In the months before the arrival of an obscenely large TV deal to boost the already-inflated bank accounts of Premier League clubs, you’d think that fans and those with long and arduous associations with said cash-rich institutions.
Instead, however, we are continuing to be taught an economics lesson the hard way: making the rich richer doesn’t seem to create the ‘trickle-down’ wealth that some might have you believe.
As the Premier League gets richer, the gap between the haves and have-nots grows larger, that much is obvious. The gap between the Football League and the Premier League will surely rise, that’s to be lamented, but it looks unavoidable at this point.
What can be argued, however, is that fans shouldn’t suffer financially for the greed at the top of their clubs. The success of Liverpool fans in walking out of Anfield in the 77th minute of their game against Sunderland in protest at the rise in ticket prices has spawned a similar movement at another disenfranchised club.
This time, it’s the turn of Aston Villa fans to plan a walk out in their masses.
It’s a different story, of course. As reported in the Birmingham Mail, this not a protest at ticket prices, or a specific issue as such. Rather the fans feel their club has been mismanaged, a structure has been put in place that is failing to the tune of almost-certain relegation – relegation that will, as they point out, threaten the jobs of ‘security and tea ladies, ticket staff and boot boys alike’.
On the back of the successful walk-out staged by Liverpool fans, Villa fans have been convinced by the prospect of greater fan power and are planning to walk out themselves on the 74th minute of their home games against Everton, Tottenham and Chelsea.
Ironically enough, Villa’s impending relegation (barring a miracle, of course – closing an eight point gap isn’t totally out of reach, but Villa’s form this season hasn’t suggested that they might be capable of that kind of comeback) would freeze them out of the new TV money which starts next season. With the mess the club seems to be in at the moment – and this new protest is just one more example of their terrible state – it won’t be an easy job to bring the team back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Football clubs are about more than just the players and on-the-pitch success, as the campaign points out, they are also about the people who don’t earn staggering wages – another recent campaign has been trying to force the club to pay its staff the ‘living wage’ of £8.25 per hour – as well as being about the fans and the community.
Whether or not you agree with the walk out, surely we all agree that the fans and the people who make Aston Villa tick on a day-to-day basis deserve better than what they’re getting at the moment.