Jose Mourinho not wrong about home fans
Now that the ‘special one’ has highlighted the lack of atmosphere, the Chelsea Supporters Trust have come out and stated the most obvious reason for the lack of noise with excessive ticket prices/policy by some/most clubs, it is something most fans won’t disagree with – including Jose Mourinho presumably.
It was pointed out that it’s likely to be the younger ones who make the noise but as there is a lack of youths then the atmosphere is unlikely to alter. Of course we already know this at Newcastle, as our own singing section has been disbanded and to me St.James’ Park hasn’t been the same since.
Then I noticed at our sister city’s Veltins (Schalke) arena on Friday, whereby almost all the fans jumping up and down behind one goal were youths. Sunday I saw the passion of the away support for Spurs at Villa, totally different to last Sunday’s morgue versus the toon at White Hart Lane. Not to mention the first class away support for the toon in Manchester on Wednesday night, as most football fans who travel will know by now, it’s best not to be judged by your home noise.
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Chelsea I noticed last Wednesday had a great turn out at Shrewsbury with a full end, so perhaps reasonable ticket prices were a big for this game in Shropshire and as we toon fans know, it’s a far better atmosphere away because like-minded people can sing/stand etc and at least you know what to expect on your travels, as opposed to home games when you don’t want to potentially upset your neighbours nearby by getting up off your seat too often.
This is another reason why we should bring back the noise to St.James’ Park and create small standing areas in 3 corners of our ground. Ashley needs to do this as I am sure these season tickets would sell out and you would find a waiting list for them as it would be something these younger ones with more energy would look forward to each home game.
As well as ensuring our overall attendance will go up, each section should have independent fans liaison officers supported by the club, to discuss issues in each section and be on hand at every home game. I say let’s do this NUFC and lead the way but somehow I am convinced their desire/time/money just isn’t there.
One of my least favourite clubs for excessive ticket prices is Norwich city (who have ripped toon fans off over the last few years and the only reason why many wanted them relegated), who do not offer any discount for young people/students. A recent game at home v Charlton was £28 yet for Leeds two weeks ago it was £40. Norwich are just one of many clubs who have a disgraceful attitude towards fans and it’s obvious Leeds like ourselves were deliberately being targeted because of their excellent away following.
In Chelsea’s case, only a certain number of decent priced tickets were available on Saturday for young kids but I will guess these will be in the family section and I am convinced that the only way for you to obtain such a cheap ticket will be for both the child and parent to have a Chelsea club membership at around £25 per person. I know it’s a supply and demand thing, but a quick look in the Stamford Bridge crowd on match days says to me there is a lot of people (who are not necessarily big football fans) with the most disposable income who are attending Stamford Bridge now, proving at some grounds that football is getting further away from working class families who just so happen to be the same people who have kept this game going for the last 150 years
However, take Hull last season who were offering kids for a £1 if I remember rightly, the week after our game in the cup v Sunderland. Also, what these clubs fail to remember is that students are not earning a living and if you are a football fan and have been going since you were a kid, then this can be a hard habit to break.
More importantly, any genuine lover of football will know that these young kids are the future lifeblood of the game, as the little old ladies say to me at church on a Sunday, it’s great to see the kids coming through the door and we don’t mind if they are making a noise during the service because we want our kids involved. If we don’t get more young people involved then we may have to close our church one day. So when it comes to football maybe these students and teenagers who would usually come to the games may turn their backs on the team, or simply get out of the habit of going. Protecting our game is surely a long-term and ongoing issue and hopefully the EPL will start regulating sensible ticket prices.
At the lower levels of the game, this is where entry fees appear to be set at the right level. Personally I have come cross dozens of clubs who turn a blind eye at the turnstile for letting in the young kids who are accompanied by adults. These little gestures I never forget and make a point of going back.
Perhaps certain clubs need to look at themselves and start doing consultations with fans groups or parents who don’t even go to games, because it’s probable it’s the parents who are paying for their children to attend games. Just like when I was a kid as well, countless grandparents (who have no interest in football) every December going into our club shop and spending hundreds of pounds on kits etc. for Christmas presents.
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