02/07/2013

AMF SUPPORTERS: Stand Up Properly, Or Sit Back Down!

When interviewed by Umbro, Stand AMF claimed that Modern Football "is what is happening now. A game where fans are priced out from attending, where the young generation can neither afford or are able to get tickets, where people that do turn up receive over the top regulation from police and stewards, where owners act with complete disregard of the supporters views." 
Stand.. more like sit down.
First and foremost, we are not yet at the stage of being 'priced out from attending' - but for the first time since 1977 the average disposable income has decreased. Albeit by 0.8% (records of 2011) but it is enough to make a difference in people's expenditure habits. There is now less money available to spend on luxury entertainment, such as football. Second, there is little evidence to support the claim that younger supporters are unable to afford tickets, especially when considering the fact that most league clubs offer discounted tickets to both under 16's and students (note that offering discount to student may encourage youths to attend university, thus completing a degree which will statistically mean they are more likely to earn a higher salary ergo able to afford rising ticket prices). Thirdly, what is the problem with stricter safety regulations enforced by policing staff and stewards? Stand AMF stated they campaigned for Justice for the 96 but surely restricting increasing safety regulations would contradict that campaign. Finally, putting "#AMF" in a twitter bio is not going to make owners consider fans more.

I completely understand the rage and fury directed at oligarchs who continue to increase prices which perhaps do make the beautiful game unaffordable to some. However, there is little that can be done to prevent it. Football is a business, business's are progressive. Developments will occur and it will only get worse. The FA cares more about pleasing it's corporates (as shown by the late FA Cup final kick off time, despite both teams being northern) than it does it's fans. Unfortunately, unlike the Bundesliga, the Premier League revolves around money - not fans. It is going to be extraordinarily difficult to revert that focus. 
#AMF is becoming an identity state; it is moving further and further away from the protest it initially intended to be. The core message of the Stand AMF group is relatable, but the support it has attracted has turned it into a trend, a fashion, which has lead to the deterioration of the seriousness of the cause. It has become a slogan, not the meaningful invigorating thought it set out to provoke. It is becoming a personal hash tag, habituating twitter bio's, used to associate and bring together similar groups - while Stand AMF may have intended to bring together like minded persons and are probably delighted with the response and support, it is being mocked daily due to the incessant twitter ranting and irrational argument associated with some of it's supporters. 
If one is 'AMF', boycott your league team and cancel your sky subscription - because these are the evil monsters that are sabotaging your beautiful game. To the argument, "but we love football too much to boycott it", which is completely justified and understandable, how about instead, supporting a local non league team; cheaper prices, cheaper merchandise, still football. Then comes the argument, "the standard is so much poorer", well in that case you have a decision to make. Either comply with the current ticket prices and pay more for a higher quality standard of football, or still enjoy the essence of football at a perhaps lower standard and pay less for it. Non league football offers a fantastic experience, hard-core supporters, standing experience, you can hear the referee and players swearing, perhaps more pre modern than the current era of premier league football. 
Instead of ranting on twitter that you are against modern football, bite the bullet and do something, protest, petition, campaign, boycott. Don't sit on twitter and tell fans who are content with the current workings of the football industry that they are responsible for rising costs, because that is true of any industry. Any consumer that complies with prices that industry sets take some responsibility for future price changes. However, the problem is that many of these "AMF" supporters, while happy to criticise others, still pay the prices and attend the matches. 

One would not say that they are a vegetarian while eating a rare cooked steak dripping with blood, so why would one say they are completely and utterly against modern football but still pay £24 for a 3pm kick off on a Saturday. It's hypocritical. If you claim to support a cause, in this case standing up to the adoption of overt business principles in a working class entertainment industry, support it  - do not stab your cause in the back by injecting money into the opposing cause.
In it's most simplistic form, football is entertainment. If Rihanna, or Beyoncé goes on tour, fans expect to pay £100 for decent seats, but you don't see "AMM" (against modern music) brandished in twitter bios. Yes football ticket prices have increased, but so has the price of bread, of trainers, of books. 10 years ago I could buy a book for £3.99, now I have to pay £7.99. By that logic, if most sectors are seeing a double in prices over a decade, why would the football industry be exempt from that?
Football ticket prices are going to increase, but there are ways to make it more affordable, just like there are ways to make your grocery shopping more affordable. Simple things like instead of happily paying £7 for a pie and chips at a ground, take a sandwich. If you really insist on being absolutely slaughtered at a football match but still complain about expenditure, instead of spending £40 plus on alcohol at an away day at grounds, drink before you go to the match at your home.
I completely understand frustrations at the way the football industry has developed, but just like saying you're against poachers isn't going to save white rhinos, saying you're against modern football isn't going to stop it. Ranting to contented individuals on twitter about how they are stupid and naïve isn't going to make Sky or football clubs reduce prices. Putting #AMF isn't going to achieve price reductions either. If you're deadly serious about standing up to oligarchs, then boycott. Boycott the grounds. Boycott sky. Boycott the merchandise. But please stop ranting to the rest of us who are aware of the disgusting prices, but are still willing to pay them to watch the game we all love.


So if a Bournemouth fan wants to pay £60 to see Real Madrid play against their team on their turf, then so be it, let them. Just because they are willing to pay the prices you are not, does not make them a worse football fan than you. Either stand against modern football properly by initiating boycotts that will actually have an effect on the industry, instead of stating in your twitter bio that you are #AMF (which will be completely ignored) or sit down in your plastic chair and get on with it, like the rest of us have.

1 comment:

  1. Do you pay for your own transport and tickets

    ReplyDelete