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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mess Up Hurt QPR....Fans Forced Into Debt: The High Cost of Supporting a Football Team

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London Informer/Paul Warburton - FA mess-up costs QPR
-QPR lost a vital player in the opening day draw against Blackpool because either the Italian FA or the English variety mucked up – take your pick.
- Alessandro Pellicori would have been a sub in the 1-1 with Blackpool, but amazingly his registration by the FA was delayed.
- Amazing, because by then, the 28-year-old striker from Avellino, who officially signed on July 29 although the club had lined up the move well before, featured in the pre-season win over Southampton.
- There was every chance his late arrival as a sub in the game might have squeezed out a winner against Blackpool – and given Rs two extra points.
- Pellicori netted within minutes of coming on against Exeter three days later.
- And a Rangers insider reckoned the FA’s move from Soho Square to their new headquarters in Wembley saw the application lost in the post.
- "The registration was sent in good time, but it never got processed," said the source. "It had to be sent a second time. You can imagine what manager Jim Magilton might think if Rs come up two points short of promotion in May."
- But an FA spokesman was adamant the required documentation only arrived once from the Italian FA - and that was on the Monday after the Blackpool game.
- The spokesman said: "It was dealt with immediately." - London Informer

Football Fan Census - 18 Aug 2009 - Football fans forced into debt as cost of support rises, study finds
- As many as one-in-five fans of English clubs have been forced to go into debt in order to follow their team, it has been revealed.
- According to new research carried out by Virgin Money, with the cost of being a follower of a top-flight team having risen by 15 per cent over the past year alone, the typical supporter now borrows an average of £682 to support their passion.
- Notably, one in five of those who have gone into the red are between £1,000 and £2,500 in debt, with the study also showing that supporting a major team can often come with a higher price tag than supporting a smaller club.
- Indeed, the research found Arsenal fans to be the most in debt, with the average indebted Gooner borrowing £1,284 to support their team, while over at Old Trafford, this figure was found to be £1,231.
- Commenting, Virgin Money spokesman Grant Bather said that most fans can "ill afford" the rising costs associated with the modern game.
- He added, however: "For many fans, supporting their club is non-negotiable so even in a recession they will find the money to ensure they are in the stands next season, even if that means being in debt."
- Taking into account the current economic climate, Blackburn recently cut the price of their season tickets to just £199 for the current campaign.
- Written by Terry Mitchell - Football Fan Census

Press Association - Soccer fans see red over costs
- The cost of being a dedicated football supporter has put one in five fans in the red, new research has found.
Arsenal fans are the most in debt, with each owing an average of £1,284.
According to the research by Virgin Money, of those in debt, 20% owe between £1,000 and £2,500. The average owed is £682.
Season ticket holders are the worst hit, with 22% owing over £1,000.
According to the study, fans of the Big Four teams - Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea - need to borrow the most. Spurs fans were the only supporters outside the Big Four to have average borrowings of more than £1,000.
When it came to football-related debt, West Ham and Aston Villa fans had the most unhealthy bank balances. Of these, 27% claimed following their team had landed them in the red.
Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City were close behind with 26% of supporters claiming to be in debt because of their love for the game.
- The cost of being a fan has risen by 15.1% year on year since January 2006, according to Virgin Money's Football Fan Inflation Index.
Grant Bather, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: "Football fans can ill afford rising costs to follow their team, which explains why so many have borrowed to make ends meet. For many fans, supporting their club is non-negotiable so even in a recession they will find the money to ensure they are in the stands next season, even if that means being in debt."
-Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation added: "It's not surprising that fans of clubs playing in Europe have some of the biggest debts - following your team abroad can be an expensive business." - Money

Virgin Money - Football fans in the red
One in five supporters is in debt because of football, says Virgin Money research

Cost of being a fan rising – Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index running at 15%
Football fans are having to borrow to pay for their love of the game as the cost of being a dedicated supporter continues to soar, new research from Virgin Money shows.
- Results from Virgin Money’s authoritative Football Fans’ Inflation Index show that one in every five (20%) fans is having to borrow money as a direct result of supporting their team. The average amount owed by those with football debts is £682 each, though 20 per cent owe between £1,000 and £2,500.
- Season ticket holders are most in the red – 27 per cent are borrowing with over 22 per cent of those owing over £1,000. A balance of £1,500 on a credit card charging 16.9 per cent standard APR would incur annual interest of £253.50. However Virgin Money offers 16 months interest free balance transfers on its credit card and is encouraging fans who are paying interest on their cards to ease the pain and switch.

Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Inflation Index, which has tracked the cost of being a fan since January 2006, shows costs for fans have risen 15.1 per cent year-on-year and by 29.6 per cent compared to when the index launched in October 2006.
- Grant Bather, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: “Football fans can ill afford rising costs to follow their team, which explains why so many have borrowed to make ends meet. For many fans, supporting their club is non-negotiable so even in a recession they will find the money to ensure they are in the stands next season, even if that means being in debt.
- “If fans are going to pay the money to follow their team, they may as well ensure they aren’t paying interest on the money they’ve borrowed by transferring their balances onto a zero per cent credit card.”
- The Virgin Money research shows that success also breeds debt, with fans of the Big Four teams needing to borrow the most. Arsenal fans are most in debt, with each fan in the red owing an average of £1,284. Spurs fans are the only supporters outside of the Big Four to have average borrowings over £1,000.

Premier league Club
Average football related borrowings of fans
% of fans with football related borrowings


Man Utd




West Ham





Aston Villa







Man City



-West Ham and Aston Villa have the most fans with debts relating to football with 27 per cent of their supporters admitting to being in the red to follow their side. Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City fans are close behind with 26 per cent each.
- Malcolm Clarke, Chairman of the Football Supporters Federation, commented: “Season tickets are a big outlay, particularly as they come at the same time as fans often have to pay for their holidays, and the deferred payments schemes of some clubs have sometimes carried high interest charges. We would like to see clubs looking to see if they can do more to help fans.
- “It’s not surprising that fans of clubs playing in Europe have some of the biggest debts – following your team abroad can be an expensive business. That was one of the many reasons why we opposed the game 39 proposals.
- “An example of very bad practice which doesn’t help fans balance their books is Man Utd’s insistence that season ticket holders are required to buy tickets for all the European and FA games, which they introduced last season. That’s a practice which we don’t want to see copied by other clubs.”

Research for the index recently revealed that 30 per cent of regular match goers have resolved to go to fewer live games in the ‘09/’10 season because of the cost – up from 26 per cent in pre-season last year.
- Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Price Index shows that in the past two and a half years the cost of attending games has risen by 29.60 per cent. The index is aimed at helping supporters keep track of the rises and falls in the costs of supporting their team. The company identified the match day essentials fans buy and keeps tabs on increases and decreases.
- At the launch of the index in January 2006, the match day basket of goods** cost £77.95. However the most recent analysis puts the cost at £101.02 – a rise of £23.07. Virgin Money’s Football Fans’ Price Index runs every three months and the firm’s research team examines the cost of items such as a gallon of petrol, match tickets, food, alcohol, train tickets and replica shirts.
- Ends -
Notes to Editors
* Football Fans’ Census interviewed a representative sample of 4,032 football fans between 8 and 20 July 2009.
** The basket of goods includes a gallon of petrol, a pint of lager, a bacon roll, a train fare, a match ticket, a replica shirt, pay-per-view cost and a match programme.
For further information:
Grant Bather, Public Relations Manager, Virgin Money
Tel: 0207 111 10212 Kevan Reilly/Billy Partridge Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel. 0207 638 9571
Football Supporters' Federation Malcolm Clarke 07939 594 379
Steven Powell 07881 950613
About Virgin Money...About The Football Fans’ Census....About the Football Supporters' Federation: - Virgin Money

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The QPR team in that final Sousa victory game: Cerny 6, Ramage 6, Connolly 6 (Helguson 61, 6), Gorkss 7, Delaney 6, Lopez 7, Leigertwood 7, Alberti 5 (Routledge 45, 7), Ephraim 7, Taarabt 8, Di Carmine 6 (Cook 72). - Goals: Lopez 65, Taarabt 81
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