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All Guns Blazing: It’s time for Arsenal and football to unite against ticket prices

11:26 11 February 2016

Liverpool fans display signs protesting ticket prices in the stands at Arsenal before kick-off. Picture: Nick Potts

Liverpool fans display signs protesting ticket prices in the stands at Arsenal before kick-off. Picture: Nick Potts

PA Wire

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Layth Yousif celebrates a small victory against the club’s penny pinchers, but says there’s a long battle ahead.

February’s been a strange month to be an Arsenal fan. How so? Well for a start we’ve seen two victories.

I know we’ve only won once, drawing against Southampton and beating Bournemouth. I was present at both. What I’m referring to is a victory that occurred after the frustrating stalemate against the Saints but before our important triumph over the Cherries.

As a season ticket holder of more than 30 years, correspondence from the club dropped into my inbox on Thursday morning. It wasn’t good news.

It spoke about ‘the value of credit proportion unused’ before I noticed a figure in bold of £16.11. I thought it was a refund until I realised the club were asking me to pay it – to ensure I was allowed to watch the Barcelona home game.

I used to work in investment banking, as well as being an MBA who is familiar with the Holt-Winters Regression Forecasting Model – but I still didn’t understand their calculations for asking me to cough up more money on top of the grand I had already paid out.

It was instructive that my initial thought was: ‘Oh, thank God, it’s only 16 quid’. The implication: I expect to get fleeced by the club I love and have spent so much time and money supporting through thick and thin.

I then started to get furious calls from old friends who are also season ticket holders. To a man they were livid at the prospect of being milked for more money.

They were so angry they copied me in on letters they’d written to Arsenal and to national newspapers. None of them write for a living. They’re working-class London cabbies, delivery drivers and mechanics fearful of being priced out of the game they love.

Then it struck me. If people like that were writing angry letters about being ripped off by a club that is about to receive more money in a new television deal than some countries produce in annual GDP, then surely we’ve reached a tipping point.

The fact this crass, money-grabbing act was rescinded 24 hours later shows how wrong the club were. The walk-out by Liverpool fans at Anfield also shows it’s not just Arsenal fans who have had a raw deal.

It has to be time for supporters everywhere to rise up and show that football without fans is nothing. For the sake of the game we care passionately about. And our wallets.

Follow me @laythy29

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