Melanie Bien: Don't score an own goal on your season ticket

It's that time of year again for football fans: not crying into their pints because the season has come to an end but working out how on earth they are going to pay for their season ticket for 2004-05. Even before the last kick of this campaign, ticket renewal forms are plopping on doormats up and down the country, as clubs attempt to raise cash to fund their summer transfer business.

It's that time of year again for football fans: not crying into their pints because the season has come to an end but working out how on earth they are going to pay for their season ticket for 2004-05. Even before the last kick of this campaign, ticket renewal forms are plopping on doormats up and down the country, as clubs attempt to raise cash to fund their summer transfer business.

With season tickets the price they are nowadays, most fans will have to do a bit of juggling and budgeting to cover the cost. My Arsenal ticket costs £837 - one of the cheapest at Highbury - but it needs to be paid by the end of this month. And given that the boyfriend has one as well, budgeting is high on the agenda chez Bien.

Much as I love my club, using the finance it offers to cover the cost of the season ticket is not a sound move. Football clubs simply don't do the best finance deals; they don't have to because they can rely on fan loyalty.

For example, the Arsenal Mastercard from Bank of Scotland has an introductory offer of 0 per cent on new purchases for the first five months, which is great.

But if I haven't cleared the balance by this time, it shifts to a standard annual percentage rate (APR) of 14.9, which is rather high. Halifax One Visa's 0 per cent for new purchases for nine months is a much better deal as I have longer to clear the balance, and even if I don't, it reverts to a more reasonable APR of 9.9 after that time.

But whichever card I opt for, it is questionable whether I'd actually receive it by the end of the month in time to beat the deadline anyway.

An unsecured personal loan might be a better bet, particularly as the Arsenal website reveals that this can be sorted out in just 24 hours. However, I have to borrow at least £1,000, which is more than I need, and rates are "from 8.9 per cent APR". Even though the site states that the typical APR is 9.9, I won't actually know how much I'd be paying until the loan has been approved - and by then, it's too late. There are no payments for three months, though, which might be handy as it means I could go on holiday this summer before I need to start worrying about paying it back.

However, as with the credit card, I could get a cheaper loan if I put my football loyalties to one side: Nationwide will charge me 6.7 per cent to borrow £1,000. So over a year, it would cost me a total of £1,035.60 to pay off the season ticket - not bad at all. But while I may want only to borrow as much as I need, oddly this will cost me more: the best APR on a £850 loan over a year is 13.9 per cent from Liverpool Victoria. This would mean £61.40 in interest, compared with £35.60 if I borrow £1,000.

Shopping around for credit is clearly important, as highlighted on page 22. There is no excuse for sticking with unattractive or uncompetitive products, offered by providers which bank on our apathy.

Or, in the case of football clubs, our loyalty. They lure us in by promising that when we spend cash on our credit card, a contribution will be made to their youth development programme to discover the next Ashley Cole or go towards funding the new stadium. But the exact amount that is passed on for every spend remains something of a mystery.

Depending on the team you support, you can get pretty much any finance product you need. Manchester United, not surprisingly, offers the most sophisticated range of products, including insurance and mortgages. The rates aren't bad but they're not the best and they rely on the team thriving on the field to make them more attractive.

The "You win, we win" scheme gives reductions on insurance premiums or bonuses on savings to fans when the team does well. So this season's results won't be boosting fans' savings and investments.

Supporting a team is stressful enough without relying on its performance to boost your finances. It's a lot like gambling - and you shouldn't be doing that with your savings, investments or mortgage. By all means support your team, but leave it at that: tickets are expensive enough without committing all your finances to the club as well. The place to prove your support is from the stands - not with your wallet.

m.bien@independent.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £32,000+

    £18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

    £50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?