A joint statement from Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace Supporter Trusts:
Pop open the champagne corks. Ring the Guinness Book of Records. It’s another record breaking achievement for the Premier League. No wonder it’s celebrated with such fervour. £835 million spent in a single transfer window. Doesn’t it leave with you with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside?
Oh wait, what? It doesn’t? You mean you won’t be celebrating? You don’t get a trophy for this? But why is everyone talking about it? Richard Scudamore said: “Economically we’ve got 20 of the world’s top 50 clubs now”? Surely that’s worth something?
Like us all, supporters around the country and across all leagues want their team to sign the best players. To win football matches. To win trophies. To see the best players win these trophies. It’s what football is about. Yet they won’t. Because increasingly, football is becoming unaffordable for many. More and more supporters face the choice – pay the extortionate prices or walk away from following their team.
As the headache from the summer spending begins to clear for many Chief Executives and billionaire club owners, and as millionaires wake up in a new city, supporters ask the same question – how can a game, rich with so much money, still be so greedy?
The greed is surely unquestionable. But for those who still aren’t sure, here are a few facts.
Supporters of Premier League clubs are meant to be grateful for the £200,000 set aside at each club for ‘Away Fan’s Initiatives’ whilst a record £835 million was spent on transfer fees alone this summer, never mind agent fees and wages. That’s a total of 0.48% of what was spent on another millionaire. It’s just 0.15% of the £2.7billion revenue clubs made in 2012/13 or 0.13% of the predicted £3.2billion in 2013/14. Worst still it is just 0.077% of the £5.218billion in a TV deal.
We could go on. But the facts are clear. More money than ever before is in football yet it still goes in through one bank account and out to top up others people’s already bulging bank balances. Supporters’ wallets remain empty. Supporters still find themselves getting nothing back. There is no ‘Best Transfer Fee’ trophy. No money back when a player is sold on. No real pride in new and increased sponsorship deals. Not even a token 1%.
It’s time that changed. We don’t need to tell the football authorities we are angry, they know we are. The politicians do too. They are failing to act. Those that pump money into football must realise the role they have to play. The TV broadcasters, the sponsors and the partners who want our custom must realise that it comes at a price.
So between now and the next transfer window, our challenge is simple – work with us, the supporters, the lifeblood of the game. Help us to make football more affordable for all supporters. Use that enormous wealth to make it fairer on the millions who make it the game that it is.
Spirit Of Shankly, Liverpool Supporters’ Union
Blue Union, Everton FC
Tottenham Hotspurs Supporters Trust
Foxes Trust, Leicester City FC
Aston Villa Supporters Trust
Crystal Palace Supporters Trust