MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Exiles tickets too pricey? I told you so
9:00am Tuesday 13th November 2012 in Sport
LET us rewind back to the summer of sporting glory, when the new football season was someway in the distance and this journalist wrote a story about Newport County ticket prices.
The move to Rodney Parade had galvanised us all and when I pointed out that the cheapest Manchester City season tickets were less expensive than some at County, people sneered and called me lots of names my mother wouldn’t have appreciated.
C’est la vie, them’s the breaks when you do my job, but I was adamant then it was a very valid story, as it is today.
The main criticism seemed to be that I didn’t include all the prices for Man City and do a total breakdown, totally ignoring the fact there is NO COMPARISON between paying to watch the Premier League champions and the team that finished 17th in division five.
Would you expect me to do a price breakdown if Crumlin RFC were charging more than the Newport Gwent Dragons? Or just think that’s absolutely ridiculous.
Fast forward to the start of November and despite it being one of the most stacked Conferences ever in terms of the stature of the clubs, Newport County find themselves top of the pile, dreaming of the Football League.
Yet their biggest and best win of the season last Tuesday, a thumping 6-2 destruction of Cambridge United, was watched by less than 1,800 people, less than were watching the end of the procession when County got promoted from division six.
And when I dared to suggest the crowd was disappointing, many, many people contacted me on Twitter or wrote on the messageboard that the reason they weren’t at the game was that they couldn’t afford to be.
That is an extremely valid reason to not be there and a very valid reason why we were right to point out the folly of the County ticket prices last summer.
Simply put, it’s too expensive to go and see the Exiles and it is something that badly needs reviewing next season.
It’s time County took the Premier League model. You build up a hardcore following who will go to every single home game – County’s is about 1,400, though earlier this season we hoped it had grown – and then, when they’ve become accustomed to going every week, THEN you start overcharging them and taking their loyalty for granted! And I’m only half joking… Can I defend the indefensible? Namely the County defence… Yes I can.
I’m really in mind to say ‘crisis, what crisis’, baring in mind the gnashing of teeth and knee-jerking going on at the moment with some fans.
Apparently Justin Edinburgh doesn’t know what he’s doing because he won’t sign a defender, even though he is signing a defender and that being despite the fact the transfer window is closed.
The Exiles ‘can’t defend’ and were ‘pathetic’ to lose to Alfreton, having conceded 15 goals in four games.
Never mind that they scored the same amount. Never mind they are top of the league and looking like a side who can contend all season.
If ever there was proof of how negative some fans can be, the current criticism seems a great point in case.
I can’t begin to imagine how things will get if/when the Exiles are no longer top of the league.