Beat around the Bush
WHEN I wrote my last article two weeks into the new season, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d still be writing about Rangers being top at the end of September, with a record that can only be described as, well, remarkable.
Having learnt not to get carried away after some astonishing early performances last season – only to end up as a laughing stock – I must admit that, after the start we’ve made, I’m finding it very hard not to.
On the other hand, I’ve always been told to look forward, so let’s assume we do actually reach the promised land of the Premier League – albeit a much different one to the last time we were there, in my opinion.
Why do we actually want to get there? What is the attraction?
From a fan’s point of view, we’ll get to see ‘quality’ matches, on Saturday lunchtimes, Saturday afternoons, Saturday evenings, Sunday lunchtimes, Sunday afternoons, and evening matches on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Do we want this variety of days and times?
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We can, of course, expect increased admission prices. I spoke to somebody ‘in the know’ before the Doncaster game, who reliably informed me that should we achieve promotion, ticket prices would start at �38, going up to �60.
I’ve no reason to disbelieve that and frankly expect it.
Do I want to pay this sort of money, though, to watch the likes of Stoke in front of 14,000 people? Let’s face it, we’re not going to fill our ground for every game.
The good news is, we’ll be on Match Of The Day and can listen to ‘expert’ analysis from Messrs Lineker, Hansen and Shearer instead of the usually misinformed punters on the Football League show in the early hours of Sunday morning.
And we may even get more than two minutes’ coverage. We may even get coverage on Andy Gray’s Final Word on a Sunday evening and commentary on Sky’s Soccer Special for when we can’t afford to get into Craven Cottage.
Of course, the answer to the questions is yes – of course we want to reach the top flight of English football, but I do fear that the way the Premier League is set up now – geared totally around TV coverage – will alienate a number of fans, who for the past 15 years or so have generally geared themselves towards attending Saturday afternoon and Tuesday or Wednesday evening games. Then of course we have the problem of how we’re going to afford it?
We’ll have plenty of big tests on and off the field once we reach the dizzy heights of the Premier League, but bring it on I say!
Oh hang on – reality check – we’re not there yet.