Coq Back & Ticket Prices – Price Of Change

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The weekend’s FA Cup meeting comes firmly into view this morning. Yesterday’s early team news as expected, confirmed that Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky are available for selection. Whilst they are available, the non-committal phrase “a few weeks” was used for Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, with no definite timescales placed on their return to training whilst Danny Welbeck is expected back in first team action some time next month.

With a busy month ahead, Coquelin and to a lesser extent, Rosicky, ease the workload of other squad members. It seems the perfect match for Mohammed Elneny to get his Arsenal début as no doubt Arsène rotates the side to allow some to rest, particularly with the visit of Southampton in the Premier League this week.

Away from the FA Cup, ticket prices are once more on the agenda with the AST, under the umbrella of the Football Supporters Federation campaign, writing to Ivan Gazidis for action over ticket prices. It’s long been a thorny issue with Arsenal at times, a convenient lightning rod for the campaign. That has become watered down with the realisation that the club are not unique: all Premier League clubs overcharge for tickets.

Which is a subjective term and not quite as black and white as the phrase suggests. Back when I started to watch football, wooden seats were still widely used. It wasn’t just the substitute who got splinters in his arsenal in those days. Even now, arriving at a stadium to find basic plastic seats is met with some comment; we’ve become spoilt.

However, ticket prices have risen disproportionately and although categorising matches has reduced some prices, there is still much work to do. With the advent of the new broadcasting deals, it’s time for football to give something back to match-going supporters. Something tangible, as well.

The AST has three central aims:

  • A freeze on all ticket prices in all categories for the three years of the new tv contract
  • New money to be set aside to allocate every club a £1m per season Away Supporter’s Initiative fund, an end to away match categorisation and a cap on away ticket prices
  • Price reductions for 18-21-year-old fans – the future generation of supporters

The club has already announced a ticket price freeze for next season, a small step along the way but it isn’t just Arsenal, it is as the AST points out, the game as a whole which has to act.

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Daily Express, 29th June 1960

Football has long had a peculiar relationship with pricing. Back in 1960, footballers earned a maximum wage whilst clubs were obliged by Football League rules to charge a minimum ticket price. Arsenal led the way in the introduction of categorising matches as a means of increasing revenues for certain matches.

I fully appreciate that this isn’t something Arsenal can address on their own and all the while other clubs don’t act, it is unrealistic to expect the club to willingly disadvantage itself. With so much emphasis placed on revenues, turnover and wealth, Arsenal are not going to take action which diminishes the club’s value or ability to compete in the transfer market. If they chose to, of course.

With a high demand for tickets already, Arsenal probably don’t feel the need to do anything at present to make football more affordable for supporters. Winning the title will only increase that demand, obviating any sense of social responsibility on the club’s part.

But this isn’t just about now, this is the future of football. Disillusionment with clubs has, I don’t think, never been higher. The days of someone coming down from the terrace to the turf are long gone; there isn’t a sense that a young player is or ever has been, ‘one of us’.

The closest we’ve got to that in recent seasons was the supposed ‘British core’ which was lauded as the future of the club but what did that mean? Nothing to me. It was the signal of identity being reclaimed, a return to the club’s roots in the heart of the community?  Far from it.

Football clubs have move far away from their traditional role and whilst they still do play some role in their local area, it’s a far more global enterprise than it ever has been in the past and that isn’t going to change any time soon. Broadcasters don’t want empty stadia but are content with half full as it means they have more chance to gain subscribers.

As football’s revenues from non-matchday sources increase, opportunities to make going to a match more affordable do so as well. The problem is what is football’s motivation to do so? Players aren’t going to accept wage cuts, neither are agents or executives. The best we can hope for, I fear, is an ongoing price freeze when the incomes of supporters finally catch up to make ticketing more affordable for all.

It’s going to be a long wait.

’til Tomorrow.

75 thoughts on “Coq Back & Ticket Prices – Price Of Change

  1. I have little to say on ticket prices given that I am an overseas supporter. Obviously, it would be great if that side of things was kept in check. I gather we are one of the most expensive teams to watch and maybe with the TV money coming into play, the suits can spare a thought for the paying supporter? Highly unlikely, but worth pursuing, even though I am not so sure if the AST still has the moral right to spear head this cause.

    On the Burnley game, I think the Elneny debut should have been earlier. Not because I think he is better than any of the players we have, but at some point he has to play. Especially when there have been obvious weaknesses in central midfield of late. So I am really looking forward to his debut this weekend.

  2. Morning YW.

    A great post that I agree wholeheartedly with, sadly I won’t be holding my breath for any improvement either.

  3. 18 -21 fine but spare a thought for the over 70’s bought up in an ear when pensions were left up to government and are clinging on to their match going habit in the hope of one final league hurrah.

  4. An interesting Post, Yogi, especially to people of a certain age because the comment ‘back in the day you could get a pint for 25p – now look at it’, also applies to ticket prices.

    Let’s say that 25p pint cost that back in 1970 — I have no idea if that was really the cost, but it works for comparison purposes — so in 2016, that (1970) 25p pint would today cost £3.75. Ouch – just looking at the numbers that seems expensive today, but it probably means the 1970 pint was more expensive in the context of a 1970s pay packet.

    Let’s say a ticket to get into Highbury in 1970 was £15 (again, I personally do not know) so what would that same ticket cost today in 2016? Well, in 2016 that would now cost £225. Again the initial reaction would make one feel that the price today is prohibitive, but I suspect it actually compares pretty favourably with the 1970s cost, again given the context of wages and salaries back then.

    I have say again, I do not know what the ticket prices in 1970 were, and only have a vague knowledge of what tickets cost at the Emirates today, but you can adjust the figures and still get the gist of things.

    For instance, if the ticket cost £10 not £15, todays price would be the equivalent of £150 – and so on.

    It is natural to look at the time here and now that we live in – but sometimes that does not tell the whole story, and complaining about the price of tickets may be perfectly valid, because of all the other money streams going into the clubs today, that did not happen back in the day.

    But when fans say tickets prices are going up and up in the last few years – that may well be true – but equally, actual costs today may have fallen in terms of the cost in previous years.

  5. CBob,

    It shows you have read the Post – anyway double negatives are the bain of all writers – Yogi will have to take the Elf with ‘n’ on his back to task – or should that be tsk? 🙂

  6. @HenryB I’m sure somebody on here will have accurate price figures. I wasn’t around in 1970, but to get into the North Bank in 1988 cost £4, so I expect in 1970 it would have been £1? Maybe 50 pence?

    £15 probably would have got you a place on the subs bench in 1970!

  7. Reports suggest “Wenger is on the verge of signing a new two-year extension to his contract which would run until 2019”.

  8. PtT,

    I went to some lengths to explain that my own knowledge of actual ticket prices, both in 1970 and today, is practically non-existent, so, of course, I accept your greater knowledge.

    My intentions were simply to show that, as in all things, facts about comparing costs need to be taken in context, which is similar to the views expressed by jonny and Yogi about the use of bald statistics out of context on here the other day.

    I have no doubt, based on what season ticket holders have told me, that the average cost of today’s tickets at the Emirates is extortionate – so on the basis that £1 in 1970 is the equivalent of £15 today – if someone knows what the average cost of a ticket in 1970 was, and also the average cost now, we could easily calculate the true percentage increase in those costs.

  9. Henry B

    In 1971/2 I payed £72.00 for a season ticket to sit more or less central to the half way line, for a season ticket., I think that included vouchers for cup games.

    The year before the double I payed £12,00 for flight and standing ticket for the first leg of The Fairs Cup Final in Brussels, average wage was ?

  10. I’d start Tomo and Elneny in the middle tomorrow. Tomo gets an hour. I’d probably start Ozil, Sanchez and Walcott (maybe as CF?), with Iwobi playing a full 90 too.

    I think the back five pretty much picks itself? (Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Mert/Kos and Bellerin/Debuchy)

    Rotate out once their beaten. they won’t be a push over

  11. Hi Kelsey,

    Thank you for that.

    Your info again shows that the increase in ticket prices between 1970 and today when compared with the rise in inflation is huge!

    But I am now worn out on that topic. 🙂

  12. CBob,

    I missed your comment about a pint in 1970 costing about 17p a pint – that would equate to £2.50 a pint today.

    Does that sound about right?
    [Sorry, but I do not know what the price of a pint of beer, or a pint of milk, or a loaf of bread is – which is slightly embarrassing . 😳

  13. Good stuff Yogi, FA Cup win tomorrow is a must.

    As far as tickets, just like everything else (though it shouldn’t) it comes down to money the club can get and how much the supporters are willing to pay. If you don’t show up because of the ticket prices, the club will have to respond otherwise they will do what they want.

  14. @Jonny that contract extension will take M Wenger to age 70. They’ll have to carry him out in a coffin!

    How this Premier League campaign finishes will dictate how the news is taken. Not feeling too enthusiastic at the moment…

  15. Henry, London would be more but out here in the sticks, I pay about £3.60.
    All of life’s pleasures cost commensurably more with time.

    As for the double negative,it is always disappointing when a man as otherwise erudite as YW makes such a sloppy error.

  16. Henry – in most pubs in London (aside from the odd Wetherspoons or Sam Smiths) you’ll be looking at paying anywhere between £4 – £6 for a pint, with most places charging close to £5. It is extortionate!

  17. I’m taking my boy tomorrow, so have got two tickets in the family section… £26 for me and £10 for him. Not bad value considering I normally pay between £32 and £45 for just me when I go…

  18. Arsene saying that Elneny may start tomorrow which means he will.

    He also said there will be no more signings in January (Doesn’t mean Yarmolenko isn’t coming in the summer)

    Says he will rotate but certainly play a PL team which means we could see Elneny next to Le Coq or Mozart and quite a few others.

  19. Arsene on Debuchy:

    “Mathieu Debuchy might go somewhere but I don’t know where at the moment,” Wenger said. “That decision must be quick because there’s only 48 hours to go. “There is much interest but I have a number of people who can play right back so I open the door for him.”

  20. Good day to you all, I’m always amazed that people can afford to buy season tickets, pay for transport from various parts of the country, attend weekend and midweek matches, travel to away games and have enough left over for normal living expenses.

    They must not only have very well paid jobs, but very tolerant employers and either very understanding spouses, or none at all.

    The answer to exorbitant prices is in the fans own hands. If you don’t like the price don’t buy the ticket. Simples!

  21. I recall doing some underage drinking in a pub near a hop field in Kent during the early fifties, mild ale was one shilling a pint. Ten pence in today’s money.

    Hop pickers were paid one shilling a bushel, my grandmother, two aunts and myself and two cousins managed to pick around thirty to thirty-five bushels a day between us. That was working from 07.00 to 17.00 with an hour for lunch.

  22. Arsene on Elneny:

    He is a box-to-box player who is a bit more defensive minded than your usual box-to-box player so he can play in both positions. He has good technique, good vision, quick decision-making and he is very mobile and agile.”

  23. So for the match tomorrow I want to see:

    Ospina
    Chambers—-Gabriel—–Kos—–Nacho-
    ——Iwobi——Elneny———Mozart
    –Ox——-Theo—–Sanchez

  24. Given that it seems Elneny will start tomorrow I’m expecting something like
    Osp
    Hector, Gab, Kos, Gibbs
    Elneny, Ramsey
    Tomas
    Joel, OG, Alexis

    Le Coq to come on 2nd half some time. Hopefully Iwobi too. Strong bench with Mesut and Theo.

  25. Crikey, thank guys,

    I had no idea that beer was so expensive. I have been unable to drink alcohol for a few years and did not realise how much I have been forced to save. 😀

  26. Arsenal revenue stream will come more from international broadcast rights, advertising rights and merchandise sales than Emirates gate receipts.
    In fact when I watch an EPL game half the time the ads on the advertising hoarding are not even in Roman script – ads targeting viewers in Asia and the middle East — which shows the international nature of the business. though I can’t be sure if that is due to virtual advertising.

  27. So why wouldn’t Debuchy play? if he wants games, give him this one. he can start his loan the next day.

  28. @Orson

    More to give Ospina a match, I don’t think he will be particularly busy so why not give him a run out.

  29. @philmar

    Debuchy doesn’t get the nod as Arsene says he could be off in 48 hours which means he might already be on the plane.

  30. C, I don’t think we should underestimate the threat that Burnley pose. They’ve been playing well and scoring goals, if we are serious about winning matches we need to field players on form, not on their need to be in a game.

  31. @Orson

    I know mate but the thing is, Arsene has a track record recently of having 2 separate GK’s. Ospina would have started the last FA Cup match if not for getting injured.

  32. It would be remiss of Arsenal if they forgot that in 2008 we were comprehensively outplayed and dumped out of the then Carling Cup.

    Admittedly we had a young team out that night, but the result is what we should remember — and against Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup this season how did we do? …… Food for thought?

    Actually forget the food for thought – how about the inadvertent slip of the tongue from Orson, that the 5 year old Kaert was swigging pints and chasers in the local boozer in the early 1950s ….. Now that’s the spirit ( 🙂 ) we are looking for! 🙂

  33. — ‘It would be remiss of Arsenal if they forgot that in 2008 we were comprehensively outplayed and dumped out of the then Carling Cup’ — by Burnley in case anyone had forgotten.

  34. Apple announced today that it has developed a computer chip that can store and play Hi Fi music in women’s breast implants.

    The New Product is called The Apple iTit. It will cost between £499 and £699.00 depending on speaker size.

    This is considered to be a major breakthrough because women have always complained about men staring at their tits and not listening to them.

  35. I think you have a point Henry my dear old thing. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself, much like that shilling a pint mild ale I drank all thos years ago. 😀

  36. THE NEW BOYS, WELCOME

    Kelechi Nwakali
    should not be considered Somali
    a Nigerian core
    coming our way in the hope he’ll be paid a little bit more.

    Samuel Chukwueze
    one of his recent goals was classed as a doozy
    went box to box
    in no way in awe of our dear friend the Ox.

  37. You made me laugh there, orson, consolslel not so much.

    Btw, 1 shilling is, of course, 5 pence.

    Beer is dear enough!

  38. Gaffer today made comment on Per.

    Like Flamini, he is a lightning rod for criticism and a scape goat when things go wrong for us even if the fault may lie elsewhere.

    Per has positionally (like Flamini) been in the right place and time to save us countless times in recent games but no mention was made of it because clearly many prefer to see what they wish too. Stats furnished on favorite players conveniently go ‘missing’ when these less popular players are concern.

    “less dynamic’ is the pronouncement on Flamini yet he ran 13.2 km in a game with us one man down, the highest of any of our players.

    Per is “too slow” is the criticism yet he tends to always be in the right place at the right time positionally in recent games (the Costa tackle otherwise)

    Now people are starting to big up Elneny to their own expectations. This is dangerous bc if he cannot meet their lofty standards (and honestly no one has seen him play that much), they will tear him down.

    I hope Elneny gets a chance to come in and perform well, but be realistic and give the bloke a chance is what I’d say.

    😉

  39. As mentioned no Yamolenko.

    We have plenty of squad depth yet many insist we should continue to buy, this falsehood perpetuated by the media at large.

    We have two players in every position, experience in every position plus younger players incubating and a host of players specifically at 23/24yrs about to break out of potential into proper capabilities.

    As mentioned, Chambers will likely get the nod covering Bellerin in Debuchy’s absence (should he be sold or loaned). He is more technical than the injured Jenkinson, plays with his head up and does not whip his media celebrated crosses in blindly.

    Also returning Coquelin and Debuchy.

    I think we should start Le Coq against Burnley to get him up to speed quickly. Either of Ramsey or Elneny next to him should suffice. Rosicky is an option late on to cover for Ozil and afford the German a bit of respite.

    Alexis is another who should get some time under the belt. Giroud is an excellent enabler for us so Walcott can come in for either man later in the game or should we (hopefully not) be chasing.

    Gabreil gets another chance next to Koscielny (Again the meal made about Per and it was Gabriel that lost Costa for the goal, Koscielny was caught ball watching when Per lost Costa which led to the red)

    Not sure if Gibbs and/or Chambers will get a nod but that is a possibility too. Ospina if fit will likely be in goal (I believe that’s the deal between cups and league/CL)

    If anyone complains about squad depth, please look no further than City.

    Leicester City that is. No world class players and an entire squad set up for 17m quid.

    😉

  40. Completely disagree with lack of identity with the British core.

    I think its important we have young talent coming through the ranks and from the home country.

    It is ridiculous to expect the player to be from North London. As Wenger mentioned, the capture area relative to number of clubs is too small.

    If you can bring in talent from around the ilse and even non British players developed through the academy, it is a good enough for internally developed pride.

    The media have gone unusually quiet with this regard where they once complained Arsenal were foreign only so it oes make a difference.

    We now see even relegation squads have a good splattering of International players thanks to the redistribution of TV money.

    Wenger has ensured we have a good core of younger players who can come through that afford the academy players a aspiration. Otherwise it would be difficult to attract these players in and we would have to spend on market at higher prices.

    Thereby where the likes of City or Chelsea are an advertisement for young English players wasting their potential on the bench (for admitedly high salaries), we are seen as a club where opportunity is still presented to come through from academy or finishing school.

    Gibbs, Bellerin, Jack, Coquelin are the ones who have come through the long hard road of Academy prospect. We now have Adelaide, Iwobi, Akpom all vying for admittedly small or but viable opportunity.

    Ramsey, Walcott, Welbeck, Campbell, the Ox are coming through finishing school with us.

    Its a great balance between buying quality from market and developing from within which gives Arsenal a character and identity

  41. Another thing you associate immediately with the club is buying quality at comparative low prices (Many thanks to the gaffer)

    Hence the Yamolenko link.

    Its called fishing by the agent. He (like manyothers) knows it pays to link with Arsenal as it is a sort of de facto quality stamp of approval.

    Does not mean we are anywhere remotely interested. There are so many players we are linked with that the media will later turn into a “arsenal fail to sign again’ story but truthfully, most of these links are spurious at best.

    Yamolenko’s question mark is consistency and temperement. Those are red flags despite obvious talent.

    We have Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck plus Adelaide, Iwobi, Akpom still to come. Giroud’s game is not based on speed so he can go another 2-3 seasons(like Zlatan). He is an enabler and is still improving despite late age.

    Theo Wenger may decide to cash in sooner or later but he is still a very useful asset to have as he can play both wide and up front (just needs to rediscover a bit of sharpness in front of goal at the moment)

    Finally Welbeck is full of potential at 24/25yrs with a combination of both above players’ attributes in pace and height. An exciting English prospect in our hands, where is the space for Yamolenko even in this summer?

    Rather than fork out the likely large sum for the player at 26yrs, Wenger is better off waiting another season down and continue to mold/develop a younger prospect like Adelaide.

  42. If all that you say is true, then answer me these.

    Leicester cost 17million, you say.

    How much have we spent on this squad?

    Why are we in a worse league position than them?

  43. Consolbob…

    err that’s exactly it. duh.

    There is no excuse we do not have enough squad depth. If I have to spell it out (CL otherwise) they have far smaller a squad than us and are ahead of us.

    And if you read, I did mention the question surrounds our will to win it, not squad depth.

    Comprende?

  44. @Santori

    Is there squad far smaller than ours? I thought that everybody had 25 players?

    Strange how that works but maybe you are talking depth of talent, but then lets look at midfield, I would gladly take King and Inhler ahead of Flamini and Arteta!

  45. In the day we would have been arguing about this all night.

    We just aren’t convinced enough these days, are we?

  46. I am strongly in favour of getting more younger fans into the ground. For one thing, my worst time at an Arsenal match last season was sitting in good seats near the centre line surrounded by a whole group of older fans (nothing ageist here–I am not a young person any longer and neither is Jonny, though he will pretend otherwise!) who had a cozy quiet time watching the Arsenal. Totally boring. No chanting, no singing, no nothing.

    And one of my best experiences was sitting in the family section mid week with forty young guns, teens, sitting with their friends singing and chanting non-stop the entire wonderful match.

  47. On Jack, first I saw the same vague ‘few weeks’ comments that YW mentioned. Now I’ve seen some comments from AW that he’s just started running and it’s generally 6 weeks to match fitness from there.
    Mid-March in that case and only 6-8 weeks at best. It seems doubtful he can play any real role this season and so that’s another season gone from his career. A terrible shame for such a good player and more generally for us as supporters. More specifically from a squad perspective it really puts him back to square one with everything to prove from a fitness and durability point of view. My guess is we will persevere but I hope from a risk management perspective we get a top class CM/AM type in the summer.
    I suppose there’s an English national team perspective but to be honest I don’t really care as slim to none describes our 2016 euro chances even with a fully fit Jack.

  48. It is also a shame that we don’t seem to plan for the fact that he routinely misses so much time out injured, Brevity. Along with Arteta and TR, JW suffers injuries rather chronically. it is sad. This is turning into a Diaby type situation, unfortunately.

  49. Yes, I can’t disagree with that LSG.
    Santi and Le Coq getting injured this year threw that problem into sharp focus. It’s not exactly a surprise with Tomas and Jack but those two as well was a bit unlucky. Then again, Aaron being injury free for the last couple of months has probably been a bit lucky given his injury record.
    Hopefully, Elneny steps up and we buy someone else this summer. Too many ‘fragile players’ in the squad has gone on for too long.

  50. All due respect to those from Nigeria, but I honestly couldn’t give a damn about signing two young lads from the U17 World Cup. It will take years fro them to get work permits, which means they will likely have to go the Campbell route of 2 – 3 years on loan in Europe. Then there is no indication that they will ever step up to the quality required to play in the Premiership even if they are fantastic at U17 level. Campbell was a star at both U17 and U20 level, but we nearly packed him out the door and Wellington Silva was a star at U17 level, but hasn’t exactly been lighting up the sky on any of his loan moves. Didn’t we have the highly fancied Gilles Sunu on the books at the same time as we bought Campbell? Another player who hasn’t really developed at all. Any trumpeting of the signing of these youngsters hides the lack activity yet again in a transfer window in which we were going to be busy.

    Apparently we don’t have to sign anyone else because of the number of players we have coming back from injury. That means we will shortly be up to full squad quota again with only Santi and Jack not in full training at present. But that isn’t the point, because its about the actual quality of some of the players in the squad that we are relying on and there are a few that aren’t really good enough. Players like Flamini (only resigned because he was training with the squad), Arteta (who we bought in his twilight years as Cesc-lite) and even the Ox. I know there is a strong following for the Ox and I hoped he would come right, but how many chances do you give such players? He takes a squad place that a better player could fill. Fine, send him out on loan if he needs more development time (really?), but he’s surely now had enough time showing us that he can’t quite do it yet. Players like Gibbs haven’t pushed on and thankfully he has now been downgraded from first choice LB to cover, but again we are chasing another youngster on the cheap in Chilwell. We are trying to low ball Leicester because Chilwell will only have 12 months on his contract come the summer. Leicester will probably resign themselves to losing him in June, especially if their challenge falls away in the remainder of the season, but they aren’t going to let an apparently talented English youngster go for £4m when other teams needing to fill their home-grown quota have much deeper pockets then we have. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up to to City for £10m in the summer.

    I didn’t really expect us be that active in the January window, but it does seem that Wenger likes to take the piss out of the fans by hinting at activity.

    I really enjoyed Bob debating with Flamini’s mum. Comprende?

  51. We’ve all heard the old saying “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” but how many transfer windows will it take before some people get it – we’re never going to go the extra mile by investing the big in signings, and the number of signings it takes to win a title or sustain a real challenge for the CL.

    Always a couple of players short with the biggest pot of cash in the whole league sitting in the bank. And as Wavey says above, the same old bullshit gets trotted out every time and for some insane reason people fall for it yet again. I really don’t understand it.

    If you’re there to enjoy just another form of ‘entertainment’ then fine, if you’re there to watch sport, the objective of which is to be the best, then how can you not be continually frustrated?

  52. Agree with Wavey and Andy there.
    So we pay £16m for Chambers and offer £4m to Leicester.
    Even if he has less first team playing experience, it’s not going to happen.
    As to Andy’s post regarding frustration.
    I find if you lower expectations, frustration is less of an issue.

  53. Does seem quite a cheap offer for Chilwell, although he hasn’t actually played in the PL yet and Chambers had played for about half a season.

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