A TICKET for the long-awaited Steel City derby at Hillsborough later this month will cost Sheffield United fans £42, prompting accusations of a blatant rip-off by their rivals.
Sheffield Wednesday have made 2,337 tickets available to Blades supporters for the first meeting between the clubs since February 2012 at Hillsborough which is being televised live by Sky on Sunday, September 24, kick-off 1.15pm.
They go on sale from September 11. Concessions to Under-21s and those who are 65 or over cost £32. Under 17s will pay £17 and Under 11s £10.
Blades supporter Matt Bralsford summed up the reaction on Twitter, posting: “Stuck between head and heart, do I really want £42 of my hard earned wonga to be spent on a football match.” He added: “Enough is enough #twentyisplenty for any game of football.” Fellow Blade David McKenzie wrote: “£42 for a Championship game. Disgraceful price setting, surely time for a cap on prices?”
Dean Ward called on fans to vote with their feet and stay away, which, of course, is never going to happen. “Blades should boycott Hillsborough. Put big screen up at Lane, charge a tenner and make a stand.”
On the message boards Highfield Blade wrote: “£42? Even Dick Turpin wore a mask!” Another post agreed that the pricing was “disgraceful, but added: “They could double the price and we’d still sell our allocation.”
Wednesday’s pricing policy is no better for their fans who are not season ticket holders or part of a controversial membership scheme. The most expensive ticket is £49 in the South Stand. Owls supporters sitting in the North Stand will have to stump up £45 and those on the Kop, like Blades in the opposing Leppings Lane end, pay £42.
Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chasiri was inundated with criticism from his club’s supporters after announcing a sharp price increase in all areas of the ground in the summer of 2015. He defended the decision by saying it reflected the cost of the club’s on-going ambition to reach the Premier League.
Hiking matchday pricing was designed to encourage supporters to pay their money up front to buy season tickets or join the membership scheme which Thai businessman Chansiri claimed “represents excellent value across all age groups”.
The Premier League agreed to cap ticket prices for away fans at £30 for three seasons, beginning in 2016-17. Newly relegated Aston Villa were the first visitors to Hillsborough paying £42 in the Leppings Lane end – a match which was also televised on Sky – and their supporters voiced outrage at the time.
"It's an absolute farce and its absolutely ridiculous that they expect away fans to pay £42 for a game that's on Sky and in the Championship," said Matt Lynch, from website The Villa View. "The reason why so many fans have got an issue with this is that all teams in the Premier League agreed to cap tickets for away fans.”
Not all clubs are on the make. Championship Ipswich Town made an offer this season to put a £25 price cap for visiting fans to Portman Road if their clubs offer the same to travelling Tractor Boys.
At Huddersfield, promoted to the Premier League, the cheapest season ticket is just £199 which went on sale before their fate was sealed. Even after a place in the top flight was confirmed that rose to just £299. Club owner Dean Hoyle has also kept a promise made in 2010 to 4,500 long-standing Terriers fans that if the club ever reached the Premier League they would pay just £100 for season tickets.
The most expensive seat for home supporters at Bramall Lane for a category A match, the top price band, is £36 (60s and over £29, young adult/student £24). For a category B fixture that’s reduced to £26, £19 and £16. Wolves fans visiting the Lane this month for what has been designated a category A fixture, will be charged £27. Sixties and over pay £21, students and 18-21s just £16 and Under 18s £14.