67,000 or so people will have had their season ticket renewal forms for Old Trafford in the past week. I imagine most of us will be renewing whilst there will be several people who can’t afford the new prices or refuse to pay out of principle.
Ahead of the Arsenal game last week I was speaking to someone who had to pay over £100 to buy tickets for his two seats. It shows you how much money the Glazers are making off season-ticket holders in forcing us to buy cup tickets.
A few weeks ago we were told all ticket prices would increase by £1, which isn’t dreadful, but when you consider other teams have frozen ticket prices and even decreased the price, it’s pretty shocking. Their justification was there were 1000s of people who were rejected for tickets every game. So essentially, for as long as they can fill every seat in the stadium, they will keep increasing the prices.
But just how have the season ticket prices been effected?
Season ticket prices have increased by £19, charging the extra quid for every match. This season, the cheapest season ticket is £494 whilst next season, the cheapest season ticket will cost £513. If United make the semi-final of the European Cup again next season, the people who sit in these seats will be forced to pay £37 for their ticket. If they don’t, their season ticket is cancelled.
The most expensive season ticket this season is £912 and next season it will be £931. If United reach the European Cup semi-finals people will be forced to pay £59 for their ticket.
People sitting on the very back row of North Stand Tier 3 will be charged £43 for the European Cup semi-final.
In the three seasons between 2005 and 2008, season ticket holders have been forced to pay for 26 home cup games, an average of close to 9 a season. In the most expensive seats at Old Trafford you will be charged £49 for FA Cup and CL group stage matches, £54 for the CL First Knockout, £56 for the CL quarter, and as already mentioned, £59 for the semi.
If we look at last season and see the progress we made, people sitting in these seats will have paid an extra £316 to watch United play in six games in Europe, and they will have paid an extra £98 to see the two FA Cup games, as we were knocked out in the quarters. That comes to a grand total of £1345. That works out at £50 a ticket for every game they watched.
You are given the option of opting out of buying League Cup games, but are told in the information that came with the renewal form, “If we’re oversubscribed for an away match and/or a cup final, Season Ticket holders who have bought a ticket for every League Cup home match will receive priority over Season Ticket holders who have opted out of any League Cup home match.” Translation: If you don’t buy League Cup tickets, don’t even think about getting away or final tickets.
In that same booklet that came with the renewal form, Sir Alex Ferguson acted as the Glazers’ puppet, telling us how great we were. (He was singing a different tune last year when he slagged us off to the press!)
“We have always been proud of our supporters and you have al been magnificent agan this season. Nothing gives the team a greater boost than being greeted by packed stands and a wall of noise. Wayne Rooney recently spoke about the fans in glowing terms and if you asked any of the lads they would have the same opinion. Your support is second to none and we’ll be looking for the same backing next season as we go in search of more silverware. Rest assured the team will be doing the very best to give you plenty to shout about and, hopefully, one or two occasions to celebrate.”
Struggling to pay? Never fear! The information booklet has that covered too. There’s an application for a Manchester United credit card inside, which will surely ease your financial worries during the credit crunch. Don’t fancy that? Well take a look at Zebra Finance, who will pay for your season ticket in one lump, then you pay them back in five installments. Of course, you end up paying for more your season ticket than you would if you paid for it.
I will be renewing and I don’t sit in the most expensive seats in the ground. I can’t imagine not going to watch the team play every week, so inbuilt is the routine of going to my life. However, it does make you wonder when all of this is going to stop. They can keep pushing and pushing but when are people going to say ‘enough is enough’? For as long as there are 1000s of people queueing up, waiting for a ticket, the club know they can afford to keep raising the prices. But will that queue ever turn in to 100s? Or 10s?
Back to burying my head in the sand.