Time For Aston Villa to Take Bolder Approach on Away Ticket Prices

Swans Dive in Price

Swansea City have announced that they will subsidise all away tickets for Swans fans in the 2015/16 season. Adult tickets will be capped at £22, concessions at £15 and kids at £10. The club estimate it will save travelling Swansea fans around £300,000, costing Swansea fans £418 at most for all 19 away games.

Swansea have very much led the way in arranging reciprocal deals with other clubs (including Villa) over the past couple of seasons, and their ‘True to 22’ initiative mirrors the Football Supporter Federation’s ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ campaign (which My Old Man Said fully supports), which aims to make all away adult tickets in the Premier League £20.

Regarding the club’s ethos on away tickets, Swansea City Vice-Chairman Leigh Dineen said: “We worked hard on reducing away ticket prices for our supporters last season through reciprocal deals with other clubs. Unfortunately, we were unable to finalise deals with all the clubs for different reasons.

“Therefore, while we introduced other away fan benefits, we felt it would be more beneficial to our supporters if we took the step of guaranteeing them cheaper tickets for all our away games, whether there was a reciprocal deal in place or not.”

Villa Mindset

Two seasons ago the Premier League had instructed all Premier League clubs to put aside a pot of £200,000 to use to help aid away fans. Aston Villa’s mindset has been to use the fund to increase away attendances rather than the simple notion of assisting fans with the expense of going to away matches.

So far, over the last two seasons, Villa have used the 200k to cover a mixture of reciprocal deals, free coach travel and ‘Villa Cash’ rebates. One criticism from some Villa supporter groups has been the club covering their profit margins in the 200k when offering their free coach schemes.

The most democratic way of helping Villa’s away fans is to follow Swansea’s lead and direct it all towards the ticket price. It’s clean cut and avoids the club doing any creative accounting with the 200k. Villa’s CEO Tom Fox suggested in the last AVST AGM meeting that the blanket £20 away ticket price was something of an unrealistic pipe dream while home tickets remain £40 to £50, but Swansea City have clearly proven it isn’t.

FSF chief executive Kevin Miles said: “The news that Swansea will cap away ticket prices for their travelling fans is extremely welcome. It’s pleasing to see that they’re recognising the importance of their away support.”

“It’s a huge boost for the Twenty’s Plenty campaign and we’d encourage other Premier League clubs to take note.”

With clubs being privy to the riches from the new TV deal in the 2016/17 season, it would be just a drop in the ocean as a gesture to fans for Villa to follow Swansea’s lead (Read about it in the context of Arsenal).

It’s time for the club to approach away ticket initiatives with a bit more heart, rather than simply as accountants.

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