Yesterday evening, The Guardian published the following article on their website:
That took me back a bit - what with the premise of the article being, well, completely wrong. As I’m sure you all know, Reading FC did terrific work at the start of last season by signing up to Twenty’s Plenty, a fan-led campaign which calls for away tickets to be capped at £20. Not only did the club introduce that a year ago, but they also did it unconditionally - if you’re a visiting supporter at the Madejski Stadium, you will not have to pay more than £20 for the privilege.
However, this article in The Guardian suggests something completely different: that it is in fact Ipswich Town, not Reading, who deserve praise. The piece describes the Tractor Boys’ ticketing initiative - capping away tickets at £25, when the opposition team agrees to do the same in the reverse match.
Side point: that’s an excellent development from Ipswich, who had been one of the worse offenders in the division for high ticket prices. Good on them for doing it.
That’s very, very unfair on Reading FC.
In signing up to Twenty’s Plenty in July 2016, Reading led the way for making football affordable for supporters. Sure, other clubs have helped (Aston Villa and Cardiff City both matched our price when we played at their grounds), but they haven’t gone as far as the Royals.
The article does mention that other clubs are cheaper than Ipswich:
“Ipswich are hardly the only club alive to the issue: Hull charge away fans as little as £18 in some areas and, on Friday night, theirs will pay £15 at Derby. A number of others come in below the £25 mark but it will take more to reverse the overall trend and make the Championship a far more appealing proposition for those travelling.”
Similarly, when questioned about the article on Twitter, the writer Nick Ames said:
I've said in the article that other clubs were cheaper than Ipswich - read the whole thing.— Nick Ames (@NickAmes82) September 7, 2017
Separately, he describes the choice of Ipswich Town for the purposes of the piece as “a hook” - because apparently Ipswich articles are all the rage nowadays.
To be fair to Nick, he probably wasn’t the one who chose the headline and the blurb, both of which very much give the impression that Ipswich are somehow pioneering cheap tickets in the second tier. Indeed, when you compare the headline/blurb with the body of text, they don’t really match, which suggests that an editor penned the headline and intro to jazz up the piece.
Nonetheless, writing an article which leads on how good Ipswich Town are, whilst ignoring Reading (the word “Reading” isn’t used once), is extremely misleading and unfair. It can’t be explained away by saying “a number of others come in below the £25 mark...”
It’s very, very sloppy.
I’m sure this was nothing more than an honest mistake - after all, Reading didn’t make a song and dance about signing up to Twenty’s Plenty when they did it, so I don’t blame someone for missing that it happened. Regardless, it’s a real shame that the club doesn’t get credit where it’s due.