Football must be about fans, not money, says Robbo

Dons fans
Dons fans

Getting the prices right in football is a delicate balancing act, admits Dons boss Karl Robinson, though he feels a solution to increasing costs is a way off.

Ticket prices increased an incredible 31.7 per cent in League 1 last season, and eight per cent in the Premier League - far higher than the average cost of living.

And it is something that Robinson has experienced first hand.

“I believe we will always have to pay to watch football,” he said. “The industry will always have an increase in prices. But the drastic increase is scary.

“I was looking to take my daughter to watch Chelsea vs Arsenal and the prices were incredible.

“I got my friend tickets to a Liverpool game, and they were £50-something each. When I was there, it was about £35.

“Hopefully, it can balance out. It has to.”

However, Robinson believes, as that with most sporting events in the world, regardless of ticket prices, people will still pay the asking price to watch the teams they love.

He said: “Football is something that is embedded in us in this country, but it is becoming unaffordable for the average person. It’s losing touch with society and with the real people who want to come to our games.

“You’ll find with most clubs, they’ll say ‘whatever we charge, they’ll pay.’

“If you charge £200 a ticket, I guarantee Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, Anfield, Goodison Park will all sell out. It’s the way the industry is going, but it has to stop at some point for the benefit of all the fans.”

Dons though are in a unique position, still desperately trying to grow their fan base to fill stadium:mk.

Robinson said: “We have to be a lot more careful about how we judge our prices. Andy Cullen’s (Executive Director) introduction has done wonders for the chairman, as has Sean O’Hara (Finance Director). You’ve seen a steady ship, financially, with a lot of community based work.”

But Robinson says he’d far rather see a crowd full of young fans than have more money in the club’s coffers.

“I understand it pays the wages and the bills for the running of the club,” he said. “But I don’t want that to come at the detriment of an eight-year-old coming here with their dad, or mum or whoever it may be.

“They’re the people you want to see here, and the people who look up to the players and the club.”