Friday 13 July 2012

Premier League and we're having a laugh... £45? Actually, we're not.

That's right - Swans fans are justifiably unhappy after the club announced two things yesterday: an updated Jack Army (JA) Membership Scheme and the new price of a home ticket. £45.

Surprisingly, after reading through the new membership scheme details, I'm less irritated than I am at the price hike. But there is still confusion as expected. Let's look at the Jack Army scheme first.

Jack Army membership – home games

The full details are on the club's website, but I will attempt to sum it up:

Tickets go on sale three weeks in advance. The first week and 70% of the allocation is for 'non season-ticket holding JA members' (to give the full title). The second week sees the remaining 30% and leftovers allocated to 'season-ticket holding JA members'. The third week is general sale. You'll be very lucky to get a general sale ticket!

Firstly, I'm glad they've listened to our complaints (unless it was just a good guess) and have changed the glaringly obvious mistake of last season where season-ticket holders had priority to buy an extra ticket.

Season ticket holders - many of whom are regular readers of this blog - have agreed that there is no need for them to have priority to purchase a home ticket as they already have access to home games.

Giving the first 70% of tickets to non season-ticket holders is a good move, and one that I welcome.

As I mentioned, I can't imagine the club selling many general sale tickets this season as surely the 2,000-odd seats will sell out in the first two weeks - mainly because I assume the club will sell thousands of JA memberships to compete for those 2,000 seats.

Elsewhere, I still don't fully understand the points system. The whole scheme seems to be a three-way divide between ST holders, non-ST holders and general sale - where do the points come in? Why are you getting three points for QPR away and one for Man United home if they are not for anything? These are not hypothetical questions, I actually don't know.

Jack Army membership – away games

This is essentially the same system, just reversed - ST holding JA members are given the 70% priority, then 30% to the non-ST holder and finally general sale. Makes complete sense (for a change) as this time ST holders have a valid reason for needing priority.

Note that the cost of joining the new membership scheme will remain the same as last season: £10 for season-ticket holders and £25 for non season-ticket holders.

Got anything left?
Ticket Prices!

Moving on to the price... what can I say. £45 for a home ticket. It's ridiculous. To clarify, the £45 is for Category A games (including Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs), while Category B games (I'm assuming these are somehow unimportant games?!) are £35.

Just shy of £50 for a fan to watch their team against one of these 'big' clubs is everything that is wrong with football these days. Naturally it's not just Swansea, but the club are now revealing their nastier side and distancing themselves from the fans with this move.

The simple way to look at it is: the average guy in Swansea is finding it hard - unemployment, higher cost of living, recession... it's all a bit gloomy. Football is one of the things that can help ease that stress - it allows a fan to have a pint with their mates, cheer on their team and forget about life for a few hours. However, jacking the price up £10 for these already expensive prime games is greedy. It's at least a day's wages for some people.

I am well aware that Swansea are not owned by Johnny Oil-tycoon and need to raise money somehow, but as one fan pointed out, even if all six of the Category A games sell out, including away fans, the club will net an extra £270k over the season. This is nothing in Premier League terms (thanks to @NeathJack1 for working it out).

Is that extra money worth upsetting - even excluding - the loyal fans? It's barely enough to pay wages for a few weeks. The fans are the only ones who are suffering. It's now the case of “if you are lucky enough to find a ticket to a Swans home match, can you even afford it?”

Think of the silly money that players are paid. I could write thousands of words on the problems of money and football, but it's pointless - it will depress us all and won't change anything. I know a blog like this isn't going to get anyone saying “you know what, players are paid too much - let's cut the wages and give something back to the fans”. Still, it's worth mentioning.

One day Premier League clubs will price their fans out of the stadium. Empty seats galore reminiscent of the Six Nations or the Euros. Then again, fans will go to any lengths - pay any price - to get tickets to see their club. We're stupid I guess.

It's not just me annoyed with this increase. Here are a selection of tweets I received from fellow fans following the announcement of the £45 ticket:

At least relegation has a silver lining now: we get to actually see a game! I saw QPR & Fulham away in the oppositions stands...

Chris, chances are I'll get to see 3 or 4 games max this season. £45 for a Swansea ticket is shocking no matter the opposition. The club has lost touch with their fan base. Especially the ones they'll call on if the PL dream turns sour.

Think they have forgotten we are in a recession.

The new system is clearly designed to make having a season ticket v attractive (ground expansion in mind). £45 is a lot tho!

I think at £45 we are turning into a boutique club a la QPR. It was 1/6d or 7.5p when I first paid to see Swans!

Soon it will be the case that the only people who can afford to watch football are... well, footballers.

Thank god for illegal Armenian cable hook-ups eh?

Your thoughts are more than welcome as always. Sign in using Blogger, Wordpress, Open ID and leave your comment! Or tweet me @ForzaSwansea.


  1. Clive Mitchell13 July 2012 at 13:24

    Great article Chris. I bet majority of people living and working in Swansea earn less than £17k

    1. I bet most earn even less than that! Thanks for the comment, glad you like the blog!

  2. Great blog, but is it fair that ST owners have to join JA. We save all year for 3 ST's & an extra £30 isnt always poss so we can't get away tickets as we are not JA members. What perks do ST owners have then for being loyal?

    1. I think the only perks that ST holders have if they join the scheme is that they are given priority for away games. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Spot on again Chris always hit the nail on the head, i'm 19 and a student where am I going to get that kind of money, horror!.

    1. Luckily for you I believe the club have a concessions rate of £22 a ticket for students! Some financial ease for you hopefully!

  4. My gripe is why ST holders get a discount on the JA membership compared to non ST holders. Just because they have effectively agreed to buy a "discounted ticket" for every home game they get the extra perk of discounted JA membership. It's wrong JA membership should be the same cost for everyone

    1. That's an aspect I overlooked actually - I agree with you. Maybe a £15 flat fee would have been a better option.

  5. Been a swans supporter for nearly 40 years im not a season ticket holder ( cant get one ) but went to all the home games when we were in the championship used to go down the vetch when there was just 1 man and his dog there. But now the true fans are being pushed out

    1. I guess this is the problem with success - if the team is small and unsuccessful they attract only the diehard fans. As they become bigger (i.e. Championship, Premier League) more begin to support and things become annoying for the lifelong fans who can't get tickets anymore.

      The biggest problem is the stadium - if it was a 30,000 seater the tickets would be readily available, and (I assume) the prices wouldn't be as high.

      Cheers for the comment though, hope you get to see a few games next season!

  6. Real football fans get a very raw deal from most clubs.

  7. The whole JA points system is a farce. Only those who abuse the system seem to benefit from it. For example, as someone who had tickets for all league games, my JA points total is 127. If you add 18 points from the three away Cup games that totals 145 points.

    Only those Home STs who bought extra Home tickets for the big games could have more points and are therefore 'rewarded' this forthcoming season with an extra 12 points as they then fall into the 150 to 200 points bracket.

    1. As a follow up to my above comment, I've since spoken to the club who have informed me that very few people have more than 150 points so only a handful of people will be at an advantage at the start of this season.

      Home STs will still be able to buy home tickets but will get no points.

      Hopefully, season after the season the whole JA scheme will be refined but you'll never please all of the people all of the time.

    2. Thanks for the two comments - glad you cleared that up with the club.

      It's still a confusing system, and needs more refining. Hopefully by the season after next there may be 5-10k more seats and the JA membership scheme won't be as vital to fans!

  8. i had 126 points last year which qualified me for a season ticket this year Thats a good reason to join surely?

    1. as for the 45 pound thing its taking the mickey its cheaper to travel a 400 mile round trip to norwich or sunderland and pay to watch them away

    2. as for the 45 pound thing its taking the mickey its cheaper to travel a 400 mile round trip to norwich or sunderland and pay to watch them away