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Southampton fans set for expensive trip to Leeds United on Saturday
SAINTS fans are facing their most expensive away trip of the season at Leeds this weekend.
Supporters have complained about “ridiculous” ticket prices for Saturday’s televised Championship match at Elland Road.
Leeds are charging adults £36 for a seat, while the cost for over-60s is £29 and under-16s £25.
Those represent the highest prices for any away match this season for Saints – and are more than some visiting supporters would pay at Premier League giants Arsenal.
Season ticket holder Alex Bourne is taking his nine-year-old son to the game, but has hit out at the cost.
“It is a tired stadium with a midtable team, yet they are charging Premiership prices,” said Mr Bourne, who has also bought two travel tickets at £26 each, meaning a total outlay of more than £100.
“The majority of Championship and League One clubs charge typically between £5 and £10 for a child of nine.
“West Ham shocked us with £19, but Leeds have managed to trump this.
“I am worried that with these ridiculous prices that many Saints fans will decide to stay away and watch on TV, leaving the team without the magnificent support they have received at every away game this season.”
So far this campaign, West Ham, Ipswich and Pompey are the only other clubs to have charged adult Saints fans £30 or more for a ticket.
The Hammers’ £19 for under-16s is tops in that category, with all other clubs pricing tickets at £15 or less for those below the age of 16.
London Saints chairman Mick Strickland spoke to his group’s members about the costs.
He said: “There were no positive comments about the Leeds ticket prices.
“Apart from the ridiculous £36 full ticket, concern was also made at the £25/£29 cost for the under 16s and/or concessions.
“The pricing is in spite of the game being moved for television at a time when many fans cannot get back home.”
Leeds, who have made this weekend’s game a category A match, said the away prices are the same for home fans in the west stand, where the Saints supporters will be sat.
Travelling fans used to be situated in the south stand at Elland Road, but were moved so that Leeds supporters would be sat behind both goals.
Season ticket holder Steve Grant said fans will need to vote with their feet in order to facilitate any change in pricing.“Ultimately clubs will charge what they feel they can get away with charging,” he said.
“Leeds and chairman Ken Bates aren’t the first and they certainly won’t be the last.
“While I generally hate the way fans are treated as “customers”, perhaps if that’s the way certain clubs are going to act, the fans should act like genuine “customers” by executing their right of choice and simply refuse to pay the money.
“That’s certainly the choice I’ve made, so I’ll be watching the game from the comfort of my own living room on this occasion.”
Earlier this month, Doncaster chairman John Ryan said he was “sickened” that Leeds had made Rovers’ visit to Elland Road a category A match – meaning they faced the same prices that Saints fans are.
But despite the frustration among some Saints supporters at the cost, Elland Road still looks set for a big crowd on Saturday.
The game will be manager Neil Warnock’s first in charge at home, and the new Leeds boss is calling on fans to show their support.
“I’ll be disappointed if there’s not nearly 30,000 at the game against Southampton on Saturday night,” he said.
“I’m hoping there’ll be a 30,000 crowd and I can’t wait for it. That’s what you’re in football for.”