“I’m sorry sir; we don’t have fillet steak anymore so here is a burger. The good news is that we’ve frozen the price so your burger will cost the same as what we charged you for your steak.”
This is how I felt with the news that Boro had announced they had ‘frozen’ on the day ticket prices for our return to the Championship.
In a lot of ways I prefer the unpredictability of the Championship to the Premiership, where we can likely name the top 7 now. But it is undeniable that in terms of the quality of football on offer that the Championship is a burger to the Premiership’s fillet steak.
So I feel somewhat aggrieved to be paying the same price.
Now some will say that the club couldn’t reduce on the day prices when they had opportunistically frozen season ticket prices in the middle of last season prior to the Karanka meltdown and plummet down the table. But following a first home game of the season where we struggled to get a 27k attendance and ahead of a bread and butter Tuesday night fixture against Burton where even fewer fans are likely to frequent the Riverside, perhaps it is time for the club to have a rethink.
Just buy a season ticket I hear you cry. For a Boro exile like me who now lives and works in Leeds, a season ticket is a time commitment I’d struggle to keep. Also, £530 for the cheapest season ticket is still a significant outlay. Add in £345 for the minimum £15 petrol bill for each home game return journey and that is big money. The walk up prices are even worse. ‘Cheap’ seats are £30, plus the insulting £1.50 booking fee and add the £15 petrol bill and you’re close to £50 a game.
Plenty of empty visible seats…
— Dominic Shaw (@DomShawGazette) August 12, 2017
I’ve long called for a 5 or 10 ticket packages for regular attenders who can’t make every game, but even the Boro Pride discount scheme has been purged
The match day experience is one of my favourite pleasures in life, but given the sums now involved, I’m reaching the point where I refuse to be ripped off anymore. What are we getting for our money? Football is the same as it ever was, the players and agents get richer at the expense of the fans. We need the cash to compete you say? Well what is the end game exactly? Trying desperately to gain promotion so that we can finish every season somewhere between 8th and 17th in the Premiership? Is that entertainment? Is that worth it? In my eye’s it isn’t.
It breaks my heart to say it but I’m reaching the point where I’ll never go to another Boro match again because enough is enough and I refuse to have my loyalty to Boro exploited any further. That doesn’t make me any less of a fan. I just don’t see why filling the club coffers to pour cash into the pockets of agents and players should come at my expense. And for all the money flying around, are we really seeing better players or are, as it seems to me, are we just getting the same players but paying more for them (burger at steak prices!).
There is another way. With the newly secured Premier League riches there is no need for Steve Gibson to rely on gate receipts. Prices could be lowered for all and the Riverside would then be full, providing a better experience for the fans and the rocking atmosphere rousing the reds. We can make this dream a reality, but it needs every fan to say no to chucking more money at mediocre players and their opportunistic agents. I won’t hold my breath.