Jamie Carragher has appealed to Premier League clubs to start looking after the fans more as clubs begin to prepare to face huge cash bonuses from the latest TV rights deal.
Carragher explained why he took part in the 77th minute walkout by Liverpool fans during Saturday’s game against Sunderland. Around 10,000 fans left Anfield in protest at the club raising top ticket prices to £77 next season.
The former centre-half wrote in his Daily Mail column: “People have said to me since I joined the walkout: ‘It’s OK for you on your big wages, that’s why the prices are so high.’ I was paid well, yes, but I was there for 17 years. In comparison to some of the other players who were in that squad, it was fair.”
Carragher has echoed the sentiments of many across the country, with the Football Supporters Federation calling for ticket prices to be capped at £20.
In the new Premier League TV deal, the rights for seasons 2016-19 were sold to Sky and BT Sport for £5.136bn. That’s over a £2bn increase on the £3.018bn raised from the last deal for 2013-16.
The FSF recently claimed to Loaded that, because of the new TV deal, clubs could afford to let in fans for free at every single Premier League game next season.
Alongside Liverpool, Arsenal fans have also spoken out against the ticket price increase. The Gunners were forced into backtracking their intention to charge an extra £30 to season ticket holders who attended the upcoming Barcelona game in the Champions League.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright fumed at Arsenal’s behaviour.
In his Sun column, Wright said: “Take Arsenal, the club I love with all my heart. Fans fork out for a season ticket, which supposedly gives access to the Champions League games.
“Then what happens? They draw Barcelona, someone decides to hike the prices £30 and the fans cop it once again. Don’t forget, for a long time they looked like going out at the group stage. Would the club then have given everyone a few quid back at potentially missing out on three or four knockout games?”
So far, only West Ham have said they will lower prices for next season. But the Hammers move into the 2012 Olympic Stadium next season, in a deal largely funded by the taxpayer.
Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran