Liverpool announced their new ticket prices for the 2016/17 season on Tuesday, immediately inviting stiff opposition to the proposed changes from many corners of a fanbase that is particularly sensitive to anything that might have to do with the financial realities of the operating as a Premier League club.
In managing director Ian Ayre's words, there was "something for everyone" in the changes, especially given the introduction of new initiatives aimed at targeting the three core concerns presented by supporters groups: the need for affordable tickets, increased access by locals, and increased access for youth. Whether the club's new ticket prices address those concerns has been debated ad nauseum across the internet in the day-and-a-half since the announcement was made, but lost in the shuffle was one more attempt to get youth into Anfield at everyone's favourite price point: free.
"We have another initiative around that as well which unfortunately isn't ready to roll out at this stage," Ayre explained, "but we'd hope to get it in place for next season and if not, then during next season. That is that we have around about 1,000 season ticket holders who don't turn up per game.
"They are dotted around the stadium but that is roughly the average number. And what we'd like to do is try and find a system whereby at a certain point, on the day or in that game, we actually let some kids in for free as a result of that."
Liverpool are launching a variety of other initiatives aimed at increasing youth presence at Anfield, so it's perhaps not surprising that the one initiative that isn't yet ready has slipped through the cracks. But it's an excellent low-or-no cost solution to both the problem of empty seats and the problem of how to fill those seats once a match has started that benefits the next generation of fans.
Fandom being what it is, someone somewhere will manage to find fault with this currently incomplete idea, but at the end of the day it still manages to hit the three ticky boxes set by the supporters groups -- affordable, youth, Scouse -- and that's at least worth cracking a smile about.