Going to a football match doesn’t come cheap. The cost of tickets, travel, food and replica shirts all add up, and that’s before you include the emotional cost of watching your team suffer, year after year, without any real hope of anything changing.
Just us? Never mind.
We’ve looked at the cost of season tickets for all the top flight clubs in England, to see who has to pay the most to watch a game, and how long they’ll have to save to afford it. Forget how you’re doing in the actual football league - this is the one that really matters.
Ivan Toney might not think they’re that exciting, but fans of Brentford might be excited to know they’ve come top of our accessibility table. Compared to other Premier League sides, The Bees’ players earn a relatively close amount to their fans, meaning they’re better connected to their supporters. Season tickets are also affordable, and while priority is given to last season’s holders, there is no waitlist for new fans wanting to see the action.
Southampton also do well. There is no waitlist for a season ticket, and the price of one is within reach of their average fans. Sure, this season might not have been the best to watch the Saints go marching in, but with safety guaranteed next season could always be better.
It’s less good news if you’re a fan of either Man Utd or Liverpool. Sure, you win more trophies (at least Liverpool fans do) but that success comes at a cost. Liverpool’s season ticket waiting list got so full they shut it in 2011, while at Old Trafford you’ll be behind 120,000 people in the queue.
Season tickets also cost more there. A lot more. And due to the huge salaries both sets of players are on, there’s a vast disparity between what they earn and what those in the stands take home. Read on to discover how your club fares.
Fans vs Players: Who Earns The Most Compared To Their Supporters?
We all know footballers are on silly money, but just how much money is it compared to the people who help pay their wages? We’ve done the maths to find out.
Brentford players earn 2,775% of their fans average salary
If you’re a Brentford fan, you’ve got every reason to be happy with how your first year in the top flight is going. Despite being many pundit’s top tip for relegation, you’ve defied the odds and sit comfortably in mid-table.
The average Bees’ player earns around £1,053,000 a year - 2,775% more than their fans, who take home £36,628 in the same time period. While that figure might seem shocking, it’s actually the closest wage comparison in the Premier League. Just wait until we get to the other end of the table…
Norwich fans earn 3,128% less than the players they support
It’s not been a great season for Norwich, has it? But as the saying often goes for them - what goes up, must come down. On the bright side, their players only earn 3,128% of fans’ average salaries, pocketing £995,973 a year compared to £30,857.
You might be bottom of the Premier League, Canaries, but you’re second best in these rankings.
Watford players earn 3,680% of the salaries of their fans
Completing our top three is Watford, who pay their players an average salary of £1,338,428 - around 3,680% of fans' average wages, which sit at £35,409. Just like Norwich, Watford are another club that struggle to make promotion stick. If anyone can do it, Roy can, unless the board get twitchy fingers again and decide they need their 15th manager in 10 years.
Players at Liverpool earn a huge 18,113% of their fans’ wages
It’s a good time to be a Liverpool fan. After years, and years, and years of waiting for a Premier League title, Jurgen Klopp comes in and creates a force to be reckoned with. Fast, attacking football. Flair, flicks, and one very good Egyptian that can do no wrong.
But all that success comes at a cost. While the average Liverpool fan earns £31,907, the players they cheer on at Anfield pick up £5,811,347 - an 18,113% difference.
Man Utd’s team take home 18099% of their fans salaries
This one might be a little bit harder to take. While Liverpool players use their wages to win trophies and entertain the masses, over at Old Trafford it’s a slightly different story. With wages of £6,792,067 - the highest average in the whole league - you’d expect great things. But despite earning 18,099% of their fans’ average salary of £37,322, the Red Devils might not even make Europe this season.
Chelsea players get paid 15,769% more than their fans, but for how long?
It wasn’t too long ago that Chelsea were seen as the best team in the Premier League, but this season they’re a long way back from the top two, and that’s just the start of their problems. Unless a new owner is found - fast - their players’ average salaries of £5,812,560 might be a thing of the past.
As it stands, they earn 15,769% more than their fans’ salaries of £36,628, but who knows how long that will last?
How Long Do You Need To Work To Afford To Watch The Top Teams Play?
Based on the average hourly wage for fans of Premier League teams, we can work out how long they’d typically have to work to afford a season ticket. Some fans could save up the cost in a week, while it would take others much, much longer.
Southampton fans only need to work for 27.86 to afford a season ticket
It’s safe to say it’s been a pretty average season for Southampton. They’ve never really been at risk of going down, but they’ve never looked like challenging at the other end either. But when it comes to the cost table, the Saints are marching in all the right directions.
The most expensive season ticket at Saint Mary’s is £475, meaning the average earner - who’ll take home £17.05 an hour - only needs to work for 27.86 hours to afford one.
That’s just over three days, if you work eight hour shifts.
Burnley fans need to save for 34.12 hours for a season ticket
Times have been tough for Clarets fans this season, and if their form doesn’t improve over the next few games, they could find themselves in serious trouble.
But on the bright side, it’s been fairly affordable for people to watch their decline. The most expensive Burnley season ticket costs £455, which would take the average worker 34.12 hours to save up for on a £13.33 hourly salary.
Toffees need 36.83 hours of work to watch them play
Everton have been a nearly side for a long time now, but this season they’re doing it at the wrong end of the table. Is it time for Frank Lampard to get out of the dugout and onto the pitch? The most expensive season ticket at Goodison Park costs £565, something the average Evertonian would need to work 36.83 hours for at an hourly salary of £15.34.
Spurs’ most expensive season ticket is £2,233
The problem with building a new stadium is that you have to pay for it eventually. That might be one of the reasons why season tickets at Tottenhams imaginatively named ‘Tottenham Hotspur Stadium’ are so expensive. It would take the average Spurs’ fan - on an hourly wage of £17.28 - a whopping 129.21 hours of work to afford the cost of their priciest annual pass.
Newcastle fans need 62.51 hours of work for season ticket prices
Who knows what the future of Newcastle United looks like? They may well be the richest club in the world, and their summer transfer window will definitely be interesting. Fans willing to fork out the £1,055 required for their most expensive season ticket could be about to see fireworks, even if they have to work 62.51 hours to afford it.
Gunners’ fans earn an average of £17.28 an hour - they’ll need every penny!
The most expensive season ticket for Arsenal costs £1,010 (half the price of Spurs, for those interested). To afford that, their fans would need to work 58.44 hours at an average hourly wage of £17.28. That will buy you a very comfy seat, some eye-pleasing football, and not a lot of trophies. Each to their own.
The Cost Of Living vs The Cost Of Football
As the cost of living goes up, for many people this will mean having to weigh up the pros and cons of the cost of football. We’ve worked out how much of the average rent for a 1-bed flat in the area you’d need to set aside to buy a season ticket, making it simple to see exactly how much your second, much louder home costs.
Newcastle fans would need 2.18 months of rent for a season ticket
If you’re looking for a 1-bed flat in Newcastle, you’d need about £484 a month. However, if you’d rather have a season ticket at St James’ Park, you’d need £1,055. Best hope your landlord is also a massive Newcastle fan or that could be an awkward conversation.
Want to watch Tottenham play? You’ll need to save rent for 1.72 months
If you can afford to live near Tottenham’s ground, the chances are you’ve got a bit of money going spare. The average 1-bed flat in the area costs £1,300.52 a month, meaning you’d need to skip rent for 1.72 months to afford the £2,233 season ticket cost.
Liverpool fans would need 1.65 months of rent
Is it worth using up your rent for 1.65 months to watch Jurgen Klopp’s team? You tell us. An average 1-bed flat around Liverpool costs £525.44, while a top tier season ticket would set you back £869. In the long term, it might be cheaper to just live in Anfield.
Season Ticket Wait Times: How Long Does It Take To Get In?
So you’ve got the money set aside, you’re fully kitted out, and you just KNOW that this year is going to be the one. But how long do you have to wait before you can actually buy a season ticket? Because of how popular some Premier League teams are, it can take years before you get your chance.
Liverpool’s wait list has been closed since 2011
So many people signed up for a Liverpool season ticket that the club took the decision to close their waitlist over a decade ago. That means no new names can be added to it. If you want to watch the Reds play every week, it could be a long time yet before you get the chance.
Things aren’t much better on the blue side of the Mersey. Everton have 22,000 people on their season ticket waitlist, meaning over half their 39,572 seater stadium would need to decide not to bother one year.
You could be waiting a decade to watch Arsenal play
If you like your passes short and your seats warmed, you’ll need to be patient - Arsenal’s season ticket waiting time is currently at around 10 years. Still, if you think about it, that’s less time that it’s been since you last won the Premier League. It’ll fly by.
Man Utd have 120,000 on their waitlist
There’s often talk of Man Utd expanding their stadium, which would be great news for the 120,000 hoping to get a seat at Old Trafford. If you prefer your shirts blue, you could be in luck - Man City offer a first come, first serve deal on their season tickets. Get queueing.
Get Our Latest Tips & Predictions On The Premier League & More