THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Stoke crowd

Survey from Football Supporters’ Federation shows local fans feel alienated from top-flight clubs, with ticket prices still a concern

3 August ~ Two-thirds of fans think top-flight clubs are focusing too much on their global brand, while only one-third feels their club care about them and their views.

According to the biggest national survey of fans in five years by the Football Supporters’ Federation, 68 per cent said Premier League teams are concentrating too much on their worldwide profile, to the detriment of their local fanbase – despite the fact 51 per cent of fans surveyed live within 15 miles of the stadium.

Other findings from almost 8,500 respondents included 69 per cent of fans suggesting they started supporting their team because they was their local club and 78 per cent insisting it was important their club had local players representing them.

Ticket prices also remain a concern, with almost one-fifth saying they probably or definitely won’t be renewing their season ticket for the forthcoming season. Thirty-seven per cent said they were attending fewer games now than they used to, with expensive ticket costs being one of the most cited reasons (36 per cent) alongside work and family commitments (37 per cent).

There were some positive feelings towards the modern football-going experience, though. Fans think stadiums are more inclusive places to enjoy a game, with 75 per cent agreeing that grounds were more welcoming for ethnic minorities than ten years ago. That figure rose to 80 per cent among those who identified as being from a minority group.

Almost 80 per cent said they would be happy taking a young family to a match and more than half (55 per cent) would like to see more family zones, fanzones and activities outside stadiums.

Malcolm Clarke, chair of the FSF, said: “Fans understand that many clubs are now global brands. However, these results show that the majority of supporters think this can be to the detriment of local support.

“The survey also shows a worrying disconnect between clubs and fans. Thanks to social media football clubs have never before communicated with their fanbases so easily – yet the majority of fans do not think their clubs care about them.

“Supporters want their clubs to listen on other issues too, be that ticket prices, financial matters and safe standing. Clubs must commit to genuine engagement both online and in the real world via processes to which the Premier League and EFL have signed up.”

You can find out more information about the survey and FSF campaigns here

Photo by Paul Thompson/WSC Photos: A young Stoke fan watches their game against West Brom, 2016

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