Vegas, United, Barcelona and Season Ticket Price Hike!

Morning All…

I’m Back!

I’ve returned from Vegas to a jubilant Arsenal, an Arsenal that finally beat United… an Arsenal that outplayed and outwitted a United brimming with confidence – a United that started with Hernandez and Rooney – arguably their best two strikers. It’s been typical Arsenal… draw, draw, draw, lose… and then when the title is lost, go and beat our biggest title rival. Great – thanks Arsenal… great victory, but a little bit more mental strength for the last couple of months and grinded out just a few more points… Okay, yes, I know, no point crying over spilt milk…

Barcelona & United Make It To The Final

Tuesday’s game was a decent affair – much better in my opinion than the first leg – and much more football being played. Again, like the first leg, I did feel sorry for Real Madrid. And from a neutral point of view, it was clear to see that the referee was favouring the home side. The whistle blew at every Barcelona dive – but when Real Madrid were actually fouled, play was waved on. And the disallowed goal was frankly ridiculous. As an Arsenal fan, I believe we were hard done by the referee when we played Barcelona. I think it’s there for all the world to see. Mourinho has been lambasted for his comments, but some of it had to be said. A little harsh with the Unicef comments, but in terms of referee favouritism, I think he hit the nail on the spot…!

And cheeky Alex Ferguson decided to rest most of his squad, I think he rested 9 players and still ended up beating Schalke 4-1. Annoying. And what’s more annoying is that I bet you anything that Messi gets injured for the final… Anyway, why on earth am I even talking about this?

Season Ticket Increase

The proposed season ticket price increase has now been pushed through and a whopping 6.5% on top of the highest season tickets in the Premiership already have not made for pleasant acceptance. It’s a big blow to supporters who have forked the most expensive prices (on average) for the last 6 seasons, without the transfer deals, and general expenditure that would be expected in regard to such prices.

The AST (Arsenal Supporters Trust) and the AISA (Arsenal Independent Supporters Association) have both been campaigning for maintaining season ticket prices. Both associations have been in regular contact with Ivan Gazidis, and they both received official responses from Arsenal.

Click on the image above to read the full reply by the CEO to AST… and they’ve replied with a public statement:

“The AST is very disappointed that Arsenal have rejected our call for ticket prices to be frozen. This decision will sadly see some loyal fans priced out of the Emirates. AST is pleased that Ivan Gazidis acknowledges the cost of attending football matches is pricing fans out of the game and welcomes his commitment to a complete review of Arsenal’s ticketing arrangements for season 2012/2013. The AST will contribute to this process and monitor the progress of this commitment. We will also feed in views from our annual membership survey and on the 13th June 2011 all AST members will have the chance to put their views directly to Ivan Gazidis at our end of season review meeting. Now that this decision has been made, Arsenal Supporters will expect to see the extra income raised invested in team strengthening. It would be shocking to see this money end up being extracted from the club by Stan Kroenke. The AST believes Kroenke should issue further reassurance to supporters ahead of them renewing their season tickets that this is the case”.

Watching Sky Sports News last night, it was interesting to see how many fans are genuinely upset – actually, are in disbelief at the ticket price rise. There are lot of individuals who will not be renewing their season tickets, and even the team at WOA are considering reducing the number of season tickets we use.

In a follow up to the exchange of words, Ivan Gazidis also stated:

‘I share your concerns that ordinary fans are being priced out of live football. This is bad for the continued health of the game and is driven primarily by escalating and ultimately unsustainable levels of spending on transfer fees and salaries.

And for me, this is the most disappointing part of it all… why? Because we the comments relate to transfer fees and salaries. Well, for a team that didn’t want to spend the extra £1m to get in an experienced goalkeeper last summer and for a team that has reduced it’s wage bill by removing the top earners such as Gallas, Henry, Vieira, etc etc, why on earth should or could that be used as an excuse for raising ticket prices? It simply doesn’t make sense and is very disappointing to hear such a line being used.

The worrying thing is considering the lack of experienced players and lack of major transfers, we have an alarmingly high wage bill – we’re talking about players like Abou Diaby earning £60,000 a week (that’s £3.1m a year), and fringe players like Bendtner and Chamakh on £50k a week (£2.55m) and even the youngsters (Gibbs, Kosicleny etc) are on wages of around £20 – £40k a week. That is why we have such a problem.

The way to resolve it is to reduce the non-playing staff – and by non-playing I don’t mean back room – I mean the long list of fringe players and youngsters on high wages who are simply not good enough. Denilson’s current contract is worth £8m over the next three years (I am led to believe), so that a massive amount of money for a player whom the gaffer doesn’t prefer and I know the majority of fans don’t either. The way is not to increase ticket prices. If Arsenal were winning trophies and had a modest wage bill and even had the desire to buy a proper player, then we may look upon the increase differently, but when our cheapest ticket is more expensive than Man United (ahem, who win trophies)’s most expensive ticket, then the decision to increase ticket prices will only cause a bridge between fans and the club.

It is very frustrating being an Arsenal fan.

Thanks to the WOA team!

Major thanks goes to Kieran Delaney for his double whammy this week, stepped in admirably. And another thanks to Totti, who had a double whammy at the end of last week, Royal Wedding style. You can follow Kieran and Totti on twitter, their aliases are @kieran_delaney and @tottz82 respectively!

  • Arsefan101

    Good to have you back kind sir… it’s all been happening whilst you’ve been away!

    Jack Wilshere has been called up to the England Under 21 tournament and that’s really bad for Arsenal – he’ll be burnt out!!

  • theusualsuspect

    There is a lot of debate on the rise of our ticket prices next year. Now I don’t agree with some in saying that it’s obscene, but my ticket has gone up by almost £170. I think those on here that are saying that this increase is nothing are maybe on the slightly higher end of the pay scale, or maybe just want to argue for the sake of arguing (I can think of some who just want to defend this club no matter what mistakes they make). Now I’m not one calling for Wenger’s head, and I have defended the board a lot as I feel they have done a lot of good for our club, but this I feel is a heavy price to pay for season ticket holders. For a lot of people £170 isn’t necessarily the be all and end all. I know a few people with season tickets and as much as they love going and have been doing so for years, even without these hike in prices they contemplate whether they can afford to keep it going. Now most at the Emirates will take it on the chin as they know letting go of their ticket may mean never getting one again, but I promise there will be a few that just can’t manage it, and I would put money down that it’s those that are forced away who are some of the few who really sing their hearts out at our often quiet stadium.

  • simon

    Does anybody really believe that Wenger or the board give a flying fig about the fans. Wenger has been encouraged by the board over the past 3 years to be frugal, as their master plan was always to wait for a juicy pay day and walk off into the sunset with their golden handshakes. And do you really think they care about the majority of disgruntled fans who are paying top premier prices for their season tickets and getting no silverware in return. To hike up the cost of our season tickets by 6% is obscene, but yet again the threat of many fans not renewing either through cost or protest will not cause any of them to lose any sleep because they know with out massive waiting list, they will be snapped up by more corporate, rich boy fans who offer nothing to the atmosphere of the stadium but will continue to line the pockets of out money grabbing executives. It stinks!!!!

  • terry

    welcome sir

  • Fo

    The price hike is absolutely ridiculous!
    I cannot believe it – i saw on Sky that our most expensive season ticket is over £1900. Shocking.

  • devday

    @ theusualsuspect:
    The problem is when the CEO blames the need for the price increase on transfer fees and wages – when we’ve spent less (net) in the last 5 years than most top half teams (Sp*rs, Liverpool, Man City, Sunderland, United, Chelsea, Villa)…

    In addition, we’ve shipped out our top earners (Henry, Vieira, etc) for new younger “cheaper” blood.

    How on earth can that be used an excuse?

  • devday

    @ simon:
    It is interesting that Gazidis took it upon himself to talk about the massive waiting list. Kind of like “in case you think you’ll walk away or are considering not renewing… we don’t need you, as we have other people waiting”…

    Seriously disappointed.

  • devday

    PS, Stoke have also spent more than us!

  • terry

    wenger is already saying this team is only averaging 23yrs and we need to keep faith,arsene you have wasted revenue made available by us fans in agreeing contracts with players that s/be cleared out,and everything points to deja vu next season.why dont you level with us fans and tell us you are going to invest in quality at cb,at defmidf,a wide midf and a quality striker.or not the man u result proves nothing its a one off and when they attacked late in the game we looked shaky. i object to paying another £2oo for my ticket,we should create money by shipping out the obvious trash we have i wont name them yet again as they are obvious to fans but not aw. im a pensioner now and my income as not got up in fact the winter allowance has been reduced but its alright for aw to pay ridiculous wages for so many players. why dont the club come clean and tell us what tfrs are likely before we have to reinvest. supporters sometimes are kidded by songs good,djourou is ok then we have youngsters coming through its only becos we compare the players we have but look at cb manu have ferd and vidic,i could go on. im sorry aw and gavadis this policy aint working and the quality of football this season aint good enough like the results we get slowly to the 18yd box and dont have a clue.ive news for vp next season wont be any different as the past 6 with aw in charge.

  • terry

    @Dev, There’s a waiting list of about 40,000. I’m sure that many of those 40,000 would now turn an ST down if offered because of the price increase (many have been on there since we were at Highbury) but I’m also sure that there would be more than enough to take up any ST’s that were given up. I was on the waiting list for 13 years and even after all that time, I was still only number five thousand and something when we moved to the Emirates and all the extra seats became available. I’d give mine up in a heartbeat if I thought I could get another one in a few years, but I know that I won’t and the worst bit is, the board know full well that there are lots of people like us. If they thought for one second that the team will end up playing in front of a half empty stadium, they’d quickly find other ways to raise revenue, or else they’d just reduce costs. Getting rid of some of the dead wood in the squad and the wages that go with them would have at least made a smaller increase possible, if not actually eradicated the need for one in the first place.

  • simon

    Gazidis sympathises with fans as he shares their concerns over ticket price rises and blames the hike on rising transfer fees and unsustainable player salaries. Source: Sky Sports.com

    Are you kidding me? Do you have any grasp on reality or what is actually going on at the football club who you are paid an astronomical wage by???

    The first obvious point: What f*cking transfer fees??!!?? Our net spend in recent seasons is a pittance!! What have you done with the £40m + you received for Adebarndoor and Toure?!? Can you not finally dip into that for the extra £5m the ticket rises will net you??

    Unsustainable wages?? You mean the wages paid to the likes of Bendtner, Eboue, Denilson, Squillaci, Almunia, Fabianksi, Diaby, Rosicky, Clichy, Arshavin??

    You keep telling us we have a viable and sustainable financial model at the club that should be the envy of our rivals. So why are you bleeding us dry yet again and taking the piss out of us while you continue to sanction the overpaying of a coaching team and playing staff that is fast becoming the laughing stock of football????

    You are killing our beloved club.

  • devday

    @ terry:
    I was number 23,000 when we moved into the stadium.
    I got a season ticket last year.
    I had friends who were 40,000th when we moved into the new stadium, they also got season tickets last year.
    What that shows is that there is a lot of rejections when it comes down to it – I think Arsenal has a 53% rejection when offered for a ST. In addition, about 20% of corporate boxes were unsold (for the first time in our history).

    There is a natural decline of about 5% per season, but last season it was 10% – and it will probably be more this season as a lot of people are not renewing.

    If we have 40,000 on the list and only 40% of them can actually afford it and are serious, then you’re looking at 16,000 people really. If 6,000 seats or more become available this summer, then in the next two years, we’d have hardly any waiting list.

    If you talk to people at the Arsenal, the numbers are declining and being rejected more than ever before!

    I am not just saying it for the sake of it – Arsenal’s fan’s have paid through the roof in recent times for subsidising the stadium and players and I think the club have gone a step too far now.

  • terrencetg

    @Dev, Simon and terry Our club makes around £50 million a year in profits (after all expenses including debt payments) by admission charging that has priced out far too many dedicated fans. What we have seen in football has been social gentrification where the original fan-base of clubs has been ruthlessly abandoned to make way for a more affluent consumer. It used to be a game for all, now it’s a hobby for those who can afford it. That is scandalous, amoral and does not deserve to met with apathy.

    Our complaints are not exclusive towards Arsenal. Indeed football as a whole has lost its soul and is now an industry of obscene greed. What once was the People’s Game is now a commercial circus which exploits the loyalty of its followers. As Arsenal fans we feel it our duty to concentrate our grievances on the club we support, because nowhere is the change in football culture that we once loved more apparent than at the Emirates. The ticket prices are extortionate, and the over repressive attitude of the stewards inside the ground is far too draconian. We feel like kids under the eye of headmaster, and the release of energy that people used to get from football has been nullified so as not to upset any of the new breed of fan who have paid their money to sit down and be entertained.

    The corporate branding of the club has been so extreme that it’s taken over the whole image of Arsenal FC. We feel like we have no say in the direction that our club moves in. For example the club crest that we loved was replaced because of commercial reasons, to a new cartoon style badge, which so many of us hated and did not feel represented the class and history of Arsenal FC. Our views in this were simply not important.

    The club has been very successful in attracting a new breed of supporter and this has patched over the fact that so many fans have stopped going. The number of us no longer there is possibly bigger than that 60,000 who do attend regularly. We understand that our absence won’t bother the club when the stadium is full like it currently is. But if they can lose our custom, they can lose the custom of absolutely anyone.

  • terrencetg

    I dont agree with the mass walk out at the start idea, if we are complaining about the price of tickets and all walk out at the start of one game then this looks hypocritical.

    It has to be something the board are going to feel directly, something that publicly shames them but not the fans or the club.

    Fulham away for banners will get noticed and Fulham will not block it. The thing that annoys me is I cannot believe somebody like Ken Friar who has been around the club for so long does not realise the change and isolation from the real fans that has happened in such a small space of time? Any protest has to be in the best interests of Arsenal Football Club though, something I dont believe a majority of the board share any longer.

  • ZimGooner

    Let’s boycot one match in protest of the unpopular rise in ticket prices!!

  • terry

    I think people are getting a little carried away with the disappointments this season and missing some very important points-
    It’s not Arsenal alone that is severely facing a backlash from the supporters.Man Utd, Chelsea are all drawing flak for increasing the prices.
    Also it will only be fair to compare Arsenal with the other top London clubs,CFC and THFC.
    Chelsea-adult season tickets from GBP595 to GBP1250
    Tottenham-adult season tickets from GBP690 to GBP1800
    Arsenal-adult season tickets from GBP985 to GBP 1955
    But the single most significant data is that everybody club’s season ticket is a 19 home matches package where fans have to pay on top for the other competitions except Arsenal.Arsenal alone includes seven matches from the other competitions in the season ticket.So Arsenal season ticket is a 26 home matches package.
    Looking at it,the average ticket price for one match included in the season ticket is
    Chelsea-GBP31 to GBP 66
    Tottenham-GBP36 to GBP95
    Arsenal-GBP38 to GBP75
    So if Chelsea and Tottenham include the additional minimum seven matches from other competitions like Arsenal do, then the season ticket prices will be something like-
    Chelsea-GBP806 to GBP1716
    Tottenham-GBP936 to GBP2463
    Arsenal-GBP985 to GBP1955
    So actually, our neighbours have costlier tickets than us inspite of not guaranteeing a Champions League spot next season.
    Chelsea have comparable prices even though most of the expenses are borne directly by their owner.
    To conclude, dear Gooners, get over it.

  • Berth

    where have you been Zohaib; we have missed you loads.

  • Fo

    @ terry:
    Thank you so much for pointing that out!
    I think a lot of people are aware of that fact, but don’t think the increase should happen. The increase has been cited to higher player costs and higher wages – however, we have underspent versus our income. Bad sponsorship deals have also meant that the club needs to squeeze more cash out of it’s supporters instead.

  • terry

    @Fo thats not to say the rise is justified – the fans shouldnt be the ones feeling the squeeze when we have not been succesful on the pitch

  • mike

    @terry – The fact is priesistible, that we don’t get a choice over cup games. We have to pay £1000 at the start of the season, and when things are tight and prices now so high, that extra £300 makes a big difference to many.

    The point is about watching Arsenal. And these increases and an unwillingness to change these cup credits mean every year more loyal and long serving fans are turned away from Arsenal.

    Remember you moron, that some of these people have been going since before the Champions League was invented, and the point was to support your team and watch a game of football.