A growing number of fans are complaining that the cost of watching games at Old Trafford and elsewhere is out of reach for those on modest incomes. This problem is leaving fans who previously bought season tickets or went to the odd game every season to ponder cheaper alternatives like watching non-league or even going abroad.
United in being skint
When ‘experts’ talk about watching Manchester United, they claim we’re among the most expensive to watch in the country. This survey conducted by the BBC reveals that, although it’s not cheap, it’s more expensive to watch other clubs in the Premier League.
Here is a breakdown of the cost of a day out watching United at home: * Tickets: between £30 and £52
* Pie: £3.10
* Tea: £2.50
* Programme: £3
* Train ticket from Manchester Piccadilly/Oxford Road to Old Trafford (nearest station Manchester United) £4.80 for a Rail Ranger ticket
All that might make your eyes water if you’ve never been to watch the Reds at home before, but is it any less expensive elsewhere in Europe. Let’s use Ajax Amsterdam, our Dutch equivalent as an example, as the Netherlands is a popular place with football tourists.
Ajax: you get what you pay for?
They’re one of the most famous clubs in the world and like us they have a reputation for blooding young talent. However, despite their size, Ajax play in the Eredivisie, a league which doesn’t have as much in terms of quality as the Premier League, but it might be cheaper to watch them. Across the Eredivisie, ticket prices are between £17 and £32, which already puts watching United in the shade price-wise. For the complete matchday package, Ajax offer a ticket, food, a programme and a stadium tour for just over £60, which for a one-off visit isn’t too bad.
Everything is cheaper for football fans in the Netherlands, but to go there from the UK, you might have to pay for flights and accommodation. Flights are available here, while finding somewhere to stay is realistic in the Dutch capital, but is it worthwhile?
Better the Red Devils you know
United are more expensive to watch, but for a day trip when we’re not playing or if we’re away from home might make sense. It won’t cost the earth if you get what you need to get to Amsterdam, while you might be able to see possible future United stars such as the Danish wonder-kid Christian Eriksen!