December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 25, 2013
Norwich City have confirmed they have turned down Newcastle United’s offer of £20 tickets to City fans travelling to St James’s Park next month – providing United fans were charged the same amount for the return fixture later in the season.
Initially it seems almost mean for Norwich City to say no to Newcastle United’s offer – but there are factors worth considering over why the Canaries may feel they’d rather look after their travelling fans on their own terms.
Muddying the water is an obligation on clubs to price comparable seats for home and away fans equally – something arguably easier to live with at St James’ Park, where the visiting fans are tucked away in a corner at the top of the tallest stand with limited similar seats available to home fans. Plus the view is pretty shocking.
The reciprocal situation for City? Cheap tickets for Newcastle could mean knocking a lot of money off all casual ticket prices in the Jarrold Stand. And while this emotive subject has a moral conscience to it, the fact is current demand means City don’t have to.
Swansea’s situation at the Liberty Stadium is arguably similar to Carrow Road – yet the Swans probably fancy boosting their sometimes under-par away followings, especially given the added cost of a Europa League run.
Meanwhile, the Canaries’ away followings continue to be incredibly impressive in their third Premier League campaign – probably even up to Newcastle.
City’s initiatives so far have worked, and there will be more to come – it just seems they want to play it on their terms.
Ticket pricing for away fans has been an area of relative success for the Premier League, after they ensured all clubs kept aside £200,000 of their own money each season specifically to help reduce the cost for fans to support their club on the road and boost away attendances.
The initiative has already allowed the Canaries to offer free coach travel to Hull and half-price tickets for the trip to Stoke, as well as free coach travel and £10 discounts for the upcoming trips to Manchester United and Manchester City.
However, that won’t include Newcastle’s more radical approach of reciprocal ticket pricing, meaning an agreement with their 19 Premier League rivals – and in turn relieving some of the cost for their fans who at an average of a 477-mile round trip per game, have the most miles to cover in the top flight this season.
Swansea and West Brom are the first two clubs to agree to the Magpies’ scheme, which will see Swans, Baggies and Magpies fans all charged less than £20 for away trips.
Newcastle’s idea is formed from the Football Supporters’ Federation’s (FSF) Twenty’s Plenty campaign.
“This is a significant breakthrough in turning the concept of affordable prices for away fans into a reality, and Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City are to be commended for taking a lead in this area,” said Kevin Miles, chief executive of the FSF.
Newcastle fans were charged £45 for their trip to Carrow Road last season, with 1,359 attending. Aston Villa fans were charged the same price last season but a reduced price of £35 for their visit earlier this season.
Adult City fans were charged £26 for the trip to the north-east last September – but have been threatened with far higher prices for their game next month.