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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Premier League Latest News

Premier League defend rising ticket prices

The Premier League have dismissed claims by fans' representative Malcolm Clarke that rising costs may drive supporters away after a survey found the average follower of a Premier League spent £1,331 watching their side in 2007.
Research by Virgin Money, who polled 2,000 fans across the country, showed supporters across all divisions spent around £1,080 on tickets, merchandise, programmes, food, alcohol and travel while one in eight Premier League fans fork out £3,000 on match tickets alone.
According to these figures, the cost of attending matches has risen by 9.28% in the last two years while the consumer price index - a measure of inflation - has increased by just 4.9% with the costs of tickets, petrol and replica shirts the main reasons behind the increase.

While some clubs have frozen the costs of tickets in response to falling crowds and the Football League have introduced initiatives to encourage youngsters to attend games cheaply, some top flight sides have increased match-day prices.
Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation, criticised this move saying: 'We applaud those clubs taking action to bring down ticket prices.
'We also welcome the Football League's `Fans of the Future' initiative.
'However, these clubs, particularly in the Premier League, who have put them up this season like Manchester United, Spurs and West Ham United should hang their heads in shame.
'With the huge new broadcasting deal what possible excuse can there be for making football even more unaffordable.

'In the 1991/2 season the cheapest seat at Arsenal was £10. In today's money that is £15.44 or £16.70 adjusted for rising wages.
'The cheapest seat at Arsenal this season is £32. That goes up to a whopping £46 for the big European and derby matches as well as United and Liverpool.
'How can football possibly justify more than doubling ticket prices in real terms at a time when the game is swimming in television money?
'A time will come soon when football will look around at all the empty spaces in the stands and ask itself, `Where did they all go?' That is a real worry.'

While a Premier League spokesman would not comment on the survey, he responded to criticism of ticket prices by insisting the vast majority of clubs offer affordable tickets which has led to the top flight enjoying the highest average attendance for 57 years of over 36,000.
He said: 'Clubs work very hard to ensure there are affordable tickets made available. Last season 17 clubs froze or reduced ticket prices and fans are voting with their feet.
'This season we are recording the highest top flight attendances for 57 years. It is up 5% on last year and the average attendance through the course of the Premier League has gone up 65% .

'Fans want to watch games in safe stadia which requires investment and fans want to see the best players play for their team which again requires investment.'
Fans of Premier League sides spent on average £251 more for tickets and match-day essentials in 2007 than followers of Football League clubs with the former forking out on average £614 on tickets and £358 on travel in comparison to £474 and £286 for the latter.

Gallas: Walcott's No Rooney But United Arrogant

Arsenal captain William Gallas has lashed out at teammate Theo Walcott in an interview, branding his football 'predictable'. The defender also discussed leading out the Gunners, the race for titles and the arrogance of Manchester United.
Arsenal youngster Theo Walcott could be a truly great player, reckons Gunners defender William Gallas. But the captain has echoed the sentiments of manager Arsene Wenger in saying that he's disappointment with the striker's speed of development. Walcott, says Gallas, is not Wayne Rooney yet. Work Harder, Play Better“I think Theo Walcott can be the new Wayne Rooney but he has to change his style of play," the Frenchman told GQ Magazine. “He must work hard in training because everyone knows where he will run with the ball. "He goes on his right foot - so he must work to come on the inside on his left foot. He must be less predictable and more focused. He can also take too long on the ball. Veteran Support"I hope for him he does because he have great potential," added the defender, who offered to lend support to Walcott and the other Arsenal youngsters.
“I’m not their father, they make me feel young but I do try to talk to them," said the 30-year-old. “One young player asked me about an expensive car he wanted and I said ‘save your money, look after your family and then think about cars’. "When I started playing, I saved my money to buy a nice house for my family. But now these young players all want a BMW or Ferrari when they are still only 17 or 18. They don’t have to work as hard as I did. It might not be their fault but it is wrong.” Captain GallasThe departure of Thierry Henry freed up the role of Arsenal captain, which Gallas has taken on. But speaking of the appointment, Gallas stressed he wasn't fazed - he's had years of learning from some of the best. "When I was at Chelsea John Terry was captain and I’ve learned from him, from Marcel Desailly and from Patrick Vieira," commented the Frenchman. "When the chance came at Arsenal I was ready. I tell the players that what I do comes from experience. I don’t think about my performances now, I think about the other players and when they don’t do something right, I tell them. I prefer to have a quiet word with them on the pitch and then speak to them properly after the game.”
Arrogant United.And despite faltering in recent weeks and letting the gap at the top of the Premiership slip to one point, Gallas still believes it will be extremely tough for Manchester United to overhaul his side. Indeed the French defender branded Sir Alex Ferguson's side 'arrogant', something he feels plays into Arsenal's hands. "This Arsenal squad can win things and I know that it will be difficult for Manchester United to win because they have to play us and Chelsea again," he commented. "They are a strong team, with lots of experienced players but sometimes they think they are too good. Too arrogant. It can make you complacent and we understand that problem.
Desire To Win"We know we have to score goals and be strong in defence. I’d like to be in my living room when I am old with a trophy next to me and say that I won that," continued Gallas. "I have spent my life proving people wrong and it has made me tougher as a person and as a player. I have cried sometimes but bad things make me work harder. I want to win everything.” And as far as the Premiership and Champions League go, Gallas believes the Gunners can win both this year. "The mentality we had last season has gone. All our players just want to win - and we know how.” Arsenal take on AC Milan at San Siro tonight in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. A 0-0 draw in the first leg means that a win or score draw will see the Gunners prevail, while a defeat will send them out.
Hicks And Gillet Turn Down Bid; DIC Say Talks Ongoing

The latest news from deep in the corridors of Anfield is that co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have turned down a £400m bid from Dubai Investment Capital (DIC) for Liverpool FC, but DIC have been quick to point out that talks are ongoing...
It transpired this afternoon that the pair had apparently dismissed a £400m bid for the Anfield side, with rumours then circulating that the American duo were to be given a strict deadline of mere hours.However, DIC spokesperson Jehad Saleh states that any talk of a "take it or leave it" bid to expire by midnight was completely false.He told the press, "No figures have been mentioned [to the public], and talks are ongoing."No timeline has been set on the talks.
"The two parties had been deep in negotiation once before, but the Houston-based pair were accused by DIC of being in "dreamland" with regards to their valuation of the club.Since then, they have apparently found more common ground with the Dubai suitors, but talks, as they say, are ongoing.There have also been rumblings that Hicks is looking to buy Gillett out of his share in the club, but such discussions remain in their early stages.