'The problems are caused by a total obsession with money'

Fan's Eye View Special: After a week of growing concern about the Premiership's declining popularity, we asked supporters from every club to suggest the causes and offer solutions
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ARSENAL, Paul Matz, chairman of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association

What is the Premiership's biggest problem?

The gradual development of the big clubs, taking more and more of the collateral. There is a degree of predictability that was not there in the past.

And what practical improvements would make it better?

There needs to be a greater emphasis on fairer redistribution of the wealth, in Europe and the wider world. The FA also needs restructuring and modernising.

ASTON VILLA Dave Woodhall, editor of the 'Heroes & Villains' fanzine

Biggest problem?

The main problem is you can watch every Villa game live. Pubs show every game, even ones on the foreign channels. Pricing is not too bad - our cheapest tickets are £15.

Improvements?

Drastically reduce the number of live games on TV. It doesn't just affect the Premier League; it's a disaster for lower-tier football too.

BIRMINGHAM Chris Measey, chairman of Birmingham London Area Supporters' club

Biggest problem?

The price of going to matches.

Improvements?

We have to go back to the roots of supporting football - let kids in for less money or for free. We have to ensure the next generation of football fans comes through. To encourage adults we must reduce standard prices.

BLACKBURN James Billouin, editor of the www.roversactive.co.uk website

Biggest problem?

The expensive ticket prices, without a doubt.

Improvements?

Ticket prices need to be reviewed or capped by the FA. We only need to look across Europe to realise that we are paying too much. This year I'm refusing to go to many grounds because of the cost involved - the cost for an away fan at Chelsea, in particular, is totally unacceptable.

BOLTON Tony Pearson, chairman of the Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Association

Biggest problem?

The expense of tickets. Football has always been considered a family game but for the average family it is too expensive. The tradition of a Saturday afternoon outing has been replace by a confusion of midday and early-evening kick-offs, as well as Sunday and Monday matches.

Improvements?

Wholesale ticket price reductions would be the best solution. Reduce the number of televised games and restore more fixtures to a Saturday 3pm kick-off.

CHARLTON Mick Gebbett, chairman of the Charlton Athletic Supporters' Group

Biggest problem?

The cost of going to games, especially away games. It's not so bad at the top end, because if you're paying £5,000 a £50 rise isn't going to hurt. But at the bottom end, £50 is a lot.

Improvements?

Consultation and consideration are key. If clubs listen to their fans there is a communication process and problems can be overcome. Clubs must learn that they have to look beyond short-term gains.

CHELSEA, Rob Hobson, editor and media liaison of CFC.net

Biggest problem?

I do not think there is anything wrong at the moment. I am still entertained by football and find it laughable and unbelievable that Chelsea are being criticised.

Improvements?

Making tickets cheaper could be a start. There also need to be negotiations on the amount of live football on TV. Why should people pay for a ticket when they can stay at home and watch? In terms of playing style there is nothing to improve.

EVERTON, Mark Staniford, editor of Speke from the 'Harbour' fanzine

Biggest problem?

The biggest problem is that there are only three good teams. It's getting like the Scottish Premier League. Improvements?

A salary cap similar to the NFL to stop the richest clubs running away with the trophies. I'm honest enough, though, to admit that if Everton suddenly acquired a Roman Abramovich I possibly wouldn't feel the same.

FULHAM John Aitken, press officer, Fulham Supporters' Club

Biggest problem?

The main problem is ticket prices. It's just too expensive to take a family to a game.

Improvements?

I would like to see an improvement in facilities, especially for away fans. Treatment should reflect the prices you are paying.

LIVERPOOL Stephen Davies, editor of the 'Red and White Kop' online fanzine

Biggest problem?

Ticket prices. The Premier League's self-mythologising hype has led to players and agents demanding ludicrous salaries, which clubs have paid, forcing fans to pay through the nose to fund the whole thing.

Improvements?

I'd sack anyone who uses the words "product", "customers" and "entertainment". We're not attending the opera.

MANCHESTER CITY Ric Turner, editor of the 'Blue Moon', unofficial Manchester City website

Biggest problem?

There is a lack of competition - everyone knows that Chelsea will win the league, United and Arsenal will compete for second, and perhaps five clubs will be involved in a relegation dogfight.

Improvements?

A salary cap to bridge the gap between the "big three" and the rest. A draft system is an unrealistic aim.

MANCHESTER UNITED, Andy Mitten, editor of 'United We Stand', the Manchester United online fanzine

Biggest problem?

High ticket prices, games rarely played at 3pm on a Saturday, 22-year-old millionaires with no shame owning six cars and driving them through the working-class communities which gave football its mass appeal. Add uniform, sanitised stadiums and a predictable Premiership and why wonder about the proliferation of empty seats.

Improvements?

Abolishing category A/B/C games. For all their qualities, Birmingham City are not "category A" in the eyes of the fans who were asked to pay £45 last season for a 0-0 draw played at 12.45pm.

MIDDLESBROUGH Dave Pratt, chairman of the Sedgefield Middlesbrough Supporters Club

Biggest problem?

There is a lack of excitement; it's turned into a passionless affair. Negative tactics have taken over. The stakes are so high that teams are scared to attack in case they lose.

Improvements?

Kick-off times need to come back to 3pm on Saturdays. This would mean more people would be able to attend the matches. The rules also need to be looked at.

NEWCASTLE UNITED, Ian Gordon, editor of www.toonweb.co.uk

Biggest problem?

The gap between big teams and smaller teams in the league is becoming so vast results are becoming predictable. The title is simply a race for second place

Improvements?

A total club wage cap. If teams were only allowed a predetermined budget it would stop the likes of Roman Abramovich offering silly money.

PORTSMOUTH Barry Thompson, secretary of Portsmouth Northern Blues

Supporters' Club

Biggest problem?

Managers are frightened of losing. Instead of playing on the offensive they go out with a very defensive attitude.

Improvements?

Ticket prices could probably come down - that would help. A change in attitude and a shift to a more offensive style would brighten things up.

SUNDERLAND Paul Forrest, assistant editor of 'A-Love-Supreme' fanzine

Biggest problem?

The league is broken into mini-leagues of teams battling for the title, trying to get into Europe and fighting against relegation. There are also too many games televised now. There is only so much football we can take.

Improvements?

A transfer cap would help to put clubs on a level footing; it would need to be worldwide.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR Bernie Kingsley, editor of 'Cock-a-Doodle-Doo' fanzine

Biggest problem?

I would say the problems are largely caused by the obsession of those within the game with money. This is perhaps best illustrated by the ridiculously overblown, so-called "Champions' League".

Improvements?

Finding referees who are even reasonably competent, not swayed towards the so-called "big teams", and who recognise that we go to watch a football match not the referee.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION Alan Cleverley, secretary of West Bromwich Albion supporters' club

Biggest problem?

It's too expensive. Particularly away supporters are paying inflated prices, often for a restricted view. There are also too many matches live on television. The Premiership is made up of three rigid tiers.

Improvements?

A reduction in ticket prices. The league would be more competitive if national team managers refused to play players at big clubs who are not playing regularly.

WEST HAM UNITED Nick Hardy, volunteer at West Ham United Supporters' Trust and season-ticket holder

Biggest problem?

Nothing for us. We're getting good crowds and playing entertaining football and as long as that continues we won't complain. Some teams aren't playing in the same way and that puts fans off.

Improvements?

None needed.

WIGAN ATHLETIC Caroline Molyneux, chairwoman of Wigan Athletic Supporters Association

Biggest problem?

Prices of tickets are too high, as well as players' wages.

Improvements?

We have got to get kids in particular into grounds for less so that football can once again be a family game and we can build our fan bases from younger ages. We could also introduce a wage cap, so that clubs didn't need to charge such high prices for their tickets.

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