Celtic fans are pissed off tonight, and quite rightly too, at the news that tickets for Dundee are going to cost as much as £40 apiece, when you take into account handling fees and everything else. It’s an outrageous sum to be charging for a game that close to Christmas.
Football has become a very middle class, cash-oriented pastime.
It was heading that way but that trend has accelerated in worrying ways these past ten years with clubs not even hesitating to charge fortunes for tickets and merchandising companies putting out three and even four strips and bucket loads of training gear.
Clubs like the one across the street have attempted to “incentivise” buying all this stuff and spending more and more money with stuff like the MyGers scheme, which to me resembles nothing more than a scam against supporters.
The fury over this is understandable, but I already know that Dundee fans and Hearts fans and Hibs fans and Aberdeen fans and others are all going to talk about Celtic Park ticket prices and restricted view seats and all the rest of it, and they are going to say that we have a cheek to complain, except that a lot of us have sympathy for their cause.
The Scottish Football Supporters Association, the only cross-club fan group in the country, wants an independent review of our game and their ultimate objective is some kind of regulator like they have in England, and one that will put the protection of the fans front and centre of things.
One of the long-standing campaigns they’ve supported is the £20’s Plenty campaign to limit the price of match tickets. Which I can easily understand.
That will never garner widespread support in Scotland, but putting a ceiling on ticket prices is not a bad idea and its one whose time is probably coming.
Season tickets are different; clubs can, and will, charge what they want for those … but fans should have the right to be able to purchase tickets on a match-by-match basis and to have the price of those set independently.
Will it cost clubs money? Yeah, but not much money.
Not enough to matter. Not enough to hold back from doing the right thing.
Most clubs in Scotland can’t get away with over-charging for tickets and would comfortably fall under any maximum price threshold anyway. Our losses from it would be marginal, especially if certain matches were exempt.
And of course, certain matches would be exempt.
We all know they would be and we’d tolerate that to an extent. But £32 cover price plus other charges reaching £40, for a ticket to watch Celtic in Dundee, throwing in travel costs from Glasgow and all the rest, on Boxing Day … that’s beyond belief, and the game is already live on TV.
Yet there are folk who will complain about all the empty seats … with the way fans are treated these days it’s little wonder that there are tens of thousands of them all over Scottish football every damned weekend now.