The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

WOW, isn’t it great that so many clubs have frozen ticket prices this sea­son? Erm, not re­ally. It’s a bit like freez­ing the price of a Fer­rari – you still can’t af­ford one.

Fans are still be­ing shafted, yet the way the big boys are slap­ping them­selves on the back, you’d think they’d solved third world poverty.

Don’t get me wrong – a freeze is bet­ter than a rise. And there are plenty of great ini­tia­tives out there, like Read­ing’s £135 sea­son ticket for 18 to 24year-olds.

But let’s not pre­tend this is the sec­ond com­ing of Mother Theresa. Pre­mier League clubs knew long ago that the new TV deal put them in line for a huge cash wind­fall from next sea­son. Though far less sub­stan­tial, Foot­ball League sides will also ben­e­fit in the form of sol­i­dar­ity pay­ments.

If you’re get­ting ex­tra cash through the tills and charg­ing the same on the gate, you’re hardly dol­ing out char­ity.

Truth is, though, adults have a choice. If you don’t like the cost, don’t buy a ticket. Take ac­tion, or don’t com­plain.

Far more in­sid­i­ous and cyn­i­cal are the rip-off chil­dren’s replica shirts. A foot­ball kit is ba­si­cally cheap tat, a gaudy sheet of polyester stitched to­gether for pen­nies in a ware­house in Tai­wan.

Yet the av­er­age price for a ju­nior shirt is now a shade un­der £34. Kids don’t un­der­stand mar­ket forces. They can’t make an in­formed de­ci­sion. They want a shirt more than any­thing in the uni­verse and will shame­lessly guilt-trip their hard-up par­ents into pay­ing for one.

Clubs know this – it’s why they all have three kits and change at least one of them ev­ery year. It’s why they charge ex­tra for num­bers and names.

It’s ex­ploita­tion, plain and sim­ple. And if the Leagues won’t take ac­tion to pre­vent it – by, say, re­strict­ing sides to a new shirt ev­ery three years – the gov­ern­ment should.

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