Football. Immediately causes images of two things in the minds of unbelievers. The first usually being fat bald drunks who want to smash stuff up, the second being over rich young men with poor vocabulary and a 60K car. Fair enough, that is the way they see football, via news clips and cheap tabloid column inches. I have to honestly admit I detest the business side of football. I would not dream of going to a premier league game. Those prices are ridiculous and I strongly object to the amount of cash that is paid out to those who play at that level. Why oh Why is there no maximum wage limit? It is plainly obvious that one is badly needed. I do not accept this argument that you are paying to watch the world best talent. Other leagues around the sporting globe have world superstars, they do not charge the scandalous amounts that are becoming the norm over here. When you have a minute, look up season ticket prices at under performing Chelsea. You will be stunned.
Who goes to the game these days? just about anybody who wants to, right across the full gamut of society people give up their time, spend the money and follow their teams all over the country, and in some cases beyond. Now that you have recovered from the shock of the Chelsea prices, I go to watch The Millers (Rotherham United) and it costs me £23 to get in. A fiver for the train, so, for £30 I am done with. OK this is League 1 football (at the moment) and I will not see Messi, or Kane, or anyone like that. What I do generally see is ordinary people in a run down and deprived area supporting their currently successful team. Mums, Dads, Grandparents, sisters and brothers all with one cause. Actually, there is something quite magnificent about that. RUFC are freezing their prices for the sixth year in a row. Just how good is that?
Rovrum is a very run down town. It has no major industry to feed people good living standards, the centre is at best neglected, many shop fronts are boarded up, there are too many fast food outlets pushing out rubbish to nurture the next obese generation. People around the place have not got money to burn. Yet around 8000 will turn up for home games, wearing the obligatory team top, with kids bouncing along also correctly attired. I bought a top last night, it was £20, why do some clubs fleece for fans for upwards of £50? There is a pub on the way to the ground which asks you for £1-80 for a John Smiths (best beer on Earth), stuff is cheap. I went to the grand final at Old Trafford last year and was asked for £4-80 for a can of Smiths. It is disgusting.
I always make a point of chatting with away fans, you meet some real characters, people who travel from Southend to see their team battered, yet still are chatty and amusing after. That is proper support. I salute every fan everywhere who does this. The very fabric of football is dedicated people with a sense of humour. They could all spend that money on plenty of other stuff. I spoke with a senior citizen a few weeks ago who has seen Rovrum play on over a hundred grounds! He is getting on now, maybe he will not see many more grounds. I wish I could buy him his own box at the stadium.
Headlines regarding the greatest game are all about "Ultras" training in the woods, ready to punch in the heads of England fans. now then, I reckon that I have been to approaching 70 grounds now, at varying levels, Milwall away on a Tuesday night, A packed Old Trafford, The Etihad, Brentford, The Keepmoat, Gillinmgham away, on and on. Hand on heart I have never seen what they project as proper football violence. To be honest some of the games I have forked out to watch would have been livened up if it had happened. Sure enough I have seen poor conduct, drunks who leave their maturity at the gate. I have been wandering around places when being the away fan, home fans have asked me if I know the way, and directed me to good pubs. More than once I have been "smuggled" into places that do not serve away fans, and found it difficult to buy a beer for the happy smugglers! I have done the same thing. When you are a member of the football family it is just what you do.
I love away games, nothing is as good as travelling to a game. Thing is, train prices are killing it. The absolute cheapest ticket for a London game is £80. This is a joke. Try that if the young un DEMANDS to go, and as you will likely be aware, not taking them starts a war that lasts for years and years. Quite rightly so. The least that should be done is half price match tickets for away fans and some sort of travel membership club.
Fleetwood Town came to Rovrum recently (told you I do not get to see Messi) and fetched with them the usual few hundred dedicated fans. In an entertaining game we did them 3-2, on the train station after I spoke to a FT fan. Few weeks after I have cricket, and who is keeping wicket for one of the teams, the bloke from Fleetwood I had spoken to.
Next Sunday my team will be at Wembley, one game away from the dizzy heights of the Championship (2nd division). Last time they got into that division it was a total complete disaster. I mean a very bad nightmare. I fear the fans of both teams are in for a nightmare at Wembley. They will be descended upon and fleeced for as much money as is humanly possible. The prices are truly scandalous. I just hope they are aware of this.
The money they normally spend on a match day is loose change in London. This is a good illustration of a problem that haunts football, the higher you go the more unrealistic it becomes. The money makers are the real football hooligans these days.
Funny old game innit!!