The summer of 2012 was almost enough to kill my love for football. Having spent the last decade as a Cardiff City season ticket holder and attending at least 20 away games a season, the club was ‘rebranded’. In the biggest demonstration of the role money plays in British football since MK Dons, the club as I knew it was no more. Having decided to boycott the club until they returned to a bluebird badge and the historic blue home strip, I was subjected to a large amount of abuse and threats. Just when I was beginning to question if football was worth it, I attended Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund. The Dortmund supporters showed me what football could be like. What it should be like. The support was great, but there are excellent supporters in Britain anyway. Leeds United and Crystal Palace are two examples of how British football supporters can create an atmosphere. The main difference was in the mentality of the German supporters. Above all else, they were having fun.
The banner they displayed said it all. Supporters, not Customers. Modern football convinces football fans that they are replaceable. An unnecessary burden to the world of brand fusion and Sky TV. If you are an away supporter you will be forced to pay a lot of money for a ticket with a poor view and limited facilities. Police and stewards will make sure you don’t drink too much, sing too much and heaven forbid, stand up. Take a train to the game and they’ll walk you through the streets like a criminal. Your coach will be surrounded by police vehicles in a style usually only reserved for international terrorists or visiting heads of state.
Germany proves it doesn’t have to be this way. You can buy a ticket to watch the Bundesliga champions for less than a ticket to watch fourth tier football in Britain. Once you get inside the stadium you can stand on a terrace, watch a high standard of football and witness an excellent game of football to boot. Pundits are quick to tell you that the English Premiership is the best league in the world, and if you’re a customer then maybe they’re right. This website is for the people who believe football is more than just Super Sunday and parachute payments. Star strikers who kiss the badge then leave six months later for another £30,000 a week somewhere else. Being treated as a second class citizen and accepting it because “that’s football”. Arguing over whether a player is ‘worth’ £50,000,000.
Supporters. Not customers.