27 November, 2008

Besides, Strictly Come Dancing’s on Tonight…

Anyone who knows anyone who supports one of the top-4 teams in this country will have undoubtedly heard time and time again just how frustrating it is not being able to get a match ticket. You see, for plenty of Premier League clubs the demand far outweighs the supply, and so they have to set up ridiculously complicated ‘supporter reward’ schemes, where they measure how ‘big’ a fan you are and only allow you to buy tickets accordingly. Thing is though, you’d expect that when actually offered the opportunity to finally go to Stamford Bridge or the Emirates, you’d jump at the chance, even if it is only to watch the b-team play Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup, or a pointless Champions League game when you’ve already qualified.

However, there were almost a thousand unsold seats at the Emirates this week for their clash with Dynamo Kiev, which makes you somewhat question the commitment of some of their so-called fans. Given the current run of form, the injuries, Bendtner’s boots, and let’s face it, the arctic temperatures in London at the moment, I can kind of excuse this though.

But what is horrendous is that a couple of days before the game, there are still tickets at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal. It’s an old rivalry, a city rivalry, and I thought, a pretty passionate rivalry for the Premier League upper echelons. For such a rich club, Stamford Bridge has a pretty modest capacity of 42,500, and despite ticket prices and the fact it’s on TV, there should be no way in hell that you’d be able to buy a ticket even a month in advance! It’s obviously not my place to accuse supporters of the top-4 clubs as being less passionate or less committed, because obviously every team has its die-hards and its fair-weathers, but still this bothers me.

Two of the biggest and most famous teams in the country are playing each other, with a lot at stake for both in the current climate, and still people aren’t sure if they want to go see it live. Maybe that’s the point though, and one we have often lamented on STT before. Since when did watching football on TV become preferable to actually being there and feeling it? There are some things in life where cost has to go out of the window if you care that much, so I don’t buy the pricing excuse. If I can go watch my team play, I need to be there, regardless of how far away it is or how late I get home. And this feeling is only multiplied when it’s against one of the top teams, because deep down I simply couldn’t live with myself if we’d beaten, say, Arsenal and I wasn’t there with everyone else to experience it.

Do you just go numb to big clashes when you see them week in, week out for years? Is it really that easy to be blasé looking at a fixture list, and see Manchester United and Liverpool, interspersed with European ‘obligations’ against the likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan? I don’t know, maybe I guess.


Cesc's lil bird said...

On the Arsenal side of things, I would work my ass off for a ticket to the match and I would work even harder so I can afford airfares to and from South Africa, accomodation, meals and extra money for spending and emergencies. In short, for me to have "an Arsenal footballing experience", it would cost me somewhere around 7000 poounds. And it would be worth every penny even if they lose the match that I would be watching. I'm just emphasising your point that not all would just give up like that.

It's just frustrating that our team is hitting such bad form and inconsistencies. And I agree with what you pointed out as our flaws. This shouldn't bother you as much as it is though because "every club has its ... fairweathers". The ones who left are fairweathers and this principle can be applied to most things in life, especially football.

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