UK football fans have been talking with their feet - threatening walkouts at Premier League clubs which, they claim, charge too much for tickets. As Ivor Bennett reports, the huge TV revenues the clubs earn are adding to the pressure for them to reconsider their financial priorities.
It was a powerful message. Even more so because of what happened next. The walkout by Liverpool fans over rising ticket prices followed swiftly by their team conceding two goals. It's not just the players who need the supporters though, but the club too. A reason why Liverpool's management backed down from the price hike plans, says Supporters' Group Chairman James McKenna. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMES MCKENNA, CHAIRMAN OF SPIRIT OF SHANKLY LIVERPOOL SUPPORTERS GROUP, SAYING: "Supporters are important to a football club but they're important to this 'product' that goes on television. if you price people out you lose that atmosphere, you lose those future generations and it would appear they've listened." Pressure on clubs to make the sport more affordable is building fast. Prime Minister David Cameron has told Parliament he'd "look very carefully" at the issue. Fans of league leaders Leicester are the latest to plan a protest. They're threatening to boycott the first five minutes of Sunday's match at Arsenal Home to the league's most expensive ticket. At 97 pounds, it's a third more than the maximum price charged by German champions Bayern Munich, whose fans can also watch a game for as little as 12 pounds. but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says comparisons aren't helpful. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARSENAL MANAGER ARSENE WENGER SAYING: "Bayern Munich payed one euro for their ground whereas we paid 128 million pounds for our ground. In France, they pay nothing at all for their stadium, they pay nothing at all for their maintenance. We pay absolutely everything ourselves so we have to generate more revenue." But with a new 8-billion-pound-plus TV deal looming, many believe clubs have revenue enough. The supporters, they say, are what matter.