WHAT is it about the price of pies and tea that football is so obsessed with?

They are always there, like two old stereotypes, when any survey is done on the cost of going to games.

I don't know about you but I've not had a pie at a game for 30 years and I've never had a cup of tea at one.

BBC Sport kept tradition alive, however, when they included them in their Price of Football Survey released yesterday.

It was almost as if they had to find something to include as there were only five things on the list.

One was actually relevant, the price of tickets, while replica shirts and the old faithful programmes made up the list.

Unfortunately, the second biggest cost of going to games wasn't included – travel, but hey ho.

The upshot of the survey was as predictable as the items compared, that it costs as much for a lad and his dad to go to the football as some small nations' total gross domestic product.

But it seems it's not like that for some people.

There is an army of people who have stopped going to Premier League games but still follow their team.

These fans no longer feel the adrenalin rush seeing and hearing the game live and the longer they go without experiencing it the less they need to.

They have become disenfranchised by ticket prices of £50-plus due to the arrival of a tidal wave of well-to-do new fans wishing to be a part of the trendy world of Premier League football.

And they have often had a bad experience on the odd occasion they decided to bite the bullet and pay the outrageous cost, having been stuck in the worst seats in the house.

These former ground-dwellers have changed the way they watch their team.

One hears tell of an alternative world where pubs show matches other than those televised by all the normal channels, beamed somehow via a Satellite someone found down the back of the sofa.

The venues don't appear to be overtly advertised but the phrase "where's it on?" can sometimes be heard in conversations between two blokes in a bar, which probably has something to do with it.

There would be a cost to watching football this way, of course, but if a lift can be secured from another member of the family and neither lad nor dad bothers with replica shirts it could be £10-£20 depending on how thirsty they are.

Further down the cost scale there are websites on which people are able to watch games from the comfort of their laptop.

There could potentially be thousands, millions of people out there glued to games in this way.

So what's the price of football in their alternative dark world of watching live football?

Transport: Walk to where you left the laptop; free.

Ticket price: Don't be silly; free.

What to wear: stay in your pyjamas, nobody's watching; free.

Programme: Get the team line-ups off Twitter an hour before the game; free.

Food: Go to the fridge and grab whatever grub your mum or wife bought at the big shop the day before; free.

Drink: See above but replace grub with beer, coke or, to give yourself that authentic football feeling, Bovril; free.

Total price of dark, alternative, not-sure-whether-legal-or-not world of watching football live: free.


Views from the sports desk

DAVID PYE: IT is a shame the Dutch will not be attending the Euro 2016 party in France next year.

Not only do they often light up tournaments with a stylish brand of football like we saw when they despatched Spain with ease in Brazil last year, but they also entertain off the field when regular in-house arguments derail their bid to win. I suppose we will now have to rely on the hosts for that next summer.

The draw takes place next month but we already know how it will pan out. Northern Ireland and Albania will be plucky losers, England will flatter to deceive again and Germany will win it – that is unless Iceland and Eidur Gudjohnsen can replicate Denmark in 1992.

ROBERT KELLY: HISTORY could be in the making this weekend at the Rugby World Cup.

Prolific try-scoring machine Bryan Habana could leap above Jonah Lomu as the competition's top scorer if he scores against Wales on Saturday.

While the thought of jumping over the colossus Lomu is unimaginable, there is no denying South African winger deserves to be up at the top but the debate will start over who was better.

Recognised as one of the fastest men in the sport has been one of the most dangerous finishers but after meeting and growing up watching Lomu I think but for his career being cut short due to a kidney problem he would still have been untouchable and that is not just because of his playing style.

CRAIG NELSON: RORY McIlroy picked a bad year to lose his golden touch.

Should he have added another major title to his trophy cabinet the talented Ulsterman would have been the darling of this year’s Sport Personality of the Year Awards, which will be held in Belfast.

Tickets for the flagship show sold out in just 35 minutes yesterday, a record since the BBC decided to take the show on the road in 2006.

The passionate local crowd should at least have plenty to cheer about in the team competition, with the Northern Ireland football team and Ireland rugby side both in with a decent shout.