In my first article for The Boot Room, I wrote about how more clubs should take note of what Swansea City are doing after the resounding success of Garry Monk as manager and their on-field footballing achievements. Well, the Swans are at it again. Earlier this month, Swansea City announced that they were subsidising away tickets for their fans ensuring that no fan would have to pay more than £22 for an away ticket. An amazing gesture from a model club that I don’t think got the media coverage that it deserved. This unique and generous gesture shows that Swansea are getting things spot on off the pitch as well as on it and are an example for others.
The news was welcomed with unprecedented praise from fans across the country as well as their own fans. Swansea were praised for their generosity and commitment to their fans’ footballing experience. They were praised for rewarding their supporters’ dedication to the club for long travels up the length and breadth of the country. This action from a football club was long overdue and now it is time that more clubs follow suit.
It is estimated that the subsidising of away tickets will set Swansea back somewhere in the region of £300,000. Now, in the current age of football, £300,000 is a generally insignificant amount. £300,000 will be a week and a half’s wages for a player at a club of Manchester United or Chelsea’s stature. Or, £300,000 could be a small portion of a fee paid by a club for a transfer. Bearing that in mind, why can’t more clubs do what Swansea have done to show gratitude to the fans that make it possible for clubs to pay those hefty wages or bulky transfer fees?
The wealth that our clubs have is always well documented. People complain that players get paid too much or that the money clubs splash out on players is ridiculous. It’s not a secret that the money is there. So, why don’t they put the money towards subsidising tickets and reducing ticket prices to say thank you for the sacrifices fans make to go to football matches?
Image is a huge factor football clubs are concerned with in modern football. What is said about a football club in the media influences the club and their supporters. Look at the reception Swansea got when they announced this news. The footballing community had nothing but praise for a club who wanted to do something about the immense cost of supporting a club. Even if a club wants to improve their image in the footballing community, putting aside a few hundred thousand pounds to reduce the amount fans spend their hard earned money on would go a long way in doing so.
An away game is something everyone has to experience. I have never been to an away game to see my team play. But the thought of an early wake up call, a long journey to an unfamiliar city and stadium, and singing until my throat hurts excites me just writing about it. It’s something every football fan must do. Swansea have enabled more people to experience that. Not only that, but the on-field performances may improve because of the potential of consistently packed out away ends acting as the ‘twelfth man’.
It’s going to take a lot for Garry Monk’s side to break into the next level of the Premier League. However, with measures in place to try and make sure that the ‘twelfth man’ is as influential as possible, the Swansea supporters could be pivotal in another magnificent season for Garry Monk’s side.
Measures to make the footballing experience cheaper are long overdue. What Swansea City have done should be celebrated but should promote the necessity for more to be done. For too long, the excessively high prices have pushed real football fans out of the game that they love and adore so much. We have to celebrate what Swansea have done but we have to say ‘one club isn’t enough’. More clubs need to lower prices and subsidise tickets to bring the supporters that live and die by their club back into the game. A few hundred thousand pounds is nothing in football. It’s almost nine days wages for Wayne Rooney or nearly 1% of the rumoured transfer fee that will send Christian Benteke from Aston Villa to Liverpool.
Well done to Swansea for making the footballing experience cheaper. Now, more clubs need to follow Swansea City, a leading beacon in British football.
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