THERE cannot be a football fan in the land who didn’t read about Manchester City supporters’ boycott of Arsenal’s exorbitant £62 ticket price for the game at the Emirates on Sunday without a sense of quiet satisfaction.
It is a sense that amid the ever-spiralling financial juggernaut which is the Premier League, finally the ordinary supporter has put his foot down and said enough is enough.
For those who haven’t seen the story, City fans returned almost a third of their allocation for Sunday's game which sees Roberto Mancini's champions face a huge game in north London as they try to claw back ground on leaders Manchester United. Around 900 of the 3,000 away seats will be empty after City fans showed their disgust at being charged £62 for a ticket.
“Some fans are saying, ‘I'm not paying £62 whether I can afford it or not because I've got to draw a line somewhere’”, said Kevin Parker of the City Supporters’ Group.
Fans of the noisy neighbours in Manchester may well have had their football-supporting lives transformed dramatically over the last four years thanks to the Abu Dhabi United group, but they remain at their core a supporter base rooted in working class roots, common sense and a healthy degree of scepticism having lived for so long in the shadow of the world’s biggest football club.
That’s why their show of defiance is comforting, and also why Evertonians - once perhaps the spiritual cousins of City fans - can perhaps reflect on the better deal they get at Goodison.
While it’s true they can only dream of a club with the finances of City, or the gleaming stadium of Arsenal, Bluenoses at least know they are treated with consideration when it comes to ticket prices. The average cost of a seat at the Old Lady is around £38, which remains competitive and fair to watch a team which has consistently finished in or around the European places over the last six years.
Even the most expensive seat for the Merseyside derby (£43 in the Park End) is almost £20 cheaper than those tickets at the Emirates tomorrow - while a standard game costs £31. At a time when the Premier League and Sky show almost zero regard for fans (see next Monday’s 8pm KO at Southampton) it’s reassuring to know that there is still respect for hard-working supporters.