The revolution in pricing needs to be permanent

Bradford City draw bigger crowds than English clubs in the UEFA Cup.

There is not great secret or mystery to this. The Bantams following a pricing policy that puts the cost of going to a game more akin to a trip to the cinema than a night at a West End show and reap rewards of 12,000 plus supporters dwarfing the rest of League Two’s support.

This is met in some parts by derision – terms like “dirt cheap” are used – but represents something more impressive than bargain basement way to put bums on seats. It is a revolution in pricing that positions football as once again affordable to all.

Rumour that the FA are to cut the price of watching the national team by 25% as a response to the credit crunch is welcomed in the same way but hard to see having the same effect. Demand to watch the national side is always high and hefty prices maximises the revenues on that. A cut in the cost of watching England is more about ensuring that the next time Gerrard et al play it is not to a one quarter empty Wembley.

Likewise the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Wigan Athletic offer reductions to sections of the support to cover up the acres of empty space that have become common in around half of the Premiership grounds but they do so on a temporary basis. Kids are given reduced entry but do clubs really expect your average 15 year old paying £5 to be able to find an extra £20 the year after to carry on watching his team?

Likewise what does the club have for the man earning a decent wage today put out of work tomorrow? Does he feel the loving embrace of his community or does he look at the budget for next year and seeing rising fuel and heating costs and strike off “football” in favour of paying the bills?

What does that say about football as a community? Do we really want our clubs to be a friend until one is in need?

Football needs the sort of revolution in pricing that is seen at Bradford City and matched elsewhere to be permanent and significant.

For ten years or more football has practised social exclusion. With financial difficulties for all a reality it needs the shift back from maximisation of supporter bases to social responsibility for a community asset.

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