Ticket pricing has always been a contentious issue in football, with the general consensus amongst fans being that tickets ought to be as cheap as financially viable for the club, ensuring all fans have the chance to watch their club play.
There aren’t many people that will disagree when the topic of ‘twenty’s plenty’ is brought up. This is the movement by many fans from clubs up and down the country (originating in the Premier League), aiming to lower ticket prices for fans down to £20, meaning the beautiful game is far more accessible for the average fan, rather than being priced out due to extortion.
The movement has gathered a lot of traction over the last five years and seen the vast majority of clubs follow suit and lower prices at fans’ wishes.
However, as is the case with a lot of board decisions of this ilk, a handful of clubs aren’t playing ball for different reasons, including Leeds United, who have been at the centre of a lot of ticket rows over the past few years.
A dramatic fall from grace from the Premier League in the early stages of this millennium hasn’t stopped Leeds from drawing massive crowds compared to their Championship and League One counterparts, all in the midst of the club being asset stripped by successive toxic ownerships.
Despite an overwhelming lack of positivity for the fans to look forward to during their slump over the past decade-and-a-half, fans have still paid their hard earned money to turn up home and away and sing their hearts out.
It’s been a long old slog for the fans to see some football to get behind, with Marcelo Bielsa finally delivering on that front and drawing sell-out home crowds each week as they clamour for Premier League football and beyond. It seems like not even the impending threat of COVID-19 is a strong enough deterrent for Leeds United fans not to see their club achieve their aim of 16 seasons, but there are a lot still complaining over the hefty ticket prices they are charging for their own fans and the travelling masses tucked away in the West Stand corner.
With away fans having to fork out an eye-watering £40 at adult prices to make the trip to Elland Road, it doesn’t seem entirely fair that Leeds are only being charged half of that by the same teams, and seemingly no remorse is shown as they continue to take advantage of hiked up prices:
📅 Reading are the latest club to not sell out their away allocation, so extra tickets have now been made available to #LUFC fans in the West Stand
— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 17, 2020
The justification from the Whites end of this argument is that the whole stand is charged the exact same, and is sold out instantly as tickets go on sale, so why can’t other teams follow suit?
The faulty logic here is that fans are still having to pay through the nose to see their team play each week and have no other choice if they want to watch promotion-chasing football, so taking advantage of a hungry fan base might not be the best way to generate revenue.
This hasn’t stopped Blackburn Rovers getting their own back on the Whites as they announced ticket information for their clash at the start of April, with the pricing structure following suit with Leeds’ sky-high West Stand rates. Leeds sold the 7,700-strong allocation in 30 minutes flat, further proving Leeds standing in the argument that they can justify large prices while the fans are still demanding tickets at an alarming rate, but it fails to take into account the fans of clubs that aren’t pushing for promotion, where a large portion of wages needs to be set aside to cover the cost of these away days.
Where did these Leeds players join the club from?
Leeds aren’t the only team charging astronomical figures for Championship football, with Sheffield Wednesday’s ticket prices also flirting with the £40 mark. This amount of money and more isn’t charged for Premier League fans to travel away to the likes of Anfield and Old Trafford, so there shouldn’t be any reason why fans need to spend this money to go to second-tier football grounds with a lot of room for improvement.
It seems like the clubs have been falling out a lot in recent weeks and months over the ticket prices from Leeds and co. but there aren’t many indications that these high-pricing clubs are budging from their standing, which is a real shame for the hard-working fans who struggle to warrant spending a fortune on an away day when they have every right to have the opportunity to support their club.
On the whole, the concepts of ‘twenty is plenty’ and ‘Leeds take more’ cannot exist on the same plane of reality. While there is such a high demand for the tickets that are allocated, any club that is selling can easily milk them for a lot more money, while the Whites can use this as a means to be un-budged in their pricing structure, knowing that unsold tickets will be gobbled up by those craving to see Marcelo Bielsa’s side promoted.
If a price cap of £20 was introduced, more away ends would be filled and end the need for teams to hike up prices to make ends meet.