West Brom manager Tony Pulis has joined calls to reduce the cost of attending top-flight football, urging Premier League clubs to charge away supporters no more than £10 per ticket.
Pulis said teams should stop “milking, milking, milking” fans and, drawing comparisons with the Bundesliga, argued that incentivising supporters to travel to games would generate better atmospheres.
The Stoke manager’s comments come amid heightened debate over ticket prices as England’s leading sides prepare to share in another television rights windfall later this year.
“With all the money coming in, I’d love to see that atmosphere come back. I’d love away supporters to only pay £10 a ticket. Whatever ground you go to, make it £10,” said Pulis.
“You can give 5-6,000 tickets to the away support, they’d sell them and we’d get back to the atmospheres we used to have. That’s one thing the Germans have got over us at the moment: every ground you go to the atmosphere is absolutely fantastic.
“Clubs are getting enough money to subsidise and help the public. We’ve got to do more to keep the youngsters involved. This is the greatest football nation in the world. We produce great players because of our systems, but we’ve got to make sure we’re not milking, milking and milking. We’ve got to give something back.”
Liverpool, ranked ninth in Deloitte’s latest rich list, this week scrapped plans to increase prices next season after thousands of fans staged a walkout during Saturday’s home match against Sunderland.
Arsenal, who generate a world-leading £100m per season from matchday operations, were also pressured into a climbdown over a planned surcharge to season-ticket holders after the move provoked outcry.
Despite calls for cheaper tickets, more than 95 per cent of seats at Premier League matches were sold last season, an increase on the previous year’s record figure.
The Football Supporters’ Federation this month criticised clubs after they voted against capping the price of away tickets. Improved TV contracts set to take effect next season will increase payouts to top-flight clubs to a minimum £100m, up from around £60m currently.