Celtic fans have reacted to the pricing policy outlined by Hampden for the Scottish Cup Semi-Final with a collective shrug of “who cares?” although there is some consternation in Edinburgh amongst the fans of both the teams over there.
I am going to be honest; although I usually have great sympathy for football fans forced to pay through the nose in these cash-strapped days I can’t muster much in this case and nor can most fans I know.
There are two reasons why.
The first reason is that earlier in the campaign– not that long ago in fact – I had to pay for my seat for the visit of the Ibrox club to Celtic Park, because my season ticket is in one of the sections that they would have had if they’d played nice.
That ticket cost me £50.
I have no regrets because it was a glorious night under the floodlights when we played exhilarating football and basically handed them a lesson to move to the top of the league.
I would not have missed it for the world.
That £50 is, nevertheless, £15 more than Hampden intends to charge.
Which means that if I have an issue it’s with Celtic and not with the SFA in this case. I can’t really find myself getting terribly upset at this, at it’s the price of a mid-ranking European game.
The other reason is that I find wailing over high ticket prices bitchy in the extreme coming from any other club in the SPFL, because every single one of them charges our fans – and the fans at Ibrox as well by the way – outrageously over the odds whenever we go to visit their grounds, when they deign to let us in at all.
No other clubs in the league are subjected to such a vast disparity in pricing when they visit these stadiums.
Paying £30-£40 for a ticket to these grounds on league business is not unheard of and we get no sympathy from anyone.
So I find their anger over this to be somewhat amusing in light of that fact.
They speak as if they were railroaded into this.
But all four clubs are involved in making the decision, or at least that’s how it usually works.
I know for sure if Old Firm Inc. had excluded them from the process the prices for this would have been much, much higher so perhaps we have to thank them for forcing restraint … but to say we imposed this on them sounds fairly ridiculous.
Are the prices high?
Christ yes, football prices are in general.
The game is ruled by rampant greed now – as our club has ably demonstrated with their involvement in the Gutter Ball.
But placing these prices in the context of what Celtic fans regularly have to pay to watch their team – home and away – they are actually pretty reasonable.
It is the pricing policies of these other clubs which has helped to normalise a scenario where Celtic can charge me £50 for an SPFL game without even blinking.
I am not usually unsympathetic to the plight of football fans, but the Edinburgh supporters asking for fairness in pricing is a bit rich considering the years their clubs have spent over-charging ours.