Ben Kosky wrote the following article in ‘The Kilburn Times’ today.
QPR have denied that miscalculations in their budget prompted the controversial decision to raise ticket prices just six weeks in to the new season. Rangers supporters reacted angrily on internet forums this week after the club announced that the top seats for their next match at Loftus Road would now cost a whopping ¬£50.00 each. Unsurprisingly, the move appears highly unpopular – particularly after the club increased prices across the board in the summer, with some tickets costing up to an additional 50 per cent.
But Deputy Managing Director Ali Russell told the Times: “There are no errors. We’re trying to build a football club which is sustainable and the Board felt it was necessary to take the club forward. “We need to increase revenue in line with other areas of the business and all areas have got to come together to hit our targets. We feel we’re offering value for money and we want to give our season ticket holders the best value. The base price has not changed – you can still get a ticket for ¬£20, but we’re making an effort to maximise our revenue for the best views in the stadium.”
Under the new banding system, seats for Rangers’ match against Derby on 27th September will range from ¬£50 (platinum area) to ¬£40 (gold), ¬£30 (silver) and ¬£20 (bronze) for adults. But prices remain at the lower rates of ¬£35, ¬£30, ¬£25 and ¬£20 respectively for the Blackpool game three days later, which is designated Category C. Future matches will be graded according to factors such as the day of the week and standard of opposition, while tickets for under-eights remain free in silver and bronze areas. “I think there are always risks with prices,” Russell admitted. “We’ve looked at prices both in the Championship and the Premier League and we believe we’re providing a good entertainment product. Some games are going to be more expensive than others, but that isn’t a new concept in football. Everything that’s been spent has gone into running the team and that will continue.”
QPR co-owner Flavio Briatore recently claimed that the club had not spent anything on transfer fees during the summer – yet they did recoup ¬£500,000 from the sale of Simon Walton to Plymouth. And it cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that only last week Rangers handed a contract to a 34 year-old ex-international who plays in a position where, even after ditching Walton, the club already had several options. Whatever Tommasi’s pedigree, he is possible the most illogical signing in QPR’s history – and supporters must be wondering why they are apparently expected to help fund it. While Russell declined to comment on specific team matters, he added: “It’s difficult to know what players are going to be available and how your squad is going to be made up. The transfer window is now closed and we’re trying to balance the books, but I certainly don’t want to give the impression that this is to cover any individual player’s salary.”
If there were any doubts about the reasons for signing Tommasi, who made his first appearance in a QPR shirt in the Reserves 1-1 draw with Reading on Monday, they were dispelled by R’s boss Iain Dowie. Asked whether he had personally wanted to bring the former Roma midfield man to Loftus Road, Dowie answered: “He was available and he was happy to come to London. The game’s changing and you either resist it or you go with it – as long as I’m in charge of team selection, that’s the Holy Grail for me.” It will be fascinating to see exactly how many hard-pressed Rangers fans reach into their pockets again to see Dowie’s next home team selection a week on Saturday.