BY YANN TEAR
Fulham fans have had more than relegation on their minds this season, with a big majority now expressing dismay at the club’s ticket pricing.
A half-hearted protest it may have been in the recent home game against Manchester City, but it was heartfelt nevertheless.
“Stop the Greed” many chanted in the 55th minute of the match – a reference to the cost of top-priced fixtures at Craven Cottage this season.
The Fulham Supporters’ Trust has released findings of fan survey and discovered that:
- Only 58 per cent are satisfied with 2018/19 season ticket prices
- 75 per cent are dissatisfied with matchday prices for top category games
- 64 per cent go to fewer home games because of ticket prices
- 58 per cent go to more away games because of £30 ticket price cap
- 28 per cent won’t renew season tickets if prices jump
- Majority say matchday tickets are £10 to £15 too high The Trust says the club needs to “listen, learn and reset for future seasons.”
The Fulham Supporters’ Trust bases its findings on a survey of 2,300 fans. It says that while Fulham’s season tickets are amongst the most competitive in the Premier League, only two clubs charge more for home end matchday adult seats than Fulham – who charged £55 for matches against the top six, West Ham and Newcastle, and £45 for most of the other fixtures.
“While the majority of supporters were satisfied with pricing for season tickets, most of which were sold to fans before the club’s promotion through the play-offs last May, matchday ticket prices have had a detrimental impact on the number of games other fans have attended,” said the Trust.
Of non-season ticket holders, half of whom are Fulham members, 64 per cent say they have attended fewer games as a result of ticket prices. In contrast, 58 per cent of those going to more away fixtures cite the cross-Premier League £30 away ticket price cap as a deciding factor.
Meanwhile, almost three in 10 season ticket holders say whether or not they renew will depend upon the prices for next season, which have yet to be announced. Most Fulham fans think matchday behind the goal prices are £10-15 higher than they should be.
Tom Greatrex, chairman of the Fulham Supporters’ Trust, said: “Since September, the Trust has been making clear to the club our concern at the impact of high matchday prices on fans’ attendance this season.
While most fans have season tickets, and have been satisfied with the competitive prices offered by the club, all fans have expressed concern about the detrimental impact on previously regular match-going fans of some of the highest matchday prices for home end adult tickets.
“This data confirms those concerns have had an impact on how often fans have been to watch Fulham this season, and fears of a price hike on their decisions on renewing season tickets next season.
“Despite a disappointing season on the field – relegation is now confirmed – Fulham is on the verge of a vitally important period with the construction of a new Riverside Stand, which would keep Fulham at Craven Cottage for the long-term, with new and improved facilities.
“Fulham fans are hugely appreciative of the commitment to investment from the owner that building the stand represents, and the considerable funding put into the club over a sustained period by [owner] Shahid Khan.
“However, despite the commendable approach to season ticket prices, we believe the club have got matchday tickets wrong this season, with a consequence of potentially pricing out and putting off many long-standing loyal fans.”
Mr Greatrex added that the Trust has proposed a pricing model which reduces most matchday tickets by £10 or £15.
“We recently presented to the club a sustainable, affordable and fair model that could be adopted for future seasons, putting us in line with a family of similar sized clubs like Crystal Palace, Watford and Brighton,” he said.
“We all want as many Fulham fans in the ground as possible – for the long term – and what is important now is that the club listens, learns and presses the reset button for next season and beyond.”
Fulham had not responded to requests for a comment at the time of going to press.