Plenty Of Tickets Left For The Manchester United Game
Wednesday, 18th Aug 2021 10:17
Usually the one of two fixtures that always sells out at St Mary's is the Manchester United Game, but this year is different and with four days to go until the game there are still plenty of seats left in all areas.
As mentioned in a previous article back in July an FSA Survey of football supporters (Link Below) suggested that around 25% of fans would not be happy to return to football stadiums on day one of the football season.
In Southampton terms that means that they could expect a crowd of around 22-24 thousand in the ground depending on the size of the away support.
Those predictions were not wholly accurate at the weekend where many Premier League grounds saw virtually full houses, Leicester had a full house for their game against Wolves, and most other grounds were around 90-95% full.
Only Burnley were below that figure the 16,000 attendance V Brighton being around 75% of their capacity, although it should also be noted that Manchester United were around 4,000 short of a full house for their game against Leeds, not a lot in percentage terms, but in numbers it is a significant amount of tickets unsold.
But as I write it looks like Saints will be following Burnley in registering an attendance far lower in percentage terms than the rest of the clubs in the Premier League on the opening weekend.
This is worrying in that Burnley were playing Brighton, this would usually be an attendance of around 18,000, so the drop isn't too drastic from what would be the norm, their fixture against us two years ago on opening day attracted 19,784.
But a look at the Saints online ticketing site does not make happy reading, there are swathes of seats in most parts of the ground and as we stand I would estimate that there are around 6,000 seats available as of Wednesday morning.
This is unheard of for a game against one of the big clubs and it does not bode well when one of the smaller teams in the Premier League visits, if you can't sell Manchester United out then what hope is there for the rest.
It isn't the pricing structure, although the cheapest seats have sold out there are plenty of adult seats available at £45 which is a on a par with the price that most clubs would sell a ticket at for the game against Manchester United, indeed in the family section an adult and under 16 ticket is a combined price of £60.
It should be noted that there are only 3 games in the category A band this season.
Although ticket prices for Premier League games are far too high in general, we can't use this as an excuse, as Burnley aside most of the other clubs have no problems selling tickets at the same prices as this.
There will be some who point to the game being televised and on a Sunday, again in the past this was no obstacle to games selling out and with the Premier League in it's 29th season, most of those going these days will not nothing other that a fixture list that is fluid over the weekend, even someone in their late 50's will have watched football with games on a Sunday and a Monday that they did do when it was always a 3pm Saturday kick off.
The stark truth is there is just a general apathy surrounding Southampton Football Club at the moment, it is hard to find a message board or social media that is not full of rants about the club or at best just a penchant for running it down.
This has been going on since the summer of 2014 when the meltdown started after the sale of some big names, it has continued since even though in all but one season when we did fight a relegation battle in 2017/18 it has been mid table finishes in half of our seasons and top 10 in the other half since we returned to the top flight.
This has all come to ahead this season where it seems that a section of our support can find nothing good to say about the club, even an FA Cup semi final is not seen as an achievement, some see it as something to knock the club about because we had didn't have a shot on target during the game, yet didn't make provision for the fact that Leicester themselves only had one shot and actually won the final with their only shot on target.
Somewhere along the line it has to stop otherwise this club will end up where it did in 2009, back in League One, clubs are nothing without their supporters.
This is not a rant against the majority of Saints supporters, we have a hardcore of around 22,000 who will go through thick and thin, but we will be missing 8,000 from two years ago when we last had supporters in the ground.
You will find plenty of fans at other clubs who have a gripe with the way their club is run, but that hasn't stopped them buying season tickets or going to the games, ask a Newcastle fan what he thinks of Mike Ashley but it didn't stop him going on Sunday.
Ask a Burnley fan what they think about their new American owners who bought the club for £200 million and then leveraged the club to get their money and overnight put £200 million debt on their club.
Things are not great at Saints at present, but they could be far worse, be careful what you wish for as Burnley fans did.
Gao is an easy target, but in truth what has he done that different from Markus Liebherr ? like our much loved former owner he has run the club as a business. But it is much easier to run it as a business in League One than it is in the Premier League.
I will attract the usual people who will read this and tell me I am sticking up for the club etc etc, but not one of them can give me a solution other than a rich billionaire coming in and there aren't that many of them around who want to buy football clubs, most of whom are in far more debt than us due to the Covid crisis.
Essentially I am a supporter of Southampton Football Club, I want it to do well, since I started going in the 1970's I have been aware of the financial constraints we and most other clubs have to work under, there has never been a magic formula, club owners come and go, in the 1990's Blackburn had the richest owner in the Premier League, where are they now !
On Sunday I would love to see a full house at St Mary's I would love to see an atmosphere of passion and support for the club in a difficult time, perhaps I will see that though, back in 2009 we had to get back to basics, back to 20,000 attendances with just the hard core sticking behind the club, perhaps the only way forward will be for that to happen again.
Photo: Action Images
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