Date:Wednesday October 25 2006
Earlier, Goonerholic expressed his concerns over rising ticket prices and the 'Prawn Sandwich Brigade', well our resident professor argues that 'You get what you pay for'.
I don't see the main problem as ticket prices, Blackburn lower their prices because their matches are not worth watching. The greater issue here is if English football is entertaining. The middle classes hijack anything once it becomes sophisticated enough, but this is inevitable and I don't see it as a major problem as the influx of middleclass fans hasn't affected other mainstream sports that are traditionally working class. In America some NBA tickets are really expensive but the cost is balanced by the promise of entertainment and value for money, sport is treated as an expensive event off the pitch but more importantly on the pitch also. Just to clarify, I hate basketball.
I think that if we want ambition and expansion for our club then we have to be realistic and take the cons with the pros. Prices will rise, personnel will change etc but it's all ineviatbly part of the deal of ambitous progress. There's a Samurai saying that says 'No matter how much we yearn for past eras, we have to make the most of the one we face now.' So if we accept that there is no way Arsenal or other ambitous clubs are going to go back, then we have to look at the situation and work out the best set up given the current scenario.
Personally I believe that best set is to produce entertaining football, I think that this is the only way forward and the only way to justify and balance ticket prices. I don't think that prices will threaten football atendences short term or long term, I think that clubs will always find a way to accomodate working class fans, I think the real threat to football is what you are seeing in the Premiership right now - anti-football - this has nothing to do with middleclass fans or ticket prices, it's far worse and presents a far bigger problem as far as I'm concerned. Bolton in the Champions league anyone?
Chris Waddle has a short article up on the BBC Sports website and I completely agree with what he is saying, basically he says that the Premiership is not entertaining, he would only pay to watch Arsenal and Man Utd and that La Liga offers far better value for money. I've been saying this for ages, that football spirit and values is in a far bigger crisis in this country than sales and prices.
Perhaps Arsenal could have maintained an overwhelming majority of working class support, but perhaps we would have also maintained our mid table position. Entertaining football will attract fans from all walks of life not just the working classes who watch their teams out of tribal loyalty rather than seeking an entertaining payoff.
It was the middleclasses and toffs who originally took their brand of 'English' football round the world, in response to the stiff predictable disciplined English 'fair play' game the latinos developed a more expressive game based on technique and expression (and gamesmanship unfortunately) deliberately designed to sepreate it from the colonial English game, so in theory entertaining football belongs to the working classes, granted perahps not in this country but I say it's about time that it did. England gave the world football, the world improved it and are now giving it back, we can either accept and embrace this change along with the inflation in fans and prices that comes with it, or we can stay old school like the English national side has done, and then like them wonder why the rest of the world has left us behind. Entertaining football is the key, after that, all other issues can and will be dealt with.
Article submitted by Professor Calculus.
Date:Wednesday October 25 2006
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