky seems to go mainly to the premiership and this is creating a bigger gap between them and the rest of football in the UK.
    Billions are now going into the Premier League and this will just be used to inflate players wages and allow more foriegn players into the league at these inflated wages. Not to reduce the cost of tickets or to put more money into the rest of football in the UK. KRO

  • AdamTrueBlue says:

    I personally would love to see a level playing field, where the best managed team would take the accolades instead of our fiat 500 competing against Mclarens I would like a formula Ford where all competitors are on an equal footing but I think we have gone too far down the wrong road for there to be a change in my lifetime. Money has made the game and money has broken it, at least for the ticket buying fans. Kro

  • Clubs need to cut costs to keep ticket prices down , the police forces are making thousands redundant , perhaps it would be cheaper if clubs signed these sacked bobbies up and had their own match police force ,.and also move the football season to summer to save on snow and ice clearance payments , I think what football lose to cricket we would get back with more older fans and more women watching football in the warmer weather , besides weather in winter is forecasted to be a lot more extreme in future years , better bus services to matches would help the chore of parking .

  • Bluedad says:

    Yet another good article Dan, Well done

  • Summer football would also save on electricity for lighting , kick-off times could be staggered so the match police can go from game to game with the cost shared between clubs.

  • oldburyblue says:

    Who holds the most cards….Sky or The Premier League when in negotiations? Surely Sky could insist on caps on admission prices as part of the huge amounts it throws at the Game?

    • AdamTrueBlue says:

      Sky already has too much power over the beautiful game and flex their financial muscles more than should be permitted. More live football should be shown on free to air tv, the government should step in to make fòotball available to all and perhaps subsidise the BBC to get the ball rolling. Kro

      • oldburyblue says:

        I agree that Sky DO have too much power AdamTB…..but surely they should use their financial muscle for good whilst they hold that power?

        • AdamTrueBlue says:

          Totally agree but they are in the TV business and making a profit as long as it is a revenue stream for them I can not see them infuencing for the fans best interest, isnt that part of the leagues duties?

  • gazza says:

    if the Liverpool fans can get a result over ticket pricing , is it not feasible that we can get a result with the petition to keep the KOP corner open at st andrews ?

  • southcoastblue says:

    Personally I boycot SKY because it is run by Murdoch. But I’m just an old hippy so what do I k
    now.

  • swissjonny says:

    I wonder what Jerry Hall sees in him……

  • ChrisG says:

    For any Bluenoses that haven’t seen it, there’s a petition on BCFCfollowers to keep the kop corner open

  • Happen it’s his face on the banknotes,

  • Bluehobba says:

    I listened to the radio the other night and a guy was on from the Football Supporters Association and he said that the new deal done with Hong Kong Tv rights is so big that they could let fans in free to every premiership game and the clubs would still have at least the same amount of money as they have now. The premiership is definitely the promised land…kro

  • Dave Whelan of Wigan said it could happen there in the future bluehobba . when they was in the prem,pity he didn’t buy blues,

  • Rosalino says:

    The fault doesn’t lie at Sky TVs door, but at the Premier Leagues. If the Premier League wanted to keep the brand safe and secure they would sell the rights to, for example, the Saturday night game to ITV. If you want to keep the product relevant to the modern man, you make it available to them. They chose to take the money grabbing option, and ensure hefty bonuses for themselves. What the Premier League has done well though is sell the product globally, and I’m pretty sure most of them aren’t interested about the atmosphere at the ground, they watch the product on the pitch.

  • Micko says:

    Well done to the fine folk of Liverpool. Not for the first time they don’t just talk about direct action – they do it (eg. the boycott of the Sun newspaper after their vile comments about the fans at Hillsborough). Without wanting to get all political about things, the domination of football by Sky, etc. is just a microcosm of what has happened in all aspects of our lives – the total takeover by the international corporations. We do not control our lives any more, neither do our politicians – our lives are ruled by Google, Amazon, Starbucks, Sky, etc. Supporting the Blues is such a joyful diversion from all this – GR, the staff and the team seem like a bunch of honest brokers getting on with the game we love in spite of all the c**p.

  • Luke says:

    Straying off at somewhat of a tangent, good to see GR confirm on the BBC website today that he’s an OP visitor. Shows that (a) He’s in touch with the feelings of fans and (b) Dan’s views carry some weight at St. Andrews.

  • Dave Mann says:

    But what name does he use when posting , if he does !!

    • Mitchell says:

      Oh he does methinks. Time to do the detective work- I am ruling out Bluey and Richard and possibly Atko. Staffs under the microscope however.

    • ChrisG says:

      Ah the penny drops, Dave Mann, Goes to all the games home & away?, well you would do if you were manager wouldn’t ya?, Dave are you really Gary Rowett???!!!!

      • Dave Mann says:

        If I was Gary Rowett why would I use Dave Mann…… No not me Chris Ime just one of his followers who goes round the country supporting him and our team as I will Today , sorry to dissapoint you mate . KRO

  • There is a hillfield animal home in Burton …no wisecracks.

  • There is a gazza ??

    • Mitchell says:

      Leaning towards Staffs.Never has a bad word for GR and this smokescreen about baggy shorts etc.might just tip the balance!

      • StaffsBlue says:

        You’re having a laugh mate. I don’t really care who the manager is, never have. They come and they go. As I’ve always said, whomever the manager is, they’ll have my 100% suppoprt while they’re here.. but I don’t give them a second thought when they’re gone. I’m certainly not part of any love-in.

  • And there is only ONE William Morgan ….ha ha he he…

  • Dave Mann says:

    Yes there is , and us regular posters should stick together and support you , staffs , Mitchell and myself on issues that we know about , simples ! KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Spot on. I give my opinion as I see fit and explain my reasons for that opinion. If no one agrees, that’s fine. I never, ever claim to be right and certainly wouldn’t try to convince anyone to agree with me, because that’s not the point. Football is all about opinions.

  • Well after that comment Dave I am going to have to come clean ,l am Gary Rowett.

  • Sorry about the sense of humour….KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    Williammorgan , your like us , you are one of a kind . KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    Williammorgan , your like us , you are one of a kind . KRO r

  • atko says:

    I read this post but cannot associate with it much to be honest. Whilst I obviously have massive interest in Blues and football the game, I cannot say I dwell on the issues you refer to that much. Football is still 22 guys kicking a ball about for 90 minutes however you dress it up. It becomes no more or no less important than it was before it became big business.

  • Thanks Dave Mann that is a compliment I respect .KRO

  • The problem is atco that offield influences massively effect those 22 guys on the pitch and we defend our right to an opinion . KRO

  • Dan Hickman says:

    Any boycott would need to be worldwide, do you think that United, City, Liverpool or Arsenal would just take it on the chin that top European teams were leaving them in their wake? Take away the Sky money and THEN you would see how much the club’s care about their fans! The ticket prices would be astronomical as they tried to recoup some money and keep up with everyone else. The relationship needs work but the worst thing to do would be get rid of Sky or go down the Spanish route of clubs being in charge of their own rights. As long as the club’s get the money they get then at least the fans have that as leverage and valid reason to not fork out that money. Those clubs would sell out no matter what they charged because of the brand and/or history. At least this way everyone gets a chance at a slice of the pie. Bigger issue imo is the lack of depth and lack of interest in developing home grown talent, too much laziness and short termism in recruiting.

    • atko says:

      IMO they should take a leaf out of the NFL’s book and broadcast every game live except for the region the team is based in. Fans can pick and choose what they want to watch then & it’s a way of growing a teams fan base too with the sale of official merchandise. They can learn so much from the NFL given that it is predominantly an American Sport, it’s appeal outside the US is huge yet the Premier League appeals to many more countries! The NFL caters for it’s fans in a way that our Football NEVER will!!

      • Dan Hickman says:

        Because the NFL is, in reality, only appealing to one audience, the Americans. NFL is watched worldwide so the rest of the world can get a look in to American culture. Their population is big enough that they can have 3 big national sports leagues and not need competition from outside North America. It’s why Formula 1 hasn’t ever gripped them, it isn’t pushed as hard as the IndyCar or NASCAR series because they can’t control the profits and marketing of it, and it doesnt showcase American talent. The NFL model is effective for them but I just don’t see how it is transferable to a truly global sport. Wage caps and the drafting system, as well as publishing wages etc would never be allowed through European Courts for a start. One thing I do like, which Dan touched on last week is the idea of combining an educational and sporting apprenticeship. The issues with implementing it are too in depth to go into on a blog comment, but it is a very sound idea to link a 16 yr olds dream to his schoolwork and not to his bank balance

        • Rosalino says:

          To give a full response in comparing the NFL to the EPL and other football coverage would take a book. I will summarize as much as I can. There are five slots for televised games. Thurs Night, Sun Early, Sun Aft, Sun Evening, and Monday Night. The Sunday games are on free to air channels, Monday Night is on ESPN which you get with a basic cable package, and Thurs night is on the NFL Network a pay channel available on more premium cable packages. Your local team will always be shown locally, unless there is a blackout locally due to unsold seats (probably only applicable to the Jaguars). The ability to watch every game of every team is only available to satellite customers and comes at a premium. Satellite and Cable are 2 separate entities, Cable overall is higher quality you just don’t get the NFL pass. The NFL packages itself like this to maximise profits and to ensure that other sports don’t take away from its standing as the no1 sport. The NFL is way more closed shop than Football, and everything from media to sponsorship is contrived and controlled. To buy a season ticket for my local team, you have to buy into their debenture system. To quickly explain this, you are basically buying the right to buy the tickets. I think for the 2 of us that would be about $10,000. Once you own a debenture you are legally obliged to buy a season ticket until you either sell this debenture of if the franchise moves elsewhere. Average seats are $100 a game, good seats over $300. So for 2 of us that is $1600 a season. The price of that seat then goes up by about 50% if you make the post season, assuming a home tie. The fact then that NFL franchises can hold cities to ransom to get stadium improvements or they move cities, i.e. the recent debacle with the Rams. NC taxpayers had to pay for the improvements to the Panthers stadium so that the franchise owner didn’t take his team to another city with a sparkly new stadium. NFL teams are good for local business, it is debatable whether local businesses make enough to effectively fund a franchise though. You genuinely don’t want to go down a NFL model, it is far more cutthroat than you’d imagine.

          • Dan Hickman says:

            Didn’t know about the debenture scheme, that is rubbish! Seems that the cheaper TV deals are in reality to keep the population interested as geographically away games are almost impossible to attend.

  • Dan on an issue in the Mail describing Marcus Bent,a former Birmingham star is a bit poetic licence by the Mail?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Off to New York today ( the stadium that is) to hopefully see us get the three points we need to stay in the playoff picture , will be more difficult now with Warnock in charge but any win will do for me so fingers crossed and let’s keep the faith . KRO

  • Mitchell says:

    Dave,I once asked him about his great years at Sheff.Utd and that awful decision for the FA to allow West Ham to beat Man.Utd in that final game by an illegal player scoring the only goal that sent Sheff.down. I will always remember his reply which was ‘the more you look back-the more likely you are to trip up going forward’. Just a thought. Safe journey up.

  • If omens are anything to go by today is Donaldson’s day , with the river Don next to ground also Don St and also there is a Clayton district in New York , forget any lower team jynx the game is DON and dusted ..


Personalised Gifts for a Bluenose
Haircuts and League Cups
Open Tax Services
Corporate Solutions UK
PJ Planning
FamilyTrees4You
Rodal Heating

Archives

Weekly Newsletters