Taken at face value, it is all too easy to dismiss Tim Farron’s suggestion that football fans “send a message” to ever-pricier Premier League clubs by going to watch local, lower-league games instead.
Not that the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale (and lifelong supporter of recently relegated Blackburn Rovers) doesn’t have a point: top clubs’ ticket prices are indeed exorbitant, and hikes of 12 per cent over the past year are unjustifiable. There is also much to be said for a boost to the community game.
Back in the real world, it is hard to imagine many being persuaded to abandon their favourite team, fewer still trading them in for a match at Accrington Stanley (npower League 2). Fulminations against the exploitation of supporters’ “addiction” also lose their punch when set against the vast cost of players. Look closer, though, and there may be glimmers of method in Mr Farron’s madness. He is, after all, the president of the Liberal Democrats, and they, surely, are the political equivalent of Accrington. Perhaps his Early Day Motion is less of a message to Chelsea et al, then, and more of a general hint about backing the underdog.