The Football League Paper - - GRAHAM WESTLEY -

SO it is £1,955 for a sea­son ticket at Arse­nal but only £67 at Bay­ern Mu­nich. At­ten­dances in the Bun­desliga are av­er­ag­ing 44,293 while the Pre­mier League aver­age is 34,601. When I saw those facts, my reaction was slightly dif­fer­ent to the one you might ex­pect.

I im­me­di­ately thought how low Ger­man gates were com­pared to how cheap their prices were. Yes, Ger­man football is be­ing lauded right now and the Ger­mans de­serve credit; of course they do. But we mustn’t per­pet­u­ally ham­mer our­selves. Per­haps our clubs’ fail­ure in Europe this sea­son has been down to the lev­els of de­mand that ex­ist in the Pre­mier League. Com­pe­ti­tion is so fierce that sides are bound to be more drained than the Ger­man sides, which on the whole, carry fewer qual­ity play­ers than our top di­vi­sion.

Whether we like it or not, money at­tracts much of the top tal­ent and the Pre­mier League does have to gen­er­ate its in­come.

I want the game to be af­ford­able for fans; I thought it was bril­liant to see tre­ble the crowd up at More­cambe this year when they ex­per­i­mented with free football on a Tues­day night. But, the bills need pay­ing and the qual­ity of football will re­flect the qual­ity of play­ers. It is a re­ally tough one.

There will be clubs in lower leagues who de­cide to lower prices, raise crowds and pay much less to younger squads. The Bun­desliga is 52 per cent home­grown ver­sus 35 per cent home­grown in the Pre­mier League. The trou­ble is that some of those clubs will fail be­cause of it. So clubs have to be care­ful. It is all about bal­ance. And tim­ing. There will al­ways be a mo­ment where a club be­comes a suc­cess­ful ex­cep­tion. But fol­low­ing ex­cep­tions doesn’t al­ways reap re­wards.

PIC­TURE: Kevin Cole­man

PAY­ING RE­SPECTS: Gra­ham West­ley among the crowd dur­ing the Mitchell Cole me­mo­rial match. Be­low, Mitchell’s daugh­ter Rhys, 7 and son Ge­orgie, 5 with Boro bear

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