Football, was once, perceived as the “working class” game but the rampant commercialism, fuelled by millions, in the last 20 years, has distanced it from its working-class roots. The game, which is watched and loved by millions, has had its “working class” roots ripped out, with the top level, ‘Premier League’ football club, driving more and more “working class” fans, away from the matches due, mainly to the economical and financial, hike in ticket prices which is driven by the greed of money.
The “beautiful game”, has advanced through the “technological age,” with the dramatic transformation, of how we perceive the game on the pitch, which has seen, the improvement of the Premier League, as the “greatest league” in the world, with the crop of some the worlds “greatest” players. Money, may have played this important part in the advancement of our game on the pitch but it has also controlled the game of the pitch, which has negatively, driven away the average “working class” supporter who can’t afford to compete with their football clubs hike in ticket prices for example. This, raises the questions; what happened to the days, fans were more important to the football club than the money coming into it? The top level game is slowly turning into a business of greed at the very top and something radical needs to change, for the sake of the average “working class” man who supported his team for years being priced out the so called “beautiful game”. The main catalyst for this change, was fuelled by the emergence of, billionaire owners and rich tv sponsorship deals from Sky Sports. This, points to another, example of the negative effect which money is having on our game.
This diverse change in the game, reflects the trends in capitalism, within society with the neo-liberalism of Thatcherism and Blairism.. The aim of the chairmen of the big clubs such as: Man City or Chelsea, is to ‘rationalise’ the football industry by the unleashing of brutal market forces. But the real fans; “working classes” in society, are gradually being cut off from attending the game, because of the greed of money, cutting the new generation off from watching top level live football.
The bubble is starting to burst. Football clubs have always played an integral part of working class communities. BBC Sport’s “Price of Football” has shown, that fans in the Premier League are paying between £15 and £126 for matchday tickets this season, with season tickets costing up to £1,955. It’s sad state of affairs to see, hard working and dedicated football fans from “working class” backgrounds, who love the “beautiful game” being driven away by ticket price hikes.
Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the FSF, with regards to this issue said; “We want football to be available to all income levels. Certainly at some clubs that is not the case. We are in the wrong ballpark for prices of tickets.”
“I hear all the time of long-term supporters who have given up season tickets because they resent paying the money they are asked to pay. There is a danger that supporters feel alienated.”
Football clubs in, the high end of the ticket prices, in the Premier League such as; Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Man United, won’t make any radical change, in their ticket prices and season tickets because they fill their stadiums every week if that means the “working class” supporter who, can’t afford the sudden hike in prices, misses watching their team they supported all their lives. Why do clubs in Premier League, who are part of “working class” cities, charge their fans, such unrealistic ticket prices, which in majority the average “working class” fan can’t support? Some Premier League clubs; such as Stoke City and Wigan, are an example to most “working class” cities, that rational and affordable ticket prices can be part of the modern game of football.
As a fair game, on the pitch, football should also be level playing field of the pitch for all sections of society. This greed in profits of clubs, like Arsenal or Chelsea, shouldn’t price out the “working class” fans. Football, is above anything else, an ideal vehicle for working with the working class sections of society; such as minority communities, offenders and people with disabilities, because of its glamour and intrinsic, near-universal appeal. Instead the game, is being further, pushed away from the “working class” roots.
It seems now in the modern age of top level football; particularly the Premier League, the game belongs to the rich business men; like Roman Abramovich and big sports TV companies like Sky Sports, who set the agenda and have truly changed the game, beyond belief and have actively tried to squeeze the working class roots out the “beautiful game”. It has become a multi-billion business and it seems the emphasis is made on how much money can now be made from ‘their customers’ and they will do anything in their power to achieve this. Without any, thought to the “working class” supporters who were the original foundations of the game.
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