There’s been a lot of anger in the Reading fanbase around this weekend’s match at Leeds United. Loyal Royals making the trip up to Elland Road will be charged a huge amount at £39, which of course is nothing new, but Leeds crowing about the expected low attendance in the away end on their Twitter account twisted the knife - and was rightly earned by opposition fans and neutrals alike.
Having to pay £39 to watch a Championship game is obviously obscene; it’s well above the normal rate in the second tier, let alone the top tier’s cap for away fans of £30. If Leeds United want to be a Premier League side, they should probably have enough class for the Championship first.
Of course, this doesn’t take into account other expenses for those making the trip up, not least travel and potentially accommodation. Although Reading’s free coach travel will help many of those supporters, it won’t help everyone, so those taking the train up will have that cost on top of their match ticket.
Add it all together, and there’s understandably plenty of annoyance at both Leeds’ ticket policy for away fans and their attitude towards it on social media. That annoyance has, quite understandably, persuaded some Reading supporters that the club’s blanket policy of Twenty’s Plenty - which quite simply caps adult tickets in the away end at £20 - shouldn’t be a blanket policy.
Why let Leeds fans into the Madejski Stadium for £20 when Reading fans making the trek up to Elland Road will have to pay almost twice that? It’s an idea that I have some sympathy with. The current state of affairs is an injustice; Leeds won’t drop their prices any time soon and I’m, to put it mildly, not that convinced the EFL will step in to put fans first.
It’s left Reading with a simple choice: treat Leeds fans as their team treats Reading fans, or stick with their current policy and put supporters first - regardless of the actions of their club. There’s been no indication though that Reading plan to alter course, and that’s exactly the right approach to take.
In reality, English football is badly in need of broad, decisive action from the authorities to protect the interests of fans (and not just in relation to ticket prices), but in the meantime it’s up to individual clubs to do what they can. Besides Reading’s policy of Twenty’s Plenty, research from The Athletic shows that West Bromwich Albion also charge £20 and Cardiff City come in slightly higher at £21, while Wigan Athletic’s vary between £15 and £23 and Birmingham City’s go from £20 to £30.
What’s more, previous high chargers have been known to change their ways. Not all that long ago, a trip to Ipswich Town would have set you back more than £30, but the Reading fans who were in attendance for last season’s late winner at Portman Road only had to fork out £12. Kudos to the Tractor Boys.
So there’s certainly hope yet for Leeds United. I’ll gladly congratulate them when they start putting supporters first by unconditionally backing Twenty’s Plenty.