The pricing policy at Arsenal Football Club probably looks a lot different when you are raking in something along the lines of £8 million a year as our manager Arsene Wenger does. And the fact that he does not even have to pay to go and see any football match he feels like hardly gives him the right point of view to see how the disgruntled fans feel about being fleeced in order to follow our football heroes.
But even so, I would have thought all the anger and frustration that the Frenchman has seen from the Arsenal fans recently, especially in the nine years when the club did not win a trophy, would have made him a bit more cautious about dealing with our complaints and more reluctant to dismiss them.
Not so, because the Evening Standard has reported Wenger’s thoughts on all the recent talk about ticket prices and TV money and despite us regularly being told that the Gunners are the most expensive team to go and see, Wenger seems to think that we are getting a great deal.
He said, “It is a very complicated subject. How do you decide what is the right level of ticket prices? First of all [you look at] your attendance and then you are being compared many times to foreign clubs. I don’t think we are on the same level ground as foreign clubs.
“For example, Bayern Munich paid one Euro for their ground whereas we played £128 million for our ground. In France they pay nothing at all for their stadium, they pay nothing at all for their maintenance.
“We pay absolutely everything ourselves so we have to generate more revenue. It is true we get more television income, that is down to the audience and success but you know as well that it is down to the pressure of the market to pay for the players with a higher price and out expenses will come up straight away to increase their wages.
“After that you want the ticket prices to be as comfortable as possible for our fans. I looked at the comparisons, our cheapest prices is cheaper than anywhere in London. Our most expensive price is a fraction higher than the other clubs in London. Our most common ticket price is lower than many places in England. I don’t think that we have a massive problem on that front.”
No mention of the massive cash reserves that the club has built up there I see or the fact that we would be a lot happier paying the high prices if we could see the money being spent on players rather than put in a big pile to earn interest.
Wenger also spoke about the planned protest from Leicester fans on Sunday and the possibility of Gooners joining in. And once again the boss seems badly out of touch. He reckons that any protest should occur before or after the game, with the pretty weak sounding reason of us missing valuable football. It seems to me, however, that this sort of protest, like the one by Liverpool fans last week, is the only way to really get the club’s attention.
The Leicester fans’ protest is not even about money as much as it is about football fans being badly treated and even completely ignored by the powers that be. Has Wenger now completely lost touch with us little people and will that mean he loses even more support from the long suffering Arsenal faithful?