Date: 27th March 2015 at 5:48pm
Written by:

I`d love to take the credit for the piece below but it did in fact come from the pen of somebody unknown to me who passed it on to Mr J Fear, a resident of Vital HQ.

It`s an article that wonderfully covers the two main topics that have emerged in relation to our fine game this week, namely home-grown player quotas and ticketing prices.

Please feel free to read the article and then offer your thought in the usual place.

“I often find that the international breaks arrive at the most inopportune times in the season, last far too long (with meaningless friendlies shoe-horned in) and generally suck the will to live out of me.

But a couple of things this week have caught my eye, namely the suggestion from Greg Dyke that the current ‘home-grown` quota system operating in the Premier League should increase from 8 to 12 (among other things), and secondly, the Click Here
Click Here about ticket prices, particularly in light of the obscene new TV rights deal and the fact that the Premier League as a whole has made a profit for the first time in 15 years.

So how do you as United fans feel about these developments?

I am all for upping the quotas on homegrown talent, and altering the criteria by which a player qualifies as homegrown (3 years on the books pre-18, as opposed to 21). This would certainly focus clubs` attention on their youth set-up as opposed to cheap gambles from abroad, but aren`t many clubs doing that already? And I would argue that the net result of all this would be the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea of this world doing what they already do, hoovering up the best of British just to pad out their squads, with little intention of using these players in any meaningful way.

Just look at Scott Sinclair (someone who has been on the books of Chelsea and Manchester City) as a case in point. Bounced around the League, ending up occasionally warming the Man City bench, he was a bright young talent (arguably, he is still) but City`s desire to mop up the best in young British talent at the time (see also Gareth Barry and James Milner) meant his career was effectively on hold while foreign talent got the game time. Would that really change by the FA insisting on 4 more homegrown players? 13 of the 25 squad members would still be foreign, and unless there was an insistence on, say, 5 of the starting XI being British, what difference would it make in practical terms?

Still, any move to improve the prospects of young British players, and thereby improving the chances of British teams in tournament football, has to be applauded.

Ticket prices. The thick end of £50 to watch your team, knowing how much money the club is receiving in TV revenue and other commercial rights? I don`t think so! It`s a massive scandal, but as a business, Manchester United are entitled to charge whatever they feel the market bear for their ‘product`. Call me old-fashioned though – it`s a game of football. The players do OK, they get pretty tasty commercial deals to supplement their pittance of a wage so forgive me for not really wanting to dig deeper into my pockets and handing over more of my hard earned.

Clubs have got carried away over the past 20 years since football was invented by Sky, and prices are nothing more than daylight robbery in some cases (Arsenal`s cheapest season ticket is over £1000). Sure if people will pay, the clubs will charge, as in any free market. But it sticks in the throat that going to the match with your 11-year old son leaves you with a few pence change from £100, about the amount Wayne Rooney earns every 3 minutes.

In the early 90s, it cost £5 to stand on the Holte. Yes, it was standing. Yes, it was a different era. But what would be wrong with clubs capping their tickets at £25 for the most expensive, and a tenner for the ‘cheap seats`? Stadiums would be full, week after week, which is what the Premier League want, after all.”