I went to an FA Cup match last night at a North West Counties League ground. Admission was up 20% since my last visit there only a short while ago. The week before I paid 8 quid to get in at the next 'step-up' at Evo Stik NPL Skelmersdale, this club also charged me 2 pounds for a programme that took less than 5 minutes to read (and most of this was blatant advertising for bathroom sealant).
I reckon Non League football is currently rising in price faster than the pumps at a BP Garage!
A lot of clubs are now raising admission charges anything between 15 to 30%.
Programmes are seeing 50% price hikes in some cases.
And don't get me going about single tea bags at Tea Huts.
I know clubs have to battle the recession and inflation the same as everybody else but why cane the ordinary person in the street who makes the effort and sets aside a bit of spare cash to pay through the turnstile? Lets be honest, a lot of people go to non-league because they simply cannot afford the pathetic inflated costs to watch League Football. I'm afraid some Non League clubs are starting out on the same road!
I recently attended 2 games in the Evo Stik NPL Division 1 North:
Skelmersdale v Mossley
Bamber Bridge v Clitheroe
If I include my overheads such as fuel as well as the increased prices at the ground these 2 non league games cost me over 60 quid!
Its simply too expensive.
I have a fear that attendances will drop significantly by the end of this season. An awful lot of people who enjoy going to a non league game for an affordable VALUE FOR MONEY cost will no longer be able to do it, especially if they are struggling to make ends meet and balance the books.
In a sporting world where spectators are normally ripped off as standard I always thought non league was different. That it treated its public with decency, understanding and respect, that this respect extended to reasonable pricing.
I fully understand that increased bills have to be paid and the clubs have little say in the bigger economic balls up. All I would ask is that when the clubs consider putting their prices up, whether if its at the gate, for a programme, even for a cup of tea, they do it with an understanding that the people who come and watch non league football are also having a bloody hard time (well, a lot of us are). By all means add a little onto the admission or the tea hut stuff etc but please make it less than 20, 25, 30% at a time!
Otherwise, I'm afraid some people will simply stop going. Not by choice....but because they (sadly) cannot afford it any longer.