Does football’s greed know no boundaries?
Not content with the billions of pounds of domestic and overseas TV revenue flooding into the game – numbers that appear set to be dwarfed in the not too distant future when the likes of Amazon and Facebook are expected to challenge the current duopoly enjoyed by Sky and BT – Premier League clubs continue to seek new ways to chisel cash out of fans already, in many cases, paying huge sums of money for tickets.
Already Manchester City have introduced ‘Tunnel Club’, where for between £7,500-£15,000 per season well-heeled supporters can be wined and dined at the same time as gazing through a one-way mirror as the players enter and leave the pitch.
Tottenham are advertising a similar scheme when their new stadium opens next season, priced at £9,500 per season, plus a one-off membership fee of £15,000, and Crystal Palace are said to be planning an initiative along the same lines as part of their re-development of Selhurst Park.
Clearly developing new revenues streams is important for any business, and if punters are happy to fork out eye-watering sums like those above to give themselves a goldfish bowl eye view of players admiring their tattoos and adjusting their Alice bands, then who am I to say they’re wrong?
But I can’t help think it won’t be long before at least two clubs wish such previously out of bounds access had remained so.
No one can have missed the banner headlines that greeted the post-match shenanigans at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, where milk and plastic bottles were said to have been thrown as Manchester United and Manchester City players and staff exchanged projectiles and angry insults.
Those scenes unfolded in the confines of the dressing room areas, of course, and as such would have been far removed from the prying eyes of those taking advantage of the post-match prawn sandwiches if United had a ‘Tunnel Club’ of their own.
But rewind 13 years or so, to October 2004 and the ‘Battle of the Buffet’ at Old Trafford, when Sir Alex Ferguson took a pizza to the mush in the tunnel, a pizza that may or may not have been thrown by Cesc Fabregas.
Now imagine the aftermath of an incident like that kicking off in said tunnel, in full view of the paying, Prosecco-swilling crowd scrambling as quickly as possible for their smartphones to capture the action for posterity via social media. The fall-out and outrage would be off the scale.
And all that for an extra few hundreds of thousands pounds a year, or the cost of your star striker’s weekly wage.
It all sounds like an unnecessary accident waiting to happen. Hardly seems worth it, does it?
What do you think of 'Tunnel Clubs'? Would you – or do you – spend thousands of pounds for the privilege? Leave your comments below…
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