12 June, 2007 :: by Autolycus
eeds fans are clamouring for season tickets for the 2007-08 League
One campaign in such numbers that the club has had to suspend
seating viewing for three weeks in order to cope with demand.
Fans will be able to book viewings for July 2 onwards.
Attendances at Elland Road slumped last season to around
19,000, owing to poor on-field performances but also due to
uncompetitive prices - remember you can see the 2005 World Champions,
Leeds Rhinos for £15
but United seemed to be unaware of this until late on in the season
when experimental pricing at a couple of games saw the ground hold
around 30,000 fans, the lower artifical maximum attendance due
to the closure of the upper tier of the East Stand.
Thanks to the shedding of both the Ridsdale debt and the
overpaid under-achievers on the field, Ken Bates has been able
to lower prices (though they will still be the highest in the division).
It would be nice to think that lots of ordinary Leeds fans who
were priced out of the ground by past pricing will put their dispute
with Ken Bates on hold and turn out to cheer on the team.
fair to Bates he was trying to pay off debts inherited from the
past incompetents and so had little real opportunity to take a
risk with pricing. Moreover many ordinary fans were priced out
of the ground well before this, even during the Premiership days.
pounds to watch a game of football is way beyond the pockets of
many ordinary fans on minimum wage with families. Frankly, it often
poor value too - not just when Leeds were losing! Last season an
analysis of a Chelsea match showed that the ball was in play for
less than twenty minutes in each half - hardly entertainment.
Which would you rather have - two and a half minutes of Premiership
football or a pint of beer? Atrocious value for money
So for this season the ordinary
fan has a chance to revisit Elland Road at reasonable price to
watch a league that will be every bit as competitive as last season's
Championship. The Premiership is where the money is - together
with a massive yawn factor - only two teams can win it and the
rest of the League is full of foreign millionaires' hobby teams
watched by gates that will be less than those at Elland Road next
season! Sky has a problem on its hands when it is committed to
showing matches between teams that I wouldn't even watch if they
were free on the BBC!! Fulham v Portsmouth anyone? Wigan v Blackburn?
Derby v Bolton? The Premiership is lucky that Sunderland were
promoted - at least their 47,000 home crowds will help hide the
reality of declining gates for the slumber-inducing top division.
Meanwhile many teams in League One will be watched by modern-day
record crowds this season. Sunderland will receive millions for
being in the Premiership and the fans will pay through their nose
for the privilege of watching shiftless millionaires go through
the motions to fill time between calls to their agents. Leeds may
well achieve nothing next season but thousands of long-time fans
can once again afford to participate in the life of the club and
attend the games. The standard may be more basic and more physical
than the Premiership - but it will be much cheaper and more exciting
than the boring, cheat-fest travesty that the top league has become.
For the first time in years I'm really looking
forward to the fixtures coming out; real football is back and we
can afford to go again!