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Chelsea Fans Voice Concerns Over Ticket Prices

Thu 20th Nov 2014 | Money & Finance

High ticket prices and a lack of atmosphere could be rectified by the  introduction of Safe-Standing areas at Stamford Bridge, according to the findings of a survey conducted by the club’s supporters trust CST (Chelsea Supporters Trust).

The second ‘independent’ survey of Chelsea supporters was conducted during July and August 2014 and was designed with the aim of identifying the issues that Chelsea supporters care about.

Supporters raised concerns over the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, which Manager Jose Mourinho, likened to playing and an ‘empty stadium’, with members believing that the best solution would be the introduction of Safe Standing and a reduction in overzealous stewarding

There is also a desire for more affordable ticket pricing especially for younger supporters. The BBC’s Price of Football survey conducted in October this year (2014) found that Chelsea’s cheapest season ticket was £750 (an increase of £155 on 2013) and that their cheapest matchday ticket was £50.

Tim Rolls, Chair of the Chelsea Supporters Trust commented, "The results of the second CST members survey reinforce the view of the board that there are a couple of fundamental issues the club need to address as a matter of urgency.

“The recent publicity following the manager's comments about the lack of atmosphere at Stamford Bridge led to a healthy debate about the reasons for this.  

“The need for more affordable ticketing for young supporters, the desire for Safe Standing to be introduced and concerns about over-zealous stewarding are all are highlighted as significant member concerns in the survey results, and support the CST board view on these matters.

“Overall the 2014 results reflect more favourably on the club than those from 2013.  We believe that is justified in terms of on-field performance, the replacement of Rafa Benitez as manager with Jose Mourinho and club initiatives like regular away travel subsidies."

A summary of the key issues brought up in the survey reveals:

Atmosphere at home continues to be a major concern for supporters (and the manager!). The CST campaign for safe standing last season has put this in the forefront of supporters’ minds with this being the most frequent suggestion for improving the ambience at Stamford Bridge. As well as ticket pricing, particularly for younger supporters, many CST members believe that overzealous stewarding is also a major cause of the problem.

As for the previous survey (conducted in season 2012/13), membership of the Trust consider the current price of tickets to be a barrier to the involvement and enjoyment of following Chelsea on several different levels: in particular the aging demographic of current support and the lack of atmosphere. Participants in the survey believe that extending the age range for youth concessionary tickets (as many other clubs have done) and also increasing availability of these would go a long way to resolve these issues.

Approval of Club administration and on-field performance is markedly improved compared to last season. Doubtless the re-appointment of Jose Mourinho has influenced this, but supporters also acknowledge the benefits the Club have provided in the form of subsidised away travel and tickets (spending a great deal more than the monies provided by the Premier League from the new TV deal) and the setting up of a not-for-profit in-house ticket exchange to replace the much disliked Viagogo.

Image: Action Images / Henry Browne

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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