I usually like to steer clear of posting about my beloved Gillingham, but as some of you may have seen, this year’s “price of football” report has come out, and it doesn’t make great reading for the Kent club.
Gillingham have had this problem for years, despite being the only league club in Kent, the fans have stayed away (mostly). The potential catchment area is huge but the way the club is marketed to the public is poor – especially when it comes to ticket offers (this year has been a little better however with a couple of offers) – and the fact is simple. You can watch League 1, Championship and even Premier League football for less than the price of League 2 Gillingham, no wonder so many fans in the area choose to go up into London to watch their football.
The cheapest ticket price at Gillingham is a whopping £21. For that price you can get entry into Championship local rivals Charlton (£20) or Premier League Fulham (£20). Sure there is travel costs associated with going into London, but not everyone lives close to Priestfield. In fact, the most expensive tickets at Gillingham (£26) will actually get you into the City of Manchester Stadium to watch the Premier League Champions. Something isn’t right there.
All this talk on and off about a new stadium is all very well and good, but what’s the point if you can’t fill the existing one. Or even half fill it. £12 to watch League 2 rivals Plymouth looks like a great bargain in comparison (sure the football is nowhere near as good…) but still, I can’t remember the last time I paid £12 for a ticket to see the Gills!
I wonder at what relentless pace ticket prices will rise across football in general, the way things are going at the moment football will become a sport for the rich, and stadiums across the country will lose their atmosphere and turn into lots of mini Wembley Stadiums!