I’m a big fan of West End musicals and whilst I was considering the outcome of the Arsenal Manchester City game last Sunday it very much reminded me of the plotline of We Will Rock You. If you haven’t seen it, let me give you a basic overview. In the future the world is controlled by a fictional company, Globalsoft, a Media organisation that has evolved into control of everything with the help of Cyberspace and Media control. Dissenters are ignored, reprogrammed and like what they are told to like.
Think The Emirates Stadium on Sunday and let us look at the bigger picture around the game. Prior to the match taking place, Manchester City fans, regarded as fairly honest and local to their team yet not as well off as their Middle Eastern owners, refuse or are unable to shell out £62 (Plus Booking fee) a ticket for the away end and the club send 912 of them back. Fair play to the City fans, they still sold a good percentage of their allocation but they made their feelings known at this televised fixture by holding up banners protesting against the prices, including one saying “£62, Where will it stop”. It’s emerged since then that this particular banner was promptly taken by stewards at the ground very swiftly, in the ensuing fury over the move Arsenal FC stated that it was to protect the fans behind the banner and not to obstruct their view. Err nothing to do with the fact that the sky cameras had picked up on it then?
Following the game Assistant referee John Brooks was suggesting to the City players that it maybe worth thanking the fans who had paid sixty Two quid to be there that day. Fans, players and journalists alike have largely applauded the official for his human touch and his awareness of the wider game. It is not a co-incidence that the powers that be have promptly hauled him off his duties at the West Brom/QPR FA Cup third Round tie. Madness?
You have to wonder why so many factors of what is wrong with today’s modern franchise-esque cliquey club game came out in that match? Is it because people had the audacity to speak out against high prices and conditions? Why go so overboard unless they have something to fear, would the interviews with fans in and around the ground saying proves half of what they were being charged are probably more suitable worry boards of football clubs. Don’t get me wrong, clubs have to pay a price for top notch facilities and Arsenal are well documented for paying top dollar for a world class ground but surely more than doubling their Highbury Capacity, Ground Naming rights, increased Hospitality options and the like should give a good return over time to justify the investment.
As a fan of the wider game I have no problem paying £8 to watch a Stepthree game I.e. Evo-Stik Premier Level, Scottish League games average out at around £14, I did slightly baulk at paying £36 at Leyton Orient recently for League One football but that was in the home end, and to be fair, had I have gone into the away end it would have been a fiver less but you have to look at the bigger picture. Are clubs seeing fans as a cash cow? Should we like what they offer without question or fear of reprisals if we do? You have to wonder to what lengths clubs will go to in a seemingly constant drive to sanitize their fans opinions…… and their pockets.
So maybe we should start expecting Arsenal…. The Musical coming to a theatre near you soon then?