Basra, the corner shop where I used to live, was run by an elderly couple.

The bloke was dead canny, he liked a bet and used to have a chat on.  He had a toothy grin and an ebullient laugh.

I’m not sure the old dear was all there though, she would never engage in conversation at all, she was a hunched crone who tersely spat a price as her only form of communication.  What made me wonder about her having her marbles or not was the fact that the prices she shot at me were never the same.

One day 4 cans of Stella could be £4.80, the next day £5.20, the next day £5.  She seemed to make it up as she went along.  I never challenged her on it.  I wasn’t bothered about the coppers she added to a bottle of milk or whatever and I wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone, especially a pensioner, over such inconsequential sums.

With the latest round of ticket prices announced by Newcastle United, I’ve had to rethink my opinion of that old crone though.  Rather than a confused sexagenarian I realise she was more a retail genius on a par with multi-billionaire Mike Ashley.

Since I last wrote about ticket pricing at Newcastle United two more sets of tickets have gone on sale, and the lady from Basra’s would be proud.

First, Norwich.  Initially this looked like the same pricing structure as the Southampton game.  Member tickets went on sale with adult prices in the Gallowgate, Leazes, East Stand and Family Enclosure matching exactly.  Junior prices largely matched in those areas too, but not in the Gallowgate/Leazes, where kids were offered £5 tickets compared to £12 for Southampton.

Then public tickets went on sale and it got really complex.  Public prices didn’t match any sold to kids in the Gallowgate/Leazes previously.  Member or public, it’s £5 for a kid to sit in the Gallowgate/Leazes ends.  For Southampton, those tickets were sold at £12 (member) and £13 (non-member).  This ensured that against Southampton members got the minimum 5% discount promised in the membership terms. As has happened many times before, this promise to members has been completely ignored for the Norwich game apparently.

It’s a similar story for adults in the family enclosure, whether a member or not, tickets are £15, disregarding the promised benefit of being a member.  This is different to the Southampton game where members paid £15, saving £2 on non-members tickets which were £17.

Senior Citizens are the only people to get value from a membership in all areas of the stadium for the Norwich game.  Pensioners without a members card DO have to pay the extra £2 in the Family enclosure.

Stoke came next, on sale to members only right now, but once again in a whole new pricing category of it’s own.  £28, £33 or £19 for adults in the Gallowgate/Leazes, East Stand and Family enclosure respectively.  Other categories follow suit with prices not seen previously.

In the six games on sale so far this season a child buying the same seat in the Gallowgate/Leazes would have paid ticket prices  of £5, £12, £13, £14, £17 and £18. Not one ticket costing the same as another. For adults, buying the same seat 6 times would have cost 5 different prices, whether in the Leazes end, the Gallowgate end, the East Stand or the Family enclosure.

I continue to ask the club about this price fluctuation without any response or commitment to publish match categorisation criteria.

Unfortunately, it’s too late for me to ask the lady from the corner shop about her price fluctuation.  The shop closed a few months ago.  I think people preferred the Mace around the corner where they didn’t leave the shop feeling unsure if someone had just picked their pocket.

Thanks to Chris Holt for another excellent piece and you can visit his blog HERE, plus you can follow him on Twitter @MikeAshleyLies