Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWhy football supporters are choosing to watch from home - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Why football supporters are choosing to watch from home - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Why football supporters are choosing to watch from home

As ticket prices keep on rising, more fans than ever are deciding to watch their team from the comfort of home, or with friends at a local pub. Despite numerous attempts by fan groups to try and encourage clubs to sell tickets at reasonable prices, the average Premiership match costs around £30 for an adult and £100+ for a family of four.
In a time of economic difficulty, is the future of football on the television, and are we going to see empty seats in stadiums becoming the norm?

Football’s success lies within the simplicity of the game and it’s availability to all. Although a lot of money can be spent on equipment and facilities, and this is what we expect to see in the professional arena, none of the aforementioned are requirements in order for someone to play the game. In poorer countries it is not uncommon to see a ball made from waste material or rubbish, and pitches are not always manicured lawns of the greenest grass. From the uneven, obstacle ridden patches of wasteland in Africa, to the cramped and narrow alleyways of the favelas in Brazil, people across the world are happy to make do with their surroundings and they adapt the game accordingly. Goal posts can be improvised using any objects that distinguish themselves from the surrounding area. A couple of rocks are sometimes all that is required, or an open doorway so that there is a ‘goal’ to aim for. Teams are not always with equal numbers of players, nor do they include set positions.


This is a sport that doesn’t require an understanding of all the laws of the game to be able to enjoy it. However, many young children know what rules such as ‘offside’ or ‘pass back’ refer to and can explain the consequences of committing such an infringement. As long as you know the basic idea of the game and have a ball then you are good to go; two goals, score in one and protect the other, and only the goalkeeper can use his hands.

When the English introduced the game to South America they were initially watched in wonderment by the local people, who had never seen such a sport before. It didn’t take long though before they began to form their own teams and practice what was quickly growing into a daily activity for men and boys from all walks of life. They loved it, particularly the opportunity to develop tricks and skills to beat an opponent and leave them looking foolish in front of a crowd of onlookers. Modern day coaches claim that Brazilians are so good at the game due to their spontaneity and ability to do the unexpected at any moment, compared with the Europeans who are generally more rigid and drilled into set movement patterns. The difference in a close game can often be a moment of magic, when a player catches everyone else off guard, and this can decide the outcome of a match.


The varying attitudes and cultures that exist towards the game of football are part of what makes the game so special. Spectators watch a match not only because they want their team to win, but because they want to be entertained; fans would prefer a 4-3 thriller instead of a boring 1-0, despite the fact that both results obtain three points. Sometimes even a draw can feel like a victory if a team has had to come back from a seemingly impossible position, and there are not many sports that can offer this kind of drama, particularly on such a regular basis.

Commonly referred to as the ‘working man’s game’, football was always a sport of the masses, with attendances rising year on year after its creation as a professional sport. The joy of the game was obtained from standing in a packed stadium with thousands of likeminded individuals alongside you, chanting, singing and sharing in the beauty produced by the 22 men on the pitch. Crowds of swaying fans, scarfs held high, voices in unison, would all be urging their team forward, and although detractors would say that it is utterly pointless for grown men to chase a ball, they are missing a key point. Football is a social occasion for friends or family to get together, share some time in each other’s company, and support their favourite team; an escape from the hard working week, a time to briefly forget all your problems, and for ninety minutes to become immersed in the match. Escapism is a necessity for many, and football can genuinely provide this effect, albeit for a short while.

Players used to earn a normal working man’s salary and many worked a day job as well due to the fact that they did not earn enough solely as a footballer. Fans were able to identify with their heroes, and most of the players lived local to the team they played for. Times have certainly changed since then and the common man has never been so far removed from the life of the current stars as he is today. Footballers today are in the same category as music and movie stars, an untouchable group of people who have no real understanding of the plight and suffering of the fans who put their money towards paying their incredible salaries. A connection has been lost, but it is still strong enough for many to continue paying over the top prices to catch a glimpse of their heroes. The big question is whether this loyalty will remain as prices keep on rising?

Should clubs restructure their pricing and make tickets more affordable to all? Is this sport to become purely an activity enjoyed by the middle and upper classes, spectators sat comfortably in luxurious surroundings of modern day stadiums, only getting up to briefly cheer when a goal is scored? This is the danger that many believe will happen if restrictions are not enforced and limits placed on how much a ticket can cost. Can we get back to the sold out grounds of the past, or is it already too late?

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