You’re a Football Fan, But Do You Go To The Match?

September 10, 2017 10:15 pm

Once upon a time, it wasn’t uncommon for a person to finish work in the early afternoon on a Saturday, have a bite to eat, and then head on over to the local football team for an afternoon of singing, supporting, and – all going well – celebrating. Then, sometime in the early nineties, the popularity of football soared, thanks in large part to the melodrama espoused by Sky. Fast forward two decades, and you have a generation of supporters who love the game, but never go the game. Why is this? And does it matter?


Weighing Up Ticket Prices

Football began as a working class game, and in large part it still is. However, the cost of going to the match – which has risen far above the rate of inflation – has meant that many fans have been priced out of the game. If they do go to the match, it’s a one-off experience each season rather than every week. You can argue that the tickets cost the same as a play or a concert, but then: at those events, a good time is guaranteed. It’s hard to swallow the cost of a ticket if your team plays terribly and gets beat 5-0!

A Matchday Routine

That’s not to say people are turning their back on the sport. Football is more popular than ever before. People still have their match day routines; they just don’t do the part that involves going to the game. Chanting on the terraces has been replaced by other things, such as watching morning television shows, football betting, radio phone-ins, and building up hype for the big match through conversations with friends and family. Football’s influence on the structure hasn’t diminished at all; if anything, it’s become more important.

Fan Zones

But naturally, when it comes to the game then people aren’t content just to sit and home and support their team alone. They want the communal aspect of cheering on their beloved side, and if they can’t afford to go to the game, they’re finding new ways to do it. Head past a pub during the match, and you’ll hear a loud cheer – or collective groan – when a goal is scored. Some cities also have ‘super bars,’ which can fit in hundreds of people who can all see the screen. The atmosphere at these bars, while not quite hitting the heights of Anfield or other stadiums, is still something to behold.

Saturday Evening

We’ve already established that football is about much more than the match: it takes up the entire day. Post-match, when everybody retreats to a pub to have conversations about who played well, who had a nightmare (nearly always: The Ref), and how the season is shaping up, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been to the game or not. Everyone can get involved.


With that being said, it is a shame that so many fans have been priced out of the most immediate, authentic experience the sport has to offer. However, until the ticket prices are lowered, fans will always have a more than adequate backup experience.


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