When Liverpool supporters left Anfield last weekend in protest to the new ticket pricing scheme, which would have seen the most expensive tickets cost a whopping £77 (just under €100), the club’s owners FSG clearly took note.
Principal Owner John W Henry, Chairman Tom Werner and President Mike Gordon said that they were “particularly troubled by the perception that we don’t care about our supporters, that we are greedy, and that we are attempting to extract personal profits at the club’s expense,” in a statement on Liverpool’s website on Wednesday evening. “Quite the opposite is true.”
The initial plan for a £77 matchday ticket in the redeveloped main stand and season tickets of £1,029 have been scrapped. They will now remain at £59 and £869 respectively.
It’s a very decent move from FSG. They could have ignored the planned walkout, which was organised by the supporters groups Spion Kop 1906 and Spirit of Shankly, and simply kept the ticket prices high. They know they can get buyers for the €77 tickets, as Liverpool are one of the most supported teams on the planet, which fans jetting in to Merseyside from all over the globe most weekends.
From experience, the FAI have been criticized for many things, but ticket pricing has, since the Aviva stadium era began, always been one of them. In fact, a seat in premium level for the forthcoming friendly against Switzerland will set you back €120. That’s roughly the same price for a decent seat in the grandstand of the Camp Nou for most La Liga and Champions League games – though often go much higher than that. Hence why that stadium is rarely sold out and lacks atmosphere compared to say the Allianz Arena or La Bombonera – Barcelona’s prices are realistically for tourists.
But FSG have backed down in pricing the local fans out. And, I for one, am deeply impressed with how they handled the issue.
“We believe we have demonstrated a willingness to listen carefully, reconsider our position, and act decisively,” FSG’s statement read. “The unique and sacred relationship between Liverpool Football Club and its supporters has always been foremost in our minds.”
Football, at the highest level anyway, is nothing without it’s fans. It’s refreshing to see a club’s owners recognize that.
Follow Rob Smith on Twitter (@robsmithireland)