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

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

    £16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

    SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones