What’s the big problem at Cardiff?

If you live in Wales and tuned into Capital FM Wales over the weekend you will no doubt have at some point heard Cardiff City‘s advert on the radio for Tuesday night’s game against Ipswich.

It was billed as a vital promotion clash, one for the whole family to behold, an unmissable event that will leave you reeling with football delight (or something along those lines, it isn’t a direct quote). Tickets were priced at a reasonable rate with £40 for a family pass, making it quite an affordable trip.

What really stands out from all this? Surely such an exciting promotion clash between two massive teams would not need to be advertised, it would have been sold out weeks ago, right?  Why are they struggling to fill the stadium for such an important game? Is it the fact that it is a mid-week game, and perhaps after work people would prefer to relax at home and watch it from there rather than make their way to a football stadium in the cold and dark?

This is not the first advert for Cardiff City tickets on the radio and it will not be the last either, and they are not the only club doing so. There have been a few ex-Premiership clubs that have had to advertise in the local press and media to try and sell tickets.

Fulham for example, regularly plugging ties in the Evening Standard and the Metro that they cannot seem to sell out since their drop from the top flight.

What is it about relegation that puts fans off attending games? The Championship is a very exciting league indeed, and the football on offer is of a very high and competitive standard. Ticket prices are on the whole a lot lower than those in the Premiership, less games are shown on television therefore make it more of an urgency to go and see the team live as your options to do it from home are limited. So surely there should be even more people buying tickets and the stadium would sell out quicker than average.

Could it be that the likes of Cardiff only sold out their stadium last season due to so called glory hunting fans who wanted to see the ‘bigger boys’ of football and find that their team is not worth supporting against ‘lesser’ opposition? It could be argued that some Cardiff fans still have a bad taste in their mouth thanks to owner Vincent Tan’s silly antics in changing the club’s colours, his flamboyance in the transfer market and his poor management of his managers. Then again they had a chance to do that last season while they were in the Premiership and they didn’t stay away then.

Are Fulham fans protesting against how quickly they have slipped from the top flight to struggling to even stay in the Championship? Is it a protest against the really poor football on display at Craven Cottage these days? True fans follow their team regardless of how good or poor their fortunes are, or what league they are in.

Yes, football is becoming less and less affordable lately for fans – especially in top flight football – but in the Championship, even though prices are still quite high, following your team is a lot more affordable than it is in the top tier of English football. It just does not make any sense and the only viable explanation based on evidence points to ‘plastic fans’ or ‘glory hunters’ who only seem to really care when the team is doing well.