FOLLOWING on from the petrol heads attempt to clog up Tony Blair’s in-box with an on-line petition, the Football Supporters Federation are looking to cyber-space to show the depth of feeling against the game’s exhorbitant pricing policies.
Now they the FSF have launched a petition to be delivered to all the club chairman as a way of making concrete the concerns of supporters everywhere. It will also be used as part of the presentations they make to government, sporting bodies and the media so it is a numbers game too: the more names on the petition the greater the weight behind their arguments.
It is important that we make our voices heard at this watershed moment in the game’s financial development. If we do wield our collective consumer power now next year’s TV bonanza will go directly into already cash bloated players’ and agents’ pockets or will be siphoned off by the new breed of profiteering businessmen who do not care about our game.
Anger has been rising for years as tickets increased well ahead of the rate of inflation. There was a lot of grumbling, an increase in picking and choosing, a collapse in cup gates and a steady trickle of people walking away from the live matchday experience. Those trends will undoubtedly increase dramatically if the game squanders the windfall from the new mega-bucks TV deal and there is no dividend for supporters.
We all know the arguments, they have been rehersed on here and in other places countless times. Football365 Rock and roll football writer John Nicholson has today added his voice in his weekly column on Fly Me To The Moon. There is no question there is a wide consensus on the ground that it is time for change.
And we are all aware of the pressure being put on clubs by the likes of The Sun in their shamelessly populist campaign to cut prices and the noises being made by ministers. We will all recognise the first steps being taken by clubs in pegging prices for less glamourous games and in pioneering Bolton cutting season ticket prices by an average 10%.
But it is important that fans have an independent voice too. We can not trust politicians to fight our corner and we can not rely on a newspaper owned by the same group that runs Sky Sports to have our wider interests at heart. And even the clubs that have made cuts are responding purely to commercial pressure and have not suddenly seen the light and thrown their lot in with the customers. Those bodies all have their own quite different agendas.
Our interests lay in a well organised, articulate and well informed supporters’ movement that can command respect, can put convincing arguments and can show it speaks for masses of fans at every level of the game and in every corner of the country.
Poster Never Happy has pointed to this article in the Independent which shows how the on-line consumer revolt over ticket prices is similar in scope and tactics to those over bank charges, road pricing is generating very real political pressure.
That is why it is important that this petition is a success. It needs big numbers to give it weight and that means it must have the widest possible circulation, not only on blogs like this and message boards because they have a limited reach. It must go beyond that, into work places, colleges and private homes. We need to pass it on to everyone we know who is an active fan.
You can sign the petition here.
Be warned, you will get a lot replies as it is passed on to all the clubs and many will reply. There could be 92 new messages in your mailbox.