Date:Saturday May 17 2008
After the dust has settled from the initial furore of season ticket prices being unveiled, Vital QPR takes a look at how the prices and more will impact on the fans.
Much has been made of the significant increase of season ticket prices that were announced on Thursday, with QPR messageboards a hive of activity discussing the positives and the negatives of this radical reformation of the price structure.
Paying the price
As a season ticket holder in the Loftus Road upper, I can expect a £201 increase, from £398 to £599. An increase amounting to just over 50%. For this a season ticket holder can spread the cost through Zebra Finance, whilst having your name printed on your seat and receiving a £20 voucher from the club shop for every new member you introduce.
The bigger significance
Now that the dust has settled and the mist is beginning to clear, there are indeed a lot of fans, myself included, that shall renew their season tickets. For a lot of fans it perhaps is not so much the issue of how much one will have to pay, but the precedents that is being set through figures advertised.
At the club AGM back in April, managing director Alejandro Agag was quoted as saying that increases would be reasonable, whilst remaining impartial it is hard to categorise a 50% increase as reasonable, no matter how a spin doctor can work his magic. The club crest was another issue with which Rangers fans were promised one thing and given another.
The element of trustworthiness is of paramount importance, and with Queens Park Rangers fans having been dealt a bad hand in the past with False dawns, we have become an ever cynical set of supporters. With that in mind telling supporters one thing, and doing something different is not a wise stance to take when attempting to become popular with supporters.
This element of mistrust hangs in the air, compounded by physically dislodging supporters in the South Africa Road stand to make way for the W12/C Club and forcing people to move their tickets from the newly designated criteria of Gold to something that more befits their budget, Bronze.
It seems that for all the business ideals purported by the new board of directors they are forgetting a fundamental rule of business practice: Don`t Upset Your Loyal Customers. This definition however should not be misconstrued, evidently we wouldn`t leave for local competition, but nevertheless you would dislodge in essence the very people who made the club what it is today, the generation of support.
The worries of the loyal supporters base is that the club is becoming like the proverbial pub down the end of the road, that after noticing the regulars were all they had, they shut down, and had mass refurbishment, and as a result received a new higher market clientele. Whist their regulars were left to contemplate life without their local.
Flavio Briatore`s Club?
As was previously highlighted in Vital QPR`s interview with QPR Italia, we are referred to in Italy famously as Flavio Briatore`s club or even project. This is indeed becoming more apparent in England, with Rangers filling newspaper inches only in the rumours column, whilst the football side remains untouched.
The very fact that Luigi De Canio has come and gone is more important to most media outlets, is more important than the style of football that Rangers were playing under him. "Is De Canio Homesick?", "Unsettled?". This was accompanied by ill-informed punditry looking to concentrate on the newly found glamour of Queens Park Rangers, rather than the existing product being shown on the pitch.
This of course is not to say that Mr. Briatore has not brought a positive influence to Queens Park Rangers, he has indeed been the catalyst for some exciting times at Loftus Road and still to this days fans such as myself cannot wait for the beginning of the new season.
Indeed however there are concerns that we are leaving Queens Park Rangers, and the key ideals that our club stands for, and making way for The Dawn of a New Era. Where the clientele is new with deep pockets and the generations of support built up to support Queens Park Rangers are being displaced, and no longer feel as connected with their club as they once were.
So according to some media outlets, its goodbye QPR of Bowles, Marsh and Ferdinand, and hello QPR of Briatore, Jimmy Rock Star and Tara Supermodel. People who don`t necessarily care or understand what`s happening, but are raising the profile of Flavio Briatore`s brand, whilst massaging each others ego`s.
Raising the bar?
Initially as this season drew to a close, we once again were reminded of the words of the holy project, whereby this season passed was about safety, and this season was about consolidating a top half finish. That aspiration seemed a reasonable enough target considering where the club had come from, and how we planned to distribute our vast wealth.
However when the season ticket prices were announced, did the bar get raised a tad? Was that the board saying this season is promotion boys? Because £599 seems an awful lot of money to pay for a season of consolidation.
So have the board of directors made a rod for their own back, thus making a playoff place absolutely imperative. For my money, the bar has been raised and Queens Park Rangers need to show ambition to achieve playoffs and more to go some way to justify an increase in price to this extent.
So, what next?
Keeping this dangerous precedent in mind, one would hope that prices of this magnitude don`t become the norm season after season, otherwise before long the face of Loftus Road will have dramatically changed. Whether this is for better or for worse, the price increase indicates that the board will be happy to see any faces fill the seats, providing that pockets are deep and stadiums are full.
From a personal perspective, I will continue to come to Loftus Road as long as is physically capable, if that involves dropping the season ticket and buying tickets for occasional games, then so be it, however much this will wrench at the heart strings.
Unfortunately however, if the trends that have been set continue, The Dawn of the New Era for many Queens Park Rangers fans, will be a party in their own house, but they`re not invited.
What do you think of the issues presented? We want to know YOUR thoughts!
To have your say you can comment in the space provided below, or chat about it on the forum.
VITAL QPR IS 100% UNOFFICIAL - FOR THE FANS, BY THE FANS
Date:Saturday May 17 2008
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