Often Partisan

Ticketing and Prices

There has been a lot of continued debate about tickets, attendances and pricing at St Andrews over the last few days and whilst I know it’s an emotive subject I thought I would touch upon ticketing and low attendances for today’s piece. Before I go any further I think that I should reaffirm that I’m not speaking for everyone – I’m only giving my opinion – and that I think it’s important to remember that a person’s individual choice re going to the games is just that – their own individual choice and thus their decision alone.

In the seventeen years since Birmingham City were promoted back to the second tier under Barry Fry they have played three hundred and sixty-five home league games. Saturday’s attendance against Peterborough was 14,929 and in that list ranks 357th. As attendances go it was the lowest for a home league game since November 1997 and presents a worrying development as Blues look to continue sailing on a financial even keel.

There have been many reasons given for the dip in attendance – high prices, the higher matchday price compared to buying a ticket in advance and the quality of football on offer. With this in mind I’ve done what research I can into the objective facts to try to see if there is justification for the prices charged and to try to give a balanced viewpoint.

There has been much debate about the higher prices for tickets bought on matchday as opposed to in advance. Many people see this is financially penalising those who turn up on spec or have no access to ticketing prior to midweek. It’s my understanding that the club sees the price charged on matchday as the full price for the game and that the prices charged for buying tickets in advance are a discount to encourage people to purchase their tickets early as it’s easier for the club to deal with people who have bought their tickets prior to the match than dealing with several thousand turning up on spec at 2:45.The situation hasn’t been helped by the “print @ home” service not working but again, it’s my understanding that this will be back in action this week and was a problem with Ticketmaster rather than BCFC.

I’ve looked through various sites online to look at buying tickets for the twelve Championship games on the weekend of 14/15/16 September. What I’ve found is that two other clubs (Bristol City and Nottingham Forest) have ticketing prices which are discounted prior to matchday and that one (Cardiff City) has a dynamic pricing system whereby the more tickets are sold the more the price goes up.

What I’ve also found is that the pricing for Blues is pretty much indicative of how much Championship football costs to watch. The lowest price I found for a game was for Charlton, who are charging £20 for the match against Crystal Palace on Friday 14 September (as it is on Sky) and that the bulk of prices are between £25 to £28. I’ve tried to compare like with like – so I’ve looked at tickets behind the goal in what would be the Tilton at St Andrews. This would show that Birmingham City have not been unreasonable in their pricing; indeed the game against Barnsley on 22 September is £23 in the Tilton which will be discounted to £18 if the ticket is bought before the matchday which would compare favourably with every match on the next Championship weekend

People might still argue that those prices are too high but the club (like the other 23 ) now have their hands tied. They have to submit their pricing structure to the Football League prior to the start of the season and then stick to it; they’re only allowed a small number of “special offers” and thus the prices on offer will largely stay the same all season. I know people would love pricing to be dropped to £20/£10/£5 but the fact is it’s not going to happen.

The simple fact is, for what it is football is expensive. It’s not as expensive as it used to be – I can remember Man U fans moaning that we were charging them just shy of £50 for a Premier League game against them – but if compared to other leisure activities it’s not the best value for money. The simple reason for that is because football is an expensive game – in a sport where a player can pick up 50k per week even in the Championship that money must come from somewhere.

The way I see it, people are having to tighten their belts because right now things aren’t great in the economy. With lower disposable incomes people are having to be picky about what they spend their spare cash on and the bald fact is that football is increasingly becoming a lower priority for many. I don’t think the standard of football comes into it – I can’t personally remember Blues ever playing like Barcelona or Brazil and I’ve always heard moans about the quality of football not being good enough. However, it is easier than ever to watch football via internet or TV and it’s changed the way we consume the sport – why sit in a cold wet stadium when you can sit in the warmth of your home or the local pub?

The truth is I don’t have any easy answers to help the club bring attendances back up other than for the team to win games. I don’t think the performance is the issue – I think the more wins a team picks up the more fans that will want to watch them. However, that is beyond the control of me and beyond the control of the ticketing staff. In the mean time, I think we’re going to have grin and bear the fact that St Andrews isn’t as popular as it once was.

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76 Responses to “Ticketing and Prices”

  • Magp says:

    Personally, I think football has also suffered from the example of the Olympics.

    Dedicated professionals, warm crowds cheering on the opposition, a sense of fair play etc.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I love the blues and going to the games etc and I’m not singling out the blue boys either, it’s a general point about football. The spirit of the game rarely compares to what was witnessed during those Olympic weeks.


    • almajir says:

      Sorry, but I think that’s massive cliché.

      What about all the drug-taking, cheating and whatnot that goes on in the Olympics?

      • mighty_bluenose says:

        Of course none of that happens in football :-)

      • Grim says:

        Completely agree. The olympics are entirely separate from football, with probably just as many unsavoury characters, and what people seem to forget is that 95%+ of footballers are just your normal guy, who work hard at their job, but just have a job that pays a hell of a lot more than we get.

        The true test will be whether the attendances and support of athletics last longer than the end of the year. My guess is it won’t.

      • John says:

        Also the Olympics cost me money,through taxation,even though i never went to any of the events. If i don’t go to a football game,it dosen’t cost me anything !

      • krotom says:

        and this does not happen in football of course?
        ex season ticket holder fed up with disloyal players poorly managed club and poorly managed team.

        Now going to watch Moseley or Worcester play rugby, players dont hide from the fans, are paid a sensible wage and fans talk to each other whilst having a beer watching the game non of the mindless inane chanting about the Villa or CY and the Worcester ground great to watch Rugby from.

    • chris says:

      how many people who glorified themselves going to the olympics have actually been to a major track meeting in this country. 5 % or less i guess.
      any British world top 8 or olympic medalist can earn up to around £135000 inc sponsorship and meeting winnings, which i’d say is Championship level.
      The one point i think they do win on is their lifestyles which put’s football scum to shame with their late nights out, fighting, smoking and drunkeness. It’s a shame the FA don’t enforce some kind of code with heavy fines for not living a lifestyle to give your best for the sport.

      • almajir says:

        Thing is mate, footballers lives get publicised.

        Athletes don’t.

        I would hesitiate to say that athletes are all saints and don’t get up to mischief “like what footballers do”.

    • suenoble says:

      maybe so, but they had 70000 mugs, i mean volunteers at the olympics. Blues have to pay stewards, police, caterers etc etc. funny how we get 50000 blues fans who dont give a monkeys about cost when we get to a major final at 50 quid a pop, but when we get peterborough at home only 15000 manage to buy a ticket which means 35000 have suddenly hit hard times. Sorry i’m not having it,

      • bluemaximus says:

        I agree with what you are saying Sue. Truman fans moaning about Wembley tickets when they haven’t been to any games disgust me. But you have to look at the financial side of your argument and its totally flawed. Wembley showcases are one offs, some might say its a once in a lifetime opportunity. Its morally wrong, but fact. St Andrews is a place where you can visit every 2 weeks, if the change in your pocket allows it.

  • Bluemat says:

    Whether we like it or not we have the fickle fans here that are at any club. For me the performances/results haven’t helped one bit, im a season tickert holder and for me personally i like to see a performance from the team beacuse i like to think i appreciate football. Dont get me wrong i love a backs to the wall 1-0 wins also but perhaps we were spoilt by the football that we saw last season. Im not impressed by clark, i hear on the grapevine through certain people that nor are alot of the people at the training ground. Obviously thats up for speculation. Other fans a rightly saying that we started poorly under hughton, i agree. But there was promise in the play, you could see there was a pattern forming it just wasnt clicking, it was a case of a manager and players looking to gell together. His style of play was consistent just like the way he set his team out. Clark is basically the polar opposite, as i said maybe im falling into the over expectation category. I feel something is fundamentally wrong under clark but that doesnt stop my support for the team and the club. KRO!

    • RichardW says:

      I think we should give Clark a chance. He’s had stick for his post-match demeanour but I like to see a man hurt by defeat – not offering excuses like McLeish etc. I like the way the first we hear about incoming players is when they have signed – did anybody see Lita coming ? Early days !!

      • Bluemat says:

        I can understand what you are saying but there is so little organisation on the pitch its worrying. Clark has had a decent amount of time with the players, brought in decent players who look a shadow of their formerself not only that the players from last season that played so well also look bewildered. If it was 1 or 2 players that were off key then without doubt id say its just a period that requires bedding in but when the whole team are at it, it makes you wonder. I dont think clark helps himself changing the formation 3/4 times a game either. His post match comments and demeanor is off someone that cant believe how the team are performing so somewhere in the team talk hes not getting his message across to the players. its early, agreed but its alarming aswel. but we’ll be there, no need to abandon ship just yet. haha KRO!

  • Oldbluenose says:

    almajir, I thought your piece today, was a well constructed and balanced article indeed, !!.

    As you point out,!!. there are many factors why the crowds are lower, [ I will not repeat them ] as you have itemised them thoroughly already,

    Where or what will make the changes to increase the crowd levels, — Time will tell,!!.

  • Trevor Honnor says:

    Your point about the prices being ‘discounted’ before match day and ‘full price’ on match days makes it a little easier to understand.

    I’m not sure that this has been advertised as well as it could have been. Or perhaps I’ve been reading too much on Twitter about fans complaining about ‘price hikes’ on match days.

    I am happier for reading this blog that Blues are offering a genuine discount on ticket prices if you book them early and simply zero discount on match days.

    • chris says:

      Depends on your point of view, it’s not a zero discount on match days, it’s a price increase.
      How can you charge £32 for the tilton against poxy charlton, that is an increase from £27.
      Blues ain’t an airline or train company who know they sell out on certain routes at certain times of the day and can use this system.
      Blues haven’t sold out at 29500 (mainly due to security reasons) since 2007 so how they can use this system i don’t know.
      It would be interesting to know the average for fans paying on the day last year compared to the games so far.
      To me it’s just another hurdle to buying a ticket, the more hurdles the less fans will bother and obviously the club don’t want to make any money on a Saturday???
      A few years ago we had no cash turnstiles for match days and fans used to complain about this lack of facility for fans who couldn’t make a decision to go till the day. Now the club change it to make it harder / expensive, then why not just close the cash turnstiles and just say screw those fans.
      Instead, you can take your whole family (2+2) to the cinema for £30, without having to pre-book, or go to the Speedway for £32 etc etc.
      Different owners, but the same ‘let’s milk the fans’ attitude as the last lot.

      • almajir says:

        Disagree entirely Chris.

        You’re seeing it as a penalty when it isn’t – the match price is the price they charge on matchdays. However, the club don’t want people to buy tickets on match days – which is understandable in my view because with only 7 ticket windows and a couple of cash turnstiles the last thing you need is a few thousand fans turning up fifteen minutes before kick off.

        It’s nothing to do with how many tickets are available, it’s more to do with there only being a finite amount of time to sell tickets on a matchday and queues cause problems because people get lairy when they miss kick off due to being held up waiting to get in … more so when there is alcohol involved. The more who turn up on spec the worse it gets… and the more money has to be spent to ensure everyone is served quickly to get them in before kick off. The days of being able to turn up at 2:50, and pay on the gate and get in are long gone unfortunately.

        As for what you say about the cinema, re-read my point I’ve made in the article and to BromsgroveBlue in the comments. It’s not just Blues – football is expensive, period. It’s the way it is.

        • bluemaximus says:

          The fact remains Almajir, this current system is a deterrent for supporters wishing to pay their money and support their club. From what I see, the clubs attitude is book early, or dont bother coming at all, because its too much of a pain in the tits sorting you all out on matchday!

          • almajir says:

            Okay, I hear you.

            So instead of £18 beforehand and £23 on the day in the tilton against Barnsley, you’re happy that it’s £23 whenever you buy a ticket and there is no discount for anyone?

            I will repeat once again, the prices are set before the season and the club are extremely limited in special offers. The prices ARE NOT going to come down – no one will gain anything if the discount is dropped but plenty will lose something…

  • Euston 9.18 says:

    Knock down the “Main Stand” & make it a covered standing only.
    Back of the stand full length bar,with eating area behind the stand.
    Tickets go on sale 5 days before a game.
    Mon/Tues £5. Wed/Thurs £10. Friday £15.
    No season tickets available.
    Stand opens at noon on a Saturday & 5pm on a midweek game.Behind the stand before the game eating area cheap food available & refreshments.

    Get the health & Safety in to work out how many people can “safely” stand on the terrace.

    Atmosphere would return to the ground & attendance would increase.

    If anyone from BLUES is reading this & takes up the offer,plz send the consultancy payment to OFTEN PARTISAN’s designated charity.

    “SORTED” !!!!!!!

    • almajir says:

      A couple of problems.

      1) to undertake that would constitute a lot of building work which costs money the club wouldn’t have. It would also shrink capacity whilst the building work was going on, endangering ticket proceeds.

      2) it may have escaped your attention but standing isn’t allowed in the top two flights – Peterborough have a special dispensation and clubs are not allowed currently to return to it.

      I’d like a return to standing – I think the club would too – but under the current regs it’s not possible.

      • Euston 9.18 says:


        1) The stand is a disgrace & surprised it still gets a ok from health & safety.
        Whilst the building work was going on,fans would be offered the 100’s of seats available in the other 3 stands.

        2) It’s about time someone or a football club stood up to these “no standing” tossers,build the stand & give the V’s to them.

        I was going to away games when Hillsborough happened & understand that you can’t just open a stand & invite people in,i.e C`PALACE away (fancy dress) I was outside after the game kicked off,when the steward opened the main gates at the back allowing a free for all to get in.

        • almajir says:

          Euston – the stand being “a disgrace” or not, I don’t think Blues can afford to redevelop it. It will cost in the millions – money we don’t have.

          As for standing – I agree mate, I really do – campaign link here – but the suits and TPTB don’t want it and unfoprtunately money (and Sky) rule football.

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    Almajir’s last paragraph sums it up pretty succinctly for me; playing good and successul football on the pitch to enhance our attendances, and we will have to accept that going down to the match is not as much of an attractive proposition as it once was for some.

    There are always going to be some who are left disappointed with the ticketing and pricing structure. Who do you work towards and who do you let down – those that followed the advice by buying early or those that cannot make a commitment until the last moment?? What about those who buy a season ticket in the belief that they are being loyal to their club and putting their money in, only to see prices reduced at a later stage in the season??

    Unfortunately it’s always going to be a balancing act where the club as a juggler is going to drop the odd ball here and there and will then just have to start again.

    We can only be responsible for our own contributions.

    • chris says:

      tilton season ticket is £20.20 a game so charlton @ £27 then £32 on the day, & peterborough £23 & £28 onthe day is in no way detrimental to greedy and short sighted season ticket holders.
      i used to have a season ticket and when deals where done i didn’t care because A) the ground was full @ 29500 & atmos was great, B) i knew i had my ticket for the top games far cheaper than non ST holders.

      • almajir says:

        I take it you glossed over the bit where I confirmed the club can only do so many deals per season, that the prices are confirmed to the league at the start of the season and that they are comparable (including your so-called “price hike”) to other clubs in the division?

      • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

        Not everyone sits in the Tilton – believe it or not.

        A) I did not refer specifically to the Charlton and P’boro games. I was speaking in general terms.

        B) We hardly ever get full houses anymore and anything over the mid-twenties (thousands) I would say is a good crowd for Blues and gets a rocking atmosphere – on most occasions.

        C) Why do you think the club run loyalty schemes for those that put their money in first by way of attending most games, renewing season tickets, attending events etc??

        As has been mentioned, those that pick and choose their games are usually the first to profess their long-held allegiance to the team and club and complain when there is not enough tickets to go around when something special presents itself.

  • BromsgroveBlue says:

    The arguments surrounding ticket pricing are all valid, but I would say the one crucial point is price.
    You mention the Barnsley game is £23, discounted to £18 in advance- a perfect example.
    The maximum the club should be charging is £15 for that game, I would say the correct price should be £10.
    If the majority of home games were £10-£15, and you could pay that on the day, people would be back.
    What happened to this sport being the working class game?
    Football pricing needs to be sorted out across all clubs and the authorities. The economy is getting no better any time soon, and the majority simply can’t afford it.
    The only good thing about attendences falling at St Andrews, and at clubs nationally, is hopefully in the long run prices will come down.

    • almajir says:


      I think you missed the point.

      Football – not just Blues – is not that cheap. As an example, to see Kidderminster Harriers in the Conference it will set you back £14 to stand or £17. To watch Redditch United v Blues u21 in the Senior Cup will set you back a tenner.

      Let me repeat that. For the price you are saying BCFC should charge for a game in the second flight of English football, you will currently manage to get a ticket for a game between our reserves and a Southern League Premier (7th tier) side.

      The absolutely harsh fact is Blues probably charge as cheaply as they can. Any lower is just not feasible and people need to realise that is the case.

      • BromsgroveBlue says:

        almajir – Not missed the point, I know Blues are charging the going price and football is not cheap.

        In fact that’s my whole point- this pricing structure throughout football has become the established ‘norm’ and needs changing.

        You mention Kiddy charging up to £17 – that is bonkers. Conference football costing £12 up to £17- it should be a maximum of £8, prob £5.

        To say it is not feasible- for a starters if players’ wages were lowed and capped, and the Premier League billions were redistributed fairly across the divisions, clubs would be able to lower their ticket prices.

        Yes I realise Blues can’t do anything at the moment, but my hope is one day football will change for the better and people will be able to afford to go again.

    • chris says:

      i think the tilton should be £20 to £23 for barnsley that’s a fair price for the game at championship level, but to add another £5 on the day is not.
      buying a ticket in advance is not always possible and if you want to penalise me for things outside my control, go ahead but i won’t be there.

  • Retired&Weary says:

    At the risk of being accused of going over the top, I think the current situation is similar to the Wheldon era. I remember not going to games even though I was a season ticket holder, it was so bad! I am starting to feel the same now, I was not looking forward to last Saturday at all, & was bored stiff throughout the game. No hope, no expectation.
    The Sullivan, Gold, Fry era broke the spell, we definitely need something similar before it’s too late.
    This year’s Championship is much stronger than last year – look at some of the big signings elsewhere – so at the moment, unless results & performances improve I can only see the fan base falling further. Ticket prices are only a side issue.

  • DoctorD says:

    There is little point criticizing fans not going to matches — it’s their choice how to spend their money.

    But what the club should be doing — and to be fair they are not bad at this in terms of social media — is making as many people as possible feel part of the club, whether they go week in week out or not.

    For some, particularly those who don’t live near the ground, that association may be purely checking the club website or buying stuff from the shop. But what BCFC needs is as big a pool of supporters as possible, such that there’s a chance that some may, even if only occassionally, go to matches.

    By the way, it doesn’t help that the only local derbies this year are against the Wolves (2 matches). In 2010-11 we had six local derbies, if memory serves me right.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Almajir , Have to disagree with your conclusion – “I don’t think the performance is the issue”

    Blues can fairly compare themselves as size of club with the Baggies , indeed many may argue we have a much larger fanbase.

    I can not remember the Baggies ever playing like Barcelona or Brazil either.
    But I will wager within the next few months , they will be getting double the crowd that Blues will on the same Saturday , within 5 miles of each other , & with both sets of supporters battling the same economic issues.

    Now thats surely not just about them being in the Prem…….

    • almajir says:

      I think it is.

      Fact is mate, football fans are fickle. It’s crap, it’s horrible and it’s true.

      • chris says:

        prem has a lot to do with it but i find footy is poorer today, might be an age thing as well, but i find i even turn the tv over when football is on as most of it is boring and a negative style.
        If swansea, blackpool and even wba can play decent passing football we all can but it takes time and the right manager.
        that’s why i wanted O’Driscoll.

  • Julian Glass says:

    I’m sure it is largely down to quality of play. I meet regular ST’s holders on the train more easy going than me and they are remarking how poorer the football is now. If we are thinking that there is little chance that non ST supporters will want to return for the next game.

  • tc says:

    Well from a pre match pint with 10 season ticket holders now there is only 2 of us this season who renewed.The main gripe with everyone is they feel years of being continually ripped off and now giving money to a dodgy owner where the clubs income seems to just be dissappearing is the main reason.Right or wrong i do agree that we are just cash cows to the club to be continually milked dry with very little grass to feed on lol

  • chris baker says:

    I haven’t been to St Andrews now for many years, Used to go through with my brother from the mid 60’s til we won promotion to Premier, even subjected son and daughter. Watched first game against Blackburn. The rise in price of a ticket, travel costs, etc. Now play golf badly, my membership costs less than a season ticket and I can play 7 days aweek if I so wished.

  • chris says:

    a better way would be to charge prices based on the away team as it is now plus league position and do the same to the players wages.
    the football league need to address this (players wages) or the league will suffer more than it is now.
    relegation clauses should be mandatory.

  • Simon T says:

    Just a thought but 30,000 people paying £16 a ticket is £480,000 which is the same as 20,000 people paying £24 a ticket. Not only is a full St Andrews an incredible place to be, but an extra 10,000 people creates an opportunity to drive revenue through additional sales of food, drink, programmes and club merchandise.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Cardiff City’s dynamic pricing system whereby the more tickets are sold the more the price goes up ,
    sounds sensible marketing, surely worth a try.

    It would also be interesting if BCFC offered say 5 thousand tickets at £30 a pair if purchased 7 days before the game , what the take up would be ?

    Or in November we have 2 home games in 3 day , so why not offer a package of 4 tickets
    (2 for each game) @ £50

  • sam says:

    Blues have really dissapointed me last few years with attendance and i have to admit were not as big as i thought we were or professed to other footy fans i know.
    One major issue is the banding of prices, I go to watch Blues not the opposition so why have differenet rates plus footballs unpredictableness is waht keeps it great so how can you really prejudge the size or ‘grade’ of a match. A standard price would be better.
    I think the kids for quid is a good scheme and wonder if posters in punjabi or hindu have been produced and displayed to pick up some of the local british/asian population.
    The forza blues section looked great on paper but looks cack in practice.

    As a season ticket holder for 9 years I’d prefer a full ground rather than 14,000 so even if free or heavily discounted ticketso to homeless hostels, disadvantaged homes , schools etc i’d be in favour

    • Jay Sidney says:

      Probably Urdu aswell, Sam. However, your points were well made but I can’t help feeling, despite the League Cup success, the overall mood at St Andrew’s has been very negative ever since 2006-07. Even when Blues got back up to the Premiership after the first relegation (when they finished runners up to Sunderland), this mood seemed very noticeable. There were plenty of Blues fans in Victoria Square for the promotion “celebration” but the mood was eerily flat. It was although many thousands of fans sensed there was something deeply wrong inside the very heart of the club. Soon after the then club chairman David Gold pathetically moaned about how the club would now face a relegation struggle in the coming season….

      That sort of glaring lack of ambition, coupled with the fact that Gold’s successors have presided over Blues’ frightening descent into the nightmarish state the club is now in hardly amount to a recipe for bums on seats…

  • Oxford Blue says:

    For me, attendances will always correlate to performance on the pitch. Prices are a bit of a red herring. If the team are playing well and are entertaining, you will bear almost anything to be able to go down and watch, however if the dross your being served up is dull and boring, your mind set starts off negative with the belief that you”ll be wasting your money. For instance, the pre-season went well and expectations were high, an average gate of 18,000 would be no different to last years if we were playing someone like Charlton, however with correspondingly very poor performances against teams who are not expected to set this league alight, what happens, we are now perceiving to struggle this season, hence gates are going to nose dive.

  • James says:

    We are a very poorly supported club; FACT.

    Derby, Newcastle, Man city, Leeds, who are all much smaller city’s in terms of population, have always had much better attendances than us. Even before the money came along Man City were getting huge gates.

    Even when we eventually got promoted to the prem and had in excess of 20,000 ST holders it looked like we had turned a corner. Don’t get me wrong, a day out at Wembley, or an away day in the sun, a trip to Europe, we have some great numbers. But in 25 years of supporting the club we have had shocking attendances, all bar 1 or 2 seasons in the prem. I don’t buy the economic arguement either as it affects the whole country, not just Birmingham.

    Too many fans choosing not to turn up – in a city of a million people it’s dissapointing. Very simply a large number of our “fans” just can’t be bothered.


    • Sirharry1875 says:

      Spot on James. We’re not a big club and we’re even slowly losing the traditional Blues strongholds in the South of Birmingham to Villa and WBA. I get the train to Saturday home games which goes through Blues territory such as Shirley, Hall Green, Tyseley and if Albion are at home there’s more Albion than Blues on the train!! It saddens me. When I was growing up if you were anything other than Blues round our way you kept quiet. Now very different.

      • Jay Sidney says:


        “Slowly losing the South Birmingham strongholds” to Baggies and vile did you say?

        Well, it’s hardly that surprising that you see Baggies fans around in biggish numbers on matchdays (even travelling through parts of South Birmingham) because, sadly, unlike Blues, their club is genuinely establishing itself in the top flight and playing (most games) fairly decent football against attractive Premiership opposition. They are a stable club while Blues have been relegated THREE times since 2006. Even the following promotions only promised another relegation struggle.Surely there is no comparison in the respective fortunes of the two clubs right now.

        The lLeague Cup glory was fine but how much of the shine was taken off that when Blues were relegated three months later for the THIRD time in 6 seasons?
        Many Blues fans have had enough. And don’t forget when Blues first got into the premiership in 2002 the average home attendance for the 2002-03 season was 28,813 and the following season that figure topped 29,000. Steve Bruce said at the time that Blues needed to “take the next step up”. Quite right but the club did not seize the moment and unlike the Baggies inthe last few years, have gone backwards ever since.

        In his 2010 book “Birmingham City: The Complete Record” sports journalist Tony Matthews quotes the previous Blues board as saying “We have a supporter-base of 250,000 nationally and internationally”. True or false I don’t know. However, it is surely clear that the Baggies, although not a wealthy club, are run in a much better and much more stable way than Blues (whose owners are a disgrace and a laughing stock). I hasten to add here that I am NOT referring to the admin staff and other hard workers at St Andrew’s who have bust a gut trying to hold the club together as the owner(s) lurch from bad to worse. Is anybody seriously suggesting these things will not have a detrimental effect on attendances? We have to compare like with like.

        In short, Blues need vision, stability and ambition (and Premiership football) to win missing crowds back. As for the vile, it can’t be difficult to “support” a club that has won so much silverware in its history. That lot have been spoiled for years and now live on past glories. They are a bit like the old TV advert for Whitbread Bitter puffing their chests out and claiming to be a quart when they are really only a pint…Blues might only appear as a few swigs right now but what may be down the road in say three years’ time?

        In the wider swing of things South (and East) Birmingham generally remain Blues strongholds.

      • Jay Sidney says:


        I appreciate your concerns and frustrations as I’m sure do many thousands of other Blues fans.

        I just want to say I was an active Blues supporter between 1967 and 2003 but can no longer attend matches for a mixture of health and financial reasons. However, I sometimes go to the shops up and down King’s Heath High Street and Moseley Village. If this is early on a Saturday afternoon when Blues and the Baggies are at home, please be assured that I always see far more Blues fans travelling north in cars and on number 50 buses headed towards town than Albion.

        Not that surprising really because South Birmingham (and probably most parts of Solihull) are still strong Blues areas. This said, I have no problem with the Baggies and let’s hope Blues’ fortunes (at a depressingly low ebb right now) take a serious turn for the better in the not too distant future because the supporters deserve rather better than they’re seeing now.

    • Jay Sidney says:

      I can remember when Blues had better attendances than ALL the clubs James mentions. That was in the early 1970s when Blues were “on the up” (albeit fairly briefly). Indeed, in 1972-73 only Man U, Liverpool and Arsenal could boast larger home attendance averages.

      Trouble is, just like in the mid 2000s (as James rightly alludes to in his posting) when Blues were again looking to cement themselves in the top flight, neither the necessary vision nor the ambition were there at boardroom level and the chance to really go forward was lost.

      It’s also worth noting that, unlike Blues whose overall history is noteworthy for a frankly depressing level of under-achievement, ALL the clubs he mentions can boast many League (these days the Premiership) title successes and the undoubted tradition such achievements invariably bring.

  • Oxford Blue says:

    Couldn’t gree more James, when I was in the forces, I was continually ribbed by Mancs, Yorkshire puds, Geordies and others about Birminghams population but crap crowds.

  • The Nock says:

    For me the problem with attending St. Andrews is not really the price of tickets or their ease of purchase – i went to the Charlton game and frankly whatever the price, i’d rather have stayed in the pub!

    The Watford game i DID watch in the pub and gave me no desire to return.

    Before i’m slagged off for not being a real supporter, over the years like most of you i’ve spent thousands supporting Blues. As is pointed out earlier, we’ve never been Barcelona but at least often poor football was made bearable by a crackin atmosphere and a bit of humour.

    Over the last few seasons i’ve been to dozens of away games as that is closer to the experience that attracted me to the Blues years back.

    Sorry, but for me it doesn’t matter if its £5 or £500 a ticket – over the last few years, watching Blues at Stans in a silent/sterile environment aint for me.

  • Joeee says:

    Doesn’t matter how you dress it up …

    The bare facts are buy a ticket in advance and will be cheaper

    Sure, advance =better for club

    But the whole idea of paying more on the door rubs people up the wrong way

    Some fans might pay on door if the prices were the same but they’d still come. So no effect on attendance.

    Whereas the current system actually stops people coming as annoyed with pricing

    Sure FL could accept us discounting all tickets to the current online price. They want seats filled too

    Common sense needs applying

    • almajir says:


      The FL wouldn’t accept us just discounting all the prices by a fiver though – as stated in the article the club have to confirm prices with the FL before the start of the seaosn. The only way to do what you say would be to remove the discount, and effectively make it a fiver more expensive whenever you buy your ticket – which i don’t believe would go down well.

      • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:


        I think some fans still need to realise that if most were to leave it to the last minute to buy a ticket knowing that the price was exactly the same as for buying it beforehand, it might actually mean less fans attending in that they would not have to worry about any outlay already made and if anything pressing was to occur on the day, they might consider putting it off “until the next home game”. Only my opinion but I honestly believe that by making the purchase of tickets in advance it means we focus ourselves more for attending as oppose to leaving it until the day of the game.

        Another thing, even if the sentiment of giving away tickets is a very good idea, in practice what happens is that many just end up selling what they have received and some buying ‘unofficially’ rather than through the club. Again the club ends up losing revenue.

  • Paulo says:

    I would go as far as to say:
    A stronger, organised, hungrier, confident performance
    = more wins
    = something to watch
    = chance of watching a winning match
    = louder and more singing
    = better atmosphere
    = ‘sitting on the fence’ fans might pay attention and buy a ticket.

    god only knows how they are going to buy a ticket early, because it’s kind of obvious that there is not much explanation in the matter of the discount. BUT …surely it is in the clubs interest to promote season tickets or part season tickets in the first place? because those who don’t have them are not going to go to every match in the first place?
    ..OR promote the clubcard (True Blue card) so they can buy online or over the phone easier ..so don’t have to visit the box office (or simply collect them on the day?)

    My point is, the club probably is advertising all it can, but maybe not at the right people. If no one actually tells these matchday buying fans, then how do they know any alternative?
    Changing the habit of not going, or the habit of buying on the day wont be easy, but if we don’t put our money into the club, we are not contributing, and therefor (in my opinion) have no right to slag off anyone or anything about the club at all.

  • Oltonblue says:

    Personally i do not think our poor attendances are related to either prices or the style of play. Attendances have dropped nationwide wide from say 10 years ago. The creation of the Premier League caused a big spike this lasted for several years until the ‘top 4’ took hold, i suppose the emergence of the champions league helped elongate this spike. The same with Blues attendances, from the Fry days onwards we gradually got better and better and it was the promise of reachiing the ‘holy grail’ of promotion to the premier league that increased our attendances. Then once we got there and stayed a few seasons we sold out most weeks. Our team then got complacent and got relegated and have yo-yo’d ever since. After winning the cup and our european adventure a Championship campaign is not as exciting. In recent years we have been spolt is my conclusion, with the current financial situation the best we could hope for is promotion then a relegation battle!? Which doesn’t really excite a lot of people enough for them to go down week in week out. Also it is far more fun going to an away game now days than a home game, which is why we take a big following to ceratin games. People probably save their money to go to big away games rather than say 4 home games.

    • Paulo says:

      I have to agree, as it seems the premier league is divided into two parts, as invention of the ‘top four’ only seems to be achieved by buying a place within it. I have my own views on the premier league, and boring is at the top of the list, so I too agree we have been spoilt and the expectations are too big of the club. So would the holy grail of winning the play offs solve anything? I don’t know.

  • bluenose08 says:

    i work on a saturday as part of my working week, if i get finished early i can get to the games if not i cant so its impossible for me to buy in advance as i dont know what time i shall finish work. k.r.o.

  • kentucky blue says:

    Bluenose08 i had the same problem with working most saturdays not knowing when i would finish, but with the cash turnstile i could leave work at 2.30 and still get to stans on time.
    If it had been the case to buy a ticket first then line up to get in i proberly would not of bothered. As regarding quality i have seen many very poor games ( kumar days) and still went every week, it becomes a habit, do anything to get em in maybe it will become a habit for them KRO

  • Bluenosesol says:

    The issue of ticket prices is not a BCFC issue, we have to take our place within the current national pricing structure and as far as that goes, Almajir has demonstrated that we are no worse than any mainstream club in the Championship. The wider issue is the greed of those in the game who are benefiting from huge salaries and bonuses, brought about by the explosion of satellite TV in the last 15 years. The clubs (mainly Prem) receive huge benefits from TV rights and market pressures dictate that available income is prioritised towards players salaries and agents fees. Consequently, ticket prices are bordering on unaffordable, catering prices are excessive and the standard of facilities is appalling in almost every ground one attends. In many people’s eyes, football players and their associates are no better than the bankers, in so far as in the same way that the greed of the latter destroyed the economy, then the greed of the former is destroying our game. As an employee in the tech sector who has had 3 pay rises in the last 12 years following the tech bubble burst, then we need the football economic bubble to burst to brinbg everyone back to their senses and return football to the people.

  • Julian Glass says:

    The whole match day experience is just so depressing. You drudge along the streets seeing more police in 30 mins than you see all year, choose between one tasteless burger or another, see official programme sellers looking as it they’re working on a market stall, walk into a soulless car park, look at unwelcoming guest hosts (who look like night club bouncers – stern with no smile) at the stand entrance. Dark soulless concourse with nowhere to park your drink and pie, a pokey betting area.

    Only when you see pitch you realise it’s worthwhile … but ten minutes after kickoff you’re thinking twice

    • almajir says:

      I read your comments on here and on twitter Julian, and I have to ask you this – why do you bother with football? It seems that you clearly don’t enjoy it.

      • Julian Glass says:

        There are some people I would expect to here such a comment from but not you. I should have known better.

        • almajir says:

          Interesting response Julian – and I note you didn’t answer the question.

          I only ask because (on my twitter feed at least) I see people talking about you as “Mr Negative”. I rarely see you comment positively about something and I wondered if you really could say something happy.

          I’m not being arsey, I’m not being funny – I just want to know – do you actually enjoy the football or is it a chore? Is there anything you are positive and happy about/?

          • Julian Glass says:

            Seems to me that most that has gone on since the play off semi has been pretty dismal so I just reflecting that. If there have been few positive words from me so be it.

            As far why I go to games well I certainly don’t need to justify to anyone. I expect my reasons are the same as most others I here.

            Over and out

  • bluemaximus says:

    Bluenosesol, youve just nailed it

    Power to the people!

  • dan devon says:

    Hey its easy if the Players play with commitment and passion for the Blues Win or Lose the fans will return

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