Why the cost outraged supporters

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The Independent Online
PETER GARRETT Liverpool fan and co-founder of the Football Supporters' Association

"David Davies from the Football Association was on Radio Merseyside this morning claiming that the ticket prices were the same as last season, and saying that Everton fans were demanding more for their game at Elland Road.

But, if I remember rightly, the vast majority of their tickets then were for pounds 14. The scale of prices may have been the same this time, but I can tell you for a fact that Liverpool received only 424 at pounds 14, which is pathetic, and 1,580 at pounds 22. All the rest, the other 90 per cent, were for the two higher prices, pounds 30 and pounds 38.

Television is only there doing live coverage because it's an exciting spectacle. They're not going to be interested if the games are played in half-empty stadiums with no atmosphere. This is the kind of thing we've been telling the FA for 10 years, but their heads are stuck in the sand.

As for the final, the two clubs are getting a total of 51,000. Where are the other 29,000 going? To local FAs in Cornwall, Kenya and so on. In '89, after Hillsborough, the FA gave Liverpool and Everton 70 per cent of the allocation. We did a survey which showed that touting was reduced by 90 per cent."

DAVE WOODHALL

Editor of the Aston Villa fanzine 'Heroes & Villains'

"The ticket prices for Sunday were obscene. If you take into account the cost of programmes and official club transport - which Villa put up by pounds 5 to pounds 16.50 for Wembley the weekend before - a family of four following the Villa to the Coca-Cola final and to Old Trafford would've been forking out as much as pounds 500 in total.

Remember it was Villa's first FA semi-final for 36 years. Normally, people would have killed for tickets. But I believe there was a hidden agenda to hike up the prices. In the programme and the press the cheapest tickets were given as pounds 22. The pounds 14 ones didn't go on general sale.

I know season-ticket holders who didn't go. I paid pounds 22 for a seat stuck in a corner of the Stretford End, where the view was neither bad nor brilliant, and we stood throughout the match anyway. People started picking the games to miss because of the cost of football. Now they're picking the ones to go to, and that worries me.

"We handed out red cards on Sunday [published by the FSA] for people to send to Graham Kelly at the FA in protest at ticket prices."

SHEILA SPIERS

Liverpool supporter and national administrator of the FSA

"We wrote to the FA before the semi-finals to say that the prices were ludicrous, but we've had no reply yet. Their early publicity suggested that there would be 'something to suit everyone's pockets', but only 10 per cent of Liverpool's allocation were for the lower prices.

"There's a group of about 25 of us who meet before matches for a drink and a chat. This time only four of us were there. Some said it was too expensive, but there's a family of four I know who probably could afford the money but who felt they had better things to spend pounds 140 on.

"The problem goes deeper than one-off games. Although the Premier League have agreed to concessions for youngsters, they're virtually all in family areas. The little ones are happy to go with mum and dad, but someone of 13 going on his or her own has to pay the full price. These are the fans of tomorrow. I'm just worried that the whole middle-class bubble is going to burst.

VIC MILLWARD

Villa fan of 42 years

With prices of up to pounds 38, it's no wonder there were huge banks of empty seats. Once you saw those it detracted from the occasion. We've staged lots of semi-finals at Villa Park and normally the atmosphere is great with hardly an inch of space.

On Sunday I went for a pounds 22 ticket and five of us went in one car to save money. At Wembley against Leeds it cost me pounds 36 for the match ticket, and if you add pounds 5 for the programme, money for petrol, parking and for snacks, drinks or a meal, I reckon it cost me at least pounds 65."

Interviews: Phil Shaw

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