BLOG: Regional clubs pulling off giant killing victories over Premier big boys like Chelsea when it comes to ticket prices

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The last time Worksop Town took on Chelsea, they were drubbed 9-1.

But Tigers prove more than a match for the Premier League giants when it comes to value for money.

Yesterday, when Chelsea took on Manchester United, some fans paid £87 to watch the game.

For that, you could go and watch Worksop Town 17 times at Sandy Lane.

Yes, the quality of the football on display will be far better at Stamford Bridge, you’ll see genuinely world class players – even if they aren’t having a genuinely world class season.

Perhaps the experience will be a little more comfortable, in terms of vantage point, refreshments on offer, and thousands of others to huddle with for warmth.

But there’s an argument for the purity of non-league football, where there appears to be less dishonesty when players run into the box with the ball, where segregation is often replaced by supporters of opposing clubs mixing harmlessly.

And Worksop have scored 90 league goals, compared with Chelsea’s 33 – do you really need to see them put away by Diego Costa, or would you rather keep £82 in your pocket and see a local youngster beating goalkeepers?

It’s not as silly a question as it sounds, when there are bills to pay.

Some people will shell out whatever it takes to see their team, but when times are hard for so many, the number of people happy to hand over £87 for one match must surely be shrinking.

Fortunately for Premier League clubs, the demand is obviously still there, and they can get away with charging ridiculous prices.

Although the mass walkout at Anfield on Saturday is evidence that supporters are finally getting to the end of their tether, and the bottom of their wallet.

Non-league and lower league clubs meanwhile are doing their damnedest to provide an affordable alternative.

Mansfield Town, of League Two, made the price of a child ticket for a handful of mid-winter matches just £1.

While Nottingham Forest fans paid out as much as £37 for tickets for their match at Leeds United on Saturday, Ilkeston supporters are charged just £6 to get into their home games in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

When Ilkeston visit top of the table Blyth Spartans this weekend, £10 is what they’ll pay to go through the turnstiles.

It’s a tenner to watch both Matlock Town and Buxton play at home, and even down the road at League One Chesterfield, a season ticket for the current campaign could be purchased for a price equating to £15 per match for an adult.

Gainsborough Trinity in the National League North charge adults £12 on a matchday.

And NCEL Premier clubs Staveley Miners Welfare, Retford United and Clipstone ask punters for £5 on the gate.

It’s the same price at Midland Football Premier side Heanor Town.

Premier League clubs will always attract tens of thousands, but for semi-professional and non-league outfits, a low ticket price is just one weapon in the fight to get supporters into the stands.

They have to work so hard to just maintain their average attendance figure.

Community work, soccer schools, mascot schemes, and special initiatives like Worksop Town’s ‘pay what you want’ derby game against Retford this Wednesday, are all essential if they’re to continue to exist.

And the hope will be that football fans priced out by their Premier League loves, will trickle down as far as non-league and get their fix in a more rustic setting.

One of the most galling aspects of Premier prices is that many teams just don’t need to ask for more, they don’t need to charge anywhere near those eye watering amounts.

In stark contrast, a non-league club needs every single penny, and supporters know that when they walk through the gate they’ve done their bit to help keep their team afloat.

Premier League fans can’t say that, and Liverpool’s response to Saturday’s exodus will perhaps give us an insight into whether or not the country’s big boys actually need, or indeed value supporters at all.

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