Football Supporters Federation praises Bolton Wanderers ticket initiative
WANDERERS have earned high praise from the Football Supporters Federation for reducing ticket prices across the board for the New Year’s Day game with Middlesbrough.
On Monday it was announced that home and away fans will be able to purchase seats for £15 (adults) and £5 (concessions) for the festive clash at the Reebok.
It followed a row between the two clubs a fortnight ago when Boro offered their own supporters a discounted entry of £12 to the Riverside for manager Aitor Karanka’s first home game in charge but forced away supporters to shell out £27.
Wanderers complained to the Football League and still took 859 supporters to Teesside but Boro were condemned by the FSF at the time for “not entering into the spirit” of fair pricing.
Unsurprisingly, the Whites decision to open up their January 1 offer to both sets of fans has been well received.
“I think it’s great credit to Bolton,” said Michael Brunskill of the FSF, “We’d like to see more clubs offering cheaper tickets for travelling supporters when this kind of local promotion comes along.
“We think the most loyal supporters in football are those who go away with their team. They are likely to come back if they are treated well and I’d hazard a guess that they spend more than the average home supporter too.
“Making football affordable is important and so efforts like this should be applauded.”
The FSF are championing a campaign entitled “Twenty is Plenty” which aims to encourage clubs to introduce a ceiling price for away tickets, or enter into reciprocal agreements.
But the reduction of prices has met with some criticism from some supporters, who say such offers affects the value of buying a season ticket each year.
The club have not commented officially on the matter but information has been made available to The Bolton News that shows season ticket holders will have saved between £242-288, depending on their seat, by the end of the campaign.
The figures, based on prices for the first 23 games, and including the New Year’s Day offer, show those in the North Stand Upper paid £329 for the full season but would have paid £621 on a match-by-match basis.
The gap is wider in the East/West Upper where a season ticket is £409 compared to £697.67 on a match-by-match basis.
“I think some people see someone getting cheaper tickets and feel a bit aggrieved but the critical thing for us is that over the course of the whole season that fans are offered best value with a season ticket,” he said.
“I don’t think it should stop clubs offering discounts on a local basis from time to time.”
Wanderers have not offered cut prices to non-season ticket holders since the Premier League days, but have offered discounts to Goldline or Lifeline members.
It is hoped the New Year offer can boost the attendance towards 20,000 mark for the first time since April – and it is set to be repeated for the FA Cup visit of Blackpool three days later.