A Lack of Fan Unity Threatens to Undermine Any Meaningful Change to Manchester City Ticket Prices

Say what you like about Liverpool Football Club and their fans, but one thing that most definitely works in their favour is having a united group of supporters. The collective mentality and decisive nature of their fans was instrumental in organising and executing a mass walkout of fans in protest at high ticket prices at the home game against Sunderland in February. As a consequence, the club reduced ticket prices just a number of days later in response to the protest. It was a great moment for Liverpool fans but it was also a seminal moment for football fans of all clubs in England. It showed that fan action does have power. It gave hope where there was no hope before.

In recent weeks and months, there has been growing discontent amongst some, but not all, Manchester City supporters at high ticket prices. The pricing for City’s home game against PSG in the Champions League was of particular concern to fans given that some tickets cost up to £60. There has been much talk about that issue which I do not intend to relay but it is clear there is a division amongst the supporters about what action to take, if any. Whilst some are adamant that a walkout, replicating Liverpool, is an absolute must there are seemingly more who are content with the current upward trajectory of ticket prices.

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The 1894 Manchester City’s supporters group have in recent weeks engaged with the fans trying to ascertain what action to take. That in itself is positive as it is promoting dialogue about the issue and it would be naïve to suggest that it has achieved nothing. However, throughout their endeavours it became apparent that the majority of City fans were against any kind of walkout protest and from the outset the 1894 group stated that they were keen to represent the majority view, which is fair enough. As such, any mooted walkout was abandoned and the closest we came to a protest was a few banners held up by fans in the South Stand in the home game against West Brom. Whilst that wasn’t my personal preference the group did what they said they would do and represent the majority view.

What really jars though is seeing the same supporter group today publish a petition to keep Radio Manchester’s Ian Cheeseman on European commentary duty for City without seemingly any consultation with the fans like they did about ticket prices. To be absolutely clear, Cheeseman isn’t actually losing his job, he is just being taken off European commentary duty and will still be covering City’s domestic games. Your opinion on Cheeseman is irrelevant in these circumstances. Personally, I have never listened to him but I would never petition to keep him in a job or petition to get him out of job, let alone petition to keep an element of his job, like the 1894 group. Setting up a petition is a nice gesture but is it really a pressing issue for a Manchester City supporter today? I don’t think so.

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For all of the supporters who were keen to take decisive action against ticket prices who were not represented by the 1894 group what must they be thinking? In effect, they were ignored but now all of sudden they are being asked to support Cheeseman’s all expenses paid trips around Europe to watch City without any prior consultation. The hypocrisy of going to great lengths to emphasise that they are keen to represent the majority view and then pull out a petition out of nowhere for a relatively trivial issue is farcical. The whole thing stinks and is representative of the dithering and misguided nature of some of the City support. If they want to represent that we, as a set of supporters, are shamefully inept they have achieved that but I doubt that is what they want.

For what it’s worth, I don’t have any ill feeling towards Cheeseman. He must be delighted a supporter’s group are sticking up for him. What I hope for has nothing to do with Ian Cheeseman, though. What I hope for is that I can, my friends can, my family can and people I don’t even know can actually afford to go and watch the team we all support because football is simply too expensive. Until the fan base can actually unite in the manner that Liverpool fans did there is seemingly no hope of addressing the ticket price issue. But don’t worry, we’ll make sure our local radio commentator can go and watch the team in Europe for free whilst the rest of us are priced out of the game.

#together

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Written by Rob Toole

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16 comments on “A Lack of Fan Unity Threatens to Undermine Any Meaningful Change to Manchester City Ticket Prices
  1. I can only comment for my own experience… I sit in the Family Stand (season ticket holder) and for the PSG game I paid £60 for my three season tickets (My adult and 2 kids tickets for my two sons). In addition the club gave the kids a voucher for Burger/Hot Dog, Chips and Drink in the ticket price…. I can’t speak for others but I find this HUGE value, I completely understand that there are prenium seats in the Stadium that city want to sell for a prenium for such a high profile game but let’s face it there isn’t a bad seat in the ground so you can price yourself accordingly. To put some context – I went to see Superman v Batman at the weekend and paid nearly the same price for tickets, coke and popcorn – I know which is the much more enjoyable experience and a great memory.

    As for Ian Cheeseman – his phone in shows and commentary is superb – check out the podcast (Blue Tuesday) – he’s a huge blue but more importantly his commentary is insightful, honest and pretty much balanced (love it when he gets Paul Lake to pass his opinion as well). I’d listen to BBC Radio Manchester rather than listen to the crud that BBC Match of Day and BT Sport roll out as ‘opinion’

  2. I know the person who wrote this and just for the record they are a season ticket holder who lives in Manchester. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and surely it is good to have independent writers who question the actions of football clubs, who opperate in a world far removed from a lot of fans. If you feel the club doesn’t have any question to answer, then fine. It may however be sensible to support a blog that is written with passion, by genuine fans and writers who love the club dearly.

  3. ‘Cheesey’ comes over as a lovely bloke but he is stealing a living as football presenter/journalist. I pay my licence fee for the BBC to speak truth to power and exercise a healthy skepticism not put a fanboy behind the mike.

    Blue Tuesday is bloody awful. United fans are equally badly served. The whole GMR sports offer is like listening to some bizarre 70’s hospital radio.

  4. Ian cheeseman and ticket prices?? Are you serious? Both topics are independent of each other, your article smacks of bitterness towards ticket prices and that ian cheeseman gets to travel to do his job. The ticket prices compared to all other clubs’ champions league semi finals appearances were bang on par if not cheaper!

    City do a lot for the fans, cheap season cards without insisting on mandatory cup and champions league ticket purchases, cheap premier league tickets, free travel, etc etc. If you cant go to a game because of cost, then some fans will have to get used to it, because supporting a premier league club in the champions league is expensive.

    The ticket prices for the game against PSG were normal for the prestigious nature of the opponent and the fact it was a quarter final, plus it wasnt as if all the tickets were that price, and i must point out that 60 quid price was for non season card holders.

    Finally, the majority viewed the ticket prices as acceptable as the etihad was near capacity on tuesday night, and the supporters club confirmed it as a majority view.

    Quit whining, if you cant afford to go, you cant afford to go. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Thanks for reading. Of course I am bitter towards the ticket prices – they are too expensive. For what it’s worth, I can afford to go and have a season ticket. However, I choose not to go to all the cup games, especially when they are very expensive.

      The article isn’t really about Ian Cheeseman. I don’t care about him. The point is that the supporter’s group seemingly treat a small aspect of his job as more of a priority than ticket prices.

    • ‘ If you cant go to a game because of cost, then some fans will have to get used to it, because supporting a premier league club in the champions league is expensive.’

      Why?

      In 2014 (i.e. before the bumper TV deal came) in less than 10% of City’s revenue came from match day.

      With the ground extensions and phenomenal growth in TV and commercial a substantial cut in prices for walk in and season ticket seats in the top and bottom tiers would have no appreciable effect on the clubs finances. None.

      And’s what’s the price we pay (all fans) for this pointless ticket price inflation? A club pricing out the majority of the people who live in the City which nears it’s name. The world’s greatest footballers performing for the middle aged and the middle class.

      Club and community and the stories that come from that are what has built our club and all the others. Price out that special relationship and there is nothing left to sell.

  5. Your wrong about the petition for Ian Cheeseman being trivial, your also wrong about his trips being funded! I read today that he mostly pays his own way. Also the petition to keep him commentating on City games has had massive support from City fans. He is very popular on GMR and I can’t believe you have never heard him. If we watch BT games in Europe on TV, and we have no choice in the CL because they have hijacked it for themselves exclusively,we turn down the commentators they have and listen to Cheesemans commentary on the radio,also after the game we don’t listen to the 3 ex Man Utd pundits on BT who are very biased against anything City, and listen to GMR pundits and the fans phone in.
    Ian Cheeseman has sky blue blood in his veins and knows everything there is to know about City! His family go on holiday without him as he wont miss a City game.
    We are not happy about what the BBC are doing, if something isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.
    He is massively popular. He came to one of our branch meetings of the Bluebells@MaryD’s and spoke to us for over an hour, he was excellent.
    The club are doing a lot for the fans including freezing season card prices and having debates on how to move on the the problem with the singing section not being in sync with each other as there are 2 sections, one each side of the away fans.
    I’m a member of City Live and we were consulted on the new badge, having play stations for the kids in city square and the latest poll I recieved is asking for our input on what should happen about the singing section and standing!
    They also have an app called City Matchday that allows you to choose your team for that day’s match, your predicted score and scorers, also you’re asked to take part in the MOTM award!
    So all in all they are including us in almost everything,and tickets for the match on Tuesday were only more expensive in corporate.

    • Fan apps, play stations and badge consultations. All more important than the fact that our club was initially against the latest concessions to away fans and are doing the very minimum possible on prices in the current climate.

      For real?

    • Thanks for reading. The article isn’t an attack on Ian Cheeseman. Rather it is an example of how a supporter’s group seemingly treated a trivial issue as more of a priority than ticket prices.

  6. That’s because Liverpool have a bunch of mindless unintelligent crowd following numbnuts who can’t think for themselves. This ticket crap at City is just rubbish, it was only for premuim seating at the etihad, it didn’t even affect the majority of season card holders, just an extreme minority of City fans and the media blowing it out of proportion, I’m against them and in support of City. To put into perspective one City fan located in the United States was mouthing off about how wrong our club was for pricing out fans as if they were doing it to all the fans, the idiot neither had the facts or ever stepped foot inside the Etihad let alone any of our old stadiums. This is jusy stupid no news, where are you exactly, I’m in England, as are my season card holding family members.

    • Oh and get you facts straight, Manchester City are extremely cheap compared to United, Arsenal etc, almost half the price of those clubs in fact. You whiners are just cheapskate embarrassments, you want to pay mid table prices for the Champions League.

    • Yes because a semi literate rant against the entire Liverpool fan base, many of whom through collective action actually struck a blow for the ordinary fan, is exactly what’s called for here.

      Fans should hold their clubs to account and realise that they have more in common on this stuff than separates them.

      Anyone who thinks that owners don’t regularly get together to plan how they can screw more money out of the football fan (home, abroad watching TV or in the stadium) isn’t engaging their brain.

      If energy companies or airlines colluded so openly against the paying public they would be behind bars.

      Our owners have done a lot for this club but out of enlightened self interest. Don’t for a minute think that his interests don’t coincide much more closely with Abramovich or Kroenke than the average City fan.

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