The much-awaited ticket details have been released for Reading's FA Cup third round tie at Manchester United on January 7th, and there has been a fair amount of uproar about the price of a seat in Old Trafford for the game.
The Royals have been given an allocation of 5,446 tickets, and the Red Devils had laid out a pricing structure that would see visiting supporters charged between £37-£45 for an adult ticket. As if the third richest club in the world needed anymore money?!
However, in a superb gesture by Reading, they have decided to substantially subsidise the cost of adult tickets for all Season Ticket Holders, Half Season Ticket Holders and Members. It's a fantastic move by the club that should ensure a great away following and comes just a couple of months after they became one of the first Football League clubs to back the Twenty's Plenty campaign. Full ticket details can be found on the club website.
So I think we're all agreed that the un-subsidised £45 is a ridiculous amount to pay for a third round FA Cup tie, so here's nine things you could buy instead with that amount of money.
1. Tickets to Sutton United vs AFC Wimbledon
When the FA announced which third round ties had been selected for TV coverage, many people were surprised that Sutton United vs AFC Wimbledon had not been picked, despite the clubs both having cup pedigree and being just five miles apart. Adult tickets are £23 to sit and £20 to stand, so you and a friend could head to The Borough Sports Ground for the price of just one ticket to Old Trafford. (via SuttonUnited.net)
2. Spa day
Need to relax after watching some dire football at the Madejski Stadium in the last couple of years (excluding the last four months)? A spa day might just do the trick, and coming in at bang on £45 is the 'Silver Pamper Day' at the Stables Spa at Clarion Collection Harte and Garter Hotel in Windsor. This includes a 25 minute treatment such as an express facial, pedicure or manicure, back neck and shoulder massage, body exfoliation (anyone know what that means?!) or head massage plus two hours use of the spa. (via lastminute.com)
3. 36 cans of Carabao
Carabao are 'making waves' in the UK, sponsoring the EFL Cup (from next season), Chelsea and Reading. But the majority of fans have probably never actually tried the energy drink, which originates in Thailand. You can however buy packs of 12 325ml cans on Amazon for £14.99, meaning £45 will get you 36 cans. You can choose from the 'Original', 'Green Apple', and 'Sugar Free' variants of the drink.
4. Watch Maidenhead United play
If you don't want to travel to Sutton for an alternative football game, why not go closer to home and go to York Road, home of Maidenhead United. The Magpies are flying high in National League South, six points clear at the top of the table having lost just one league game all season. With tickets priced at just £10 for adults, you could watch four games and still have a fiver left over. Bargain. (via pitchero.com)
5. Stay warm with some Reading FC accessories
If you feel inspired by Garath McCleary's excellent modelling, then why not buy yourself a Reading FC Christmas jumper (£30) to keep yourself warm (and err...stylish) this winter? To keep the heat in even more, you could add the 'Winter Warmer Gift Set' (£14) to your basket which includes a scarf and portable coffee cup. All that with a £1 to spare. (via readingfcdirect.co.uk)
6. Nine tubs of Celebrations
Everyone loves chocolate, especially around Christmas time when all the family are around. So why not treat your guests this year with not one box of Celebrations, but NINE! That way everyone gets a chance to have a Galaxy without the mad scramble to claim the few in the tub, whilst you can be sure that even with that much chocolate, all of the Bountys will still be left at the end! One 750g tub costs £5 from Sainsbury's (other supermarkets and brands of chocolate selection tubs are available).
7. Jaap Stam's autobiography
Written in 2001, Head to Head is the autobiography of a 29 year old Jaap Stam before he probably even knew Reading Football Club was a 'thing'. The Dutchman was in the prime of his career at the time, having won the treble with Manchester United two years earlier. Want to get inside the bald head of the boss? This is the perfect chance. Copies on Amazon range from a 1p used copy to a £999 brand new copy, but your budget of £45 will be more than enough to get a new copy that doesn't look like someone's dog has eaten half of it.
8. Spend a night in a Wigwam
Fancy a night away for two with a twist? Why not stay in a Wigwam in Cornwall for a unique camping experience. Here's how buyagift.co.uk describe it:
"Forget gloomy nights spent listening to the noise of flapping tents - this one night break at Ruthern Valley is a great way to enjoy a comfortable and unique camping experience. Your bed for the night will be in a stable and comfy wooden wigwam featuring heating, mattresses on bunks and other holiday necessities. In your own personal wigwam you’ll be kept toasty through the night, ready for a day’s adventure in Cornwall. Included in your stay is use of an outdoor dining area, perfect for picnics and barbecues."
Who cares if you have to travel all the way to Cornwall?! One night is priced at exactly £45!
9. One way Eurostar ticket to Amsterdam
Not that I know why you would only want a one way ticket to Amsterdam, but I suppose it's another way to immerse yourself in the 'Dutch Revolution' currently happening at the Madejski Stadium. Hop on the Eurostar at London St. Pancras to Brussels, where you'll need to change and catch the train to Amsterdam. Tickets start from £44.50. (via Eurostar.com)