£77! For a ticket! £77! I mean… £77! £77! For one match! £77! Are you angry yet!? £77!
Except that this is only a tiny, tiny fraction of the story, isn’t it…
The figure being bandied about is… well, it’s one price, for a small number of tickets, for a small number of games. The actual figures (from the Liverpool website, http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/announcements/206306-ian-ayre-addresses-the-media-on-new-lfc-ticket-structure), are that there will be 200 of these priced tickets per match, for six (A-list) matches in a year. In other words, less than half a per cent of Anfield’s capacity on matchdays over the course of the season.
Less than half a per cent.
Getting angry at just this figure-nothing else, just this figure…That’s like eating less than half of a forkful of a dinner at a restaurant and deciding that the meal is entirely worthless. While blindfolded. It’s ridiculous. There’s basically a whole other meal out there, another 99.5 mouthfuls that you haven’t even considered, looked at, smelled, let alone tasted. Ridiculous.
So let’s have a gander at the rest of the meal, then.
For a start, Liverpool are introducing £9 tickets for Category C games, 500 per fixture. There are three Category C games in the league, for a total number of tickets just a little higher than the £77 ones. So, just as many (incredibly) cheap tickets as expensive tickets, admittedly for less exciting games. Hardly pricing out the “normal man on the street”, are they?
The next figures I’ll quote directly from the website (again, from the above link):
“64 per cent of season ticket prices will decrease or freeze under the new structure, with the lowest priced at £685. 818 season tickets will go on sale at a cost of £1,029, taking up 1.5 per cent of the stadium’s capacity on matchday.
Other initiatives include: local supporters being given priority access to over 20,000 tickets; over 20,000 extra tickets in a new pricing category for fans aged between 17 and 21 offering a 50 per cent reduction on prices; and in excess of 1,000 free tickets being provided to schools across Merseyside for each home game.”
Free tickets, priority access for locals, a new reduced-price category for young (i.e probably lower-incomed) fans… It’s hardly the blueprint for anger-inducing price increases, is it? It’s almost as if the £77 figure has been chosen by those responsible for disseminating information to the general public (and these other, far less infuriating figures suppressed at first) to create as much anger as possible amongst said public. You’d almost think there was something to be gained by this, like, just off the top of my head, increased revenue from sales due to the interest and emotion generated by such sensationalism. Not that anyone would be so manipulative as to shatter their journalistic integrity for such selfish reasons, of course.
Certainly, the protest will be headline (back-page) news on tomorrow’s media vehicles. It’s already a massive topic on social media, accompanied by a wave of anger and righteous fist-waving. This is, many are saying, the last straw.
It just… well, it’s anger directed at the wrong target. Directed at a very tiny figure amongst a sea of far less damning figures. Directed at a piece of information plucked from context and displayed, naked and ashamed, in front of an audience, with a massive target painted across its chest. A straw man, if you will.
Now, you can argue that, even with the new price structure actually helping lower prices for many fans, £77 tickets are still ridiculous. Phil Thompson certainly thinks so, and I’m inclined to agree; it isn’t like Liverpool really need that extra few pounds, and the whole affair is at best evidence of poor PR on Liverpool’s behalf (if not downright greed). Hell, you might even make the point that this is a natural, and horrible, manifestation of the kind of market-driven over-ideological establishment-enforcing capitalism that we’re forced to endure nowadays, shitting onto our heads like George Osborne’s caviar-induced diarrhoea. Because, frankly, it is.
But please, please, if you are going to make an angry blog about it… if you are going to righteously express your opinion down the pub… if you are going to walk out of stadiums on 77 minutes and miss your team crumble to Sunderland of all teams… at least do it for the right reasons. Do it because you don’t like the narrow consumer-capitalist agenda driving our politics. Do it because you don’t think Liverpool needs the extra revenue from this small amount of tickets. Hell, do it because we always seem to concede in the last ten minutes of games lately, or simply in bafflement at Simon Mignolet’s continued presence between the sticks (or indeed in the stadium, though mentally he seemed to have joined the protest against Sunderland today).
But don’t do it because of misinformation. Because of propaganda. Because a few people have chosen a figure designed to cause the maximum of anger to sell their ridiculous, hate-mongering product.
Enough trouble is stirred up by this, in thousands of facets of life. Don’t let football be one of them.