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Nick Hornby says ticket prices are ruining football


Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch is 20 years old but the author is disillusioned with the game of football (that’s soccer to my North American cousins). He argues the clubs are pricing themselves into oblivion with such high ticket costs, reports The Guardian.

In Fever Pitched: Twenty Years On, to be broadcast on Radio 4 tomorrow afternoon, Hornby recalls that in the 1970s he paid 15p to join the crowd in the north stand at Highbury, Arsenal’s former ground in north London. Cheap tickets meant Hornby was able to feed his addiction, but now he questions whether this weekly football fix is still possible.

“You can’t do that any more,” Hornby tells the programme’s presenter, John Wilson, the son of Arsenal goalkeeper Bob. “My impression is that most kids go now [to football matches] as they would go to the theatre, a treat, something they would see three or four times a year.”

Hornby is correct. You don’t get much for 15 pence these days. Fever Pitch was the first serious book I read about sport, ignoring all the annuals, yearbooks and diaries of famous sportsmen I’d read up to that point. My obsession with sports books continues – right now, I’m reading We are The Damned United by Phil Rostron. The 1970s was not a boring decade if you loved sports.

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Richard Davies

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