Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Price Ain't Right

The recent Big City Census has caused controversy, as the board of The City Fans United once again propose an increase in admission prices for next season, looking to establish a price of £12 for the terrace and £14 to sit.

Admission prices were hiked last year after the board posed an horrifically leading question, asking whether members would favour "a modest increase in admission prices" in order "to assist with our objective of securing promotion", leading to disquiet from certain Chester fans.

This year's census - in which some bright spark lists the Jestrian as a bona fide news source, for goodness' sake - threatened to follow suit, as leaked first drafts of the questionnaire indicate that the original question on the subject for this season read as follows;

"Given that there's blatantly only one right answer to this, and bearing in mind that anyone who disagrees with us is an idiot, do you agree that we should put the prices up by a couple of quid so that we don't rot in the non-leagues forever?"

Unlike the utterly heinous "let's charge our fans for services provided by volunteers in order to make money for a third party just so that we can have an absolutely dreadful website" business plan that is the Blue$ Player, the proposed price increase does have some merit.

At the most basic level, a higher tier of football logically demands a higher price. There are also many costs associated with turning full time, not to mention desired improvements such as a bar extension, specialised training facilities, filling in potholes in the car park, Elton Welsby, new players and a set of massive floodlights. Most importantly, it'll probably price out half of Blacon.

"You can't say that!" shrieked Board Member The Dark Owl.

On the flip side, a full Exacta Stadium is a delight for all to see, and casual fans must be encouraged to attend. Provided they don't attend at the expense of "loyal" supporters, of course.

"We need to get some occasional attendees in so I can sing about how I'm more talented at following a football club than they are," muttered responsibility-free teenager Stevie Grasscutter.

Certainly, it is a divisive subject - a fact which is highlighted by the usual geniuses who like to debate these issues on The Deva Chat.

The discussion appears broadly to encompass two categories of fan:

a. those who like to quote the word "community" in order to substantiate their claim that they shouldn't have to pay any more than they do already

b. those who would happily pay the club for the right to visit their own mother if the board told them to

"It's a community club, and we must encourage more fans to come along," said fan Andy Griddlepan. "I've literally never invited any of my friends to a Chester match, so I've no idea what their thoughts on prices are, but they're definitely going to be put off by the increase - if only cos they'll have to listen to me moan about it."

"By the way, I'm absolutely baffled by anyone who thinks differently. It's incomprehensible to me that there should be another opinion on the matter."

On the other side of the coin, P Block regular Gertrude Alarmclocks argues that "the club needs money, the club needs money, the club needs money, give them your money, they need it, look at where we were two years ago, stop complaining, it's only an extra two quid, and if we put it up by another two quid on top of that, that'll only be an extra two quid as well, stop moaning."

"By the way, I'm absolutely baffled by anyone who thinks differently. It's incomprehensible to me that there should be another opinion on the matter."

Also present in the debate are the most bizarre of all Chester fans - those who don't want to be a member of The City Fans United, but that still want a say in how the club is run.

"Oh, what, because I'm not an owner, I don't get a vote?" said Harry Mac regular Paranoid Jim. "They should give everyone with a Chester postcode a vote. Or just anyone who's ever watched a game of footy, even. We need to know whether people who don't come very often want to pay £12 or £14. Because we don't already know the answer to that question."

"This is just like the time I wasn't given a vote on the price of milk, just because I don't own a cow. Absolute disgrace."

Whilst all this hysteria is going on, it appears that no-one has thought to ask the board to properly outline their plans for what our extra £2 a game will help contribute towards, and they continue to hide behind the vague strapline of it "helping the club to grow".

The decision will be a difficult one for those who have to make it. On balance, however, it is fair to suggest that anyone who is "baffled" by any part of the debate should probably retire from it.

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