Where was the Arsenal season ticket reduction when VAT went down?

By Graham McNorthbank

Arsenal's confirmation that season ticket prices will rise next season will cause a number of Gooners unnecessary hardship and I have to say the way the club has gone about things is disingenious to put it mildly.

It's not that we've not gone for two thousand years without winning a trophy that sticks in my throat. We all know that we have the most expensive season ticket in sport, yet the club's refusal to invest funds in bringing in proven world class talent continues to be a concern.

I've written countless times on this blog about the propaganda we were told to justify our move to a new stadium - that it's the only way we could compete with the likes of Man United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and the Milans of this world.

True enough, we have competed against those sides, but I'd argue that we've competed with them: every single one of them has major silverware to show for their endeavours in the past few years, while the Arsenal continue our barren patch.

A statement announcing the club's pricing approach says ticket prices will go up by approximately 4% next season. That equates to around £60 extra on my season ticket.

However, another 2.5% will also be added and this is blamed on the VAT rise that the Government brought in earlier this year.

There's no mention of why prices didn't come down when VAT was adjusted downwards by 2.5% a couple of years ago. Funny that.

All in all then I'm looking at my season ticket costing about £100 extra next season. No great shakes, perhaps, but when you consider that the cheapest adult season ticket at Manchester United this season was £513, it does provide a little more context (and for those of you claiming it's naturally more expensive because we're in London, note that the cheapest adult Fulham season ticket for next season is £329).

I'm aware that's maybe comparing apples with pears, but short of trying to find out what prices are in a parallel universe, I can't think of another suitable comparison.

The main dilemma for anyone who cannot afford the price rises, or anyone who wishes to protest by not purchasing their season ticket, is that the club has us over a barrel. Give up your season ticket and you drop off the list and have a potential wait of a generation to get back on that wagon again.

I've met Ivan Gazidis on a couple of occasions and I can report that I was impressed with him and his honest answers to my questions. But our CEO does not come cheap and neither does the club's first ever general counsel, or our commercial director, or our curiously named head of people and operations.

If we need to identify areas where overheads have increased, then those pricey personnel additions are significant. And to date I've yet to see any deals being renegotiated by our executive team to generate additional income for the club and there are three glaringly obvious ones that you would have thought would be priorities - merchandise, shirt sponsorship and catering.

But as I noted, they have us over a barrel, so there's little choice but to pay the additional cash and hope that something at the club changes over the summer that might boost our chances of winning the Premier League.

That said, it would be good to hear your views on the price rises. Feel free to vent your spleen fellow Addicts, as I'm guessing lots of you are a tad more angry and can express that more articulately than the words I've contributed here...