Away fans are often considered the most ardent of supporters in the Premier League, bringing with them a sense of occasion and a vocal support than can often drown out the home fans at the grounds to which they travel. The great distances they traverse and the top dollar they pay to provide this matchday atmosphere has come up regularly as a point of contention between supporters and clubs, with away fans feeling quite gouged for their efforts.
Liverpool have been in close discussion with their Supporters' Committee all season regarding all manner of issues, but ticketing comes up time and time again. After providing a discount on all away matches of £2-4 per ticket, as well as a £10 reduction for the away match at Cardiff, the club has again decided to offer travelling fans a bit of a reprieve on ticket prices by subsidizing each of the final two away matches at Norwich City and Crystal Palace by £10 per ticket.
Liverpool and the Away Fan Experience
Or, at the very least, Liverpool and their attempts to find better ways to work with away fans to address their concerns and improve things for the travelling Kop.
"Liverpool Football Club has the highest away support following in the Premier League and we want to maintain and reward that," said Ian Ayre."We consulted with our official Supporters' Committee and agreed that a reduction in away ticket prices was the best way to achieve this.
"Visiting supporters really do create that unique matchday atmosphere and form part of what makes the Premier League great. It's important for the club to continue to support the travelling fans who play a massive role in backing the team, which will be really important as the season draws to a close."
It's an issue of practical concern for the away supporters, as logistics can change dramatically depending on changes to the fixture list that are well beyond the control of the average travelling fan. Norwich isn't exactly next door to Merseyside, and the Crystal Palace match, too, was recently changed from a Sunday to a Monday, making the distance from Liverpool to London even more challenging for those who keep a regular 9am-5pm workday.
There's no word yet on how Liverpool will choose to spend the £200,000 allocated to the away supporters' experience next season, but the club has confirmed that for one segment of home fans there will be a major drop in the price of season tickets.
Following the example set by other clubs, Liverpool are now offering a £200 season ticket specifically for the under-16 set that will see youth who currently have an adult season ticket save up to £650. The annual price is not as low as some other clubs around the league — a few of which come in at under £100 — but it's certainly a far cry from paying £850 a season.
Ticket prices will continue to be a source of friction between the club and supporters so long as Anfield remains its current size, but hopefully the pricing gestures that the club seems receptive to and is beginning to implement will help soothe some of that irritation in the mean time.