Following Saints fantastic season culminating in promotion to the Premier League, returning for the first time since 2005, there has been much celebration throughout the city. However is PL footy all it’s cracked up to be?
For a start there’s ticket prices. A concession season ticket for the forthcoming season in the cheapest (non family section) area costs a whopping £525, working out at £27.63 per game. Oof. With most games expected to sell out there will be unlikely to be any student deals through SUSU so if you’re planning on fulfilling your live football fix then your pockets will have to get even deeper. In comparison a season ticket at Eastleigh next season costs £69 for a student, which works out at only £3 per game! You might be wary of dropping down to league to watch grassroots footy but it’s actually very satisfying…
One of the fantastic things about League 1 and League 2 was the fact that the opposition fans generally knew what they were talking about. You don’t get any glory hunters following Bury, Tranmere or Barnsley. Fans go to games and don’t give it the biggun as armchair fans like many top PL club’s fans do. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of fans who know their stuff and are loyal to their clubs. However the number of so-called ‘fans’ who have never been to watch their team, couldn’t name more that a handful of players of ‘their’ team and yet love boasting about how good ‘they’ are frustrates me no end and it is certainly something I won’t be looking forward to next year – being lectured by a Liverpool fan from Kent who has never ventured further north than Birmingham about why Saints are going to get relegated.
Which leads me on to my next point. Having risen through League One and the Championship with consecutive promotions, Saints and the fans have got used to that winning feeling, and next season will most likely be a reality check; god knows what the odds on a third consecutive 2nd place finish are. With a mid table finish a result even the most optimistic of fans would be delighted with it will be a tough season paying inflated prices to most likely watch Saints being crushed by the likes of high spending Manchester City.
And my next gripe – mercenaries. Those players only in it for the money, who couldn’t care less about the fans, the club or their teammates as long as their getting their nice fat paypacket. Saints currently have a good squad of players with very few egos who gel well as a team, and an ego on significantly higher wages coming in could upset this balance. Unfortunately when moving up to the Premier League it is difficult to improve the quality of the squad sufficiently without adding the higher calibre of players who often come with the problems. Have faith in Nigel however; team spirit is massively important to him so don’t expect any old journeyman to be brought in unless they are truly something special.
And my final dislike; Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson. This doesn’t really need any explanation. On the plus side at least he’s not as dislikable as his son Darren, manager of Peterborough.
Having spouted all this it should be cleared up there are so many advantages to being in the Premiership; playing at the highest level of English football and in arguably the best league in the world gives better opportunities to bring in higher quality players and the chance to compete in European football.
And of course the big event Saints fans will be looking forward to. The return of Harry Redknapp to St Marys. ‘Arry left in acrimonious circumstances to take over Portsmouth, declaring Fratton Park his “spiritual home” after leading Saints to relegation and the second tier for the first time in 27 years.