Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has had a fairly active retirement so far. He has regular gigs as a commentator for Sky Sports and The Daily Mail, and he's even tried his hand at coaching with the England youths.
Now, he can add "Protester" to his growing CV, as he joined 10,000 or so of his fellow Scousers as they exited Anfield at the 77th minute of the Sunderland clash. Carra has been very vocal in his criticisms of the club in the past, and he wasn't shy about criticizing the new ticket structure in his Daily Mail column:
All this for the sake of £2m for the ninth richest club in the world! That would not make the slightest difference when it comes to negotiating for a player. If Jurgen Klopp wants to sign someone and the asking price is £2m more than Liverpool expected, will they miss out on the player? No. But £2m back in the pockets of fans? That would be huge.
This was a massive opportunity for Liverpool, for every club, a chance to make their fans proud and feel valued. Can you imagine how good the exposure for the Premier League would be if the teams came out and said every ticket at every stadium was being frozen?
Not one of those 20 teams next season will be able to claim that they need the money. But the fans? They deserve to be looked after. They deserve to be treated fairly.
Carragher made the analogy of looking after your family after winning the lottery. It's a fair assessment, and especially powerful from a player with such close ties to the city of Liverpool. However, some might point the finger at Carra and say that he was part of the problem in his playing days. Wages, transfer fees, stadium renovations--all the money has to come from somewhere:
People have said to me since then ‘it's ok for you on your big wages, that's why the prices are so high'. I was paid well, yes, but I was there for 17 years and in comparison to some of the other players who were in that squad, it was fair.
That's what you want ticket prices to be: fair. I know the increase will not impact on me but I also know plenty about my city. £77 is too much to watch a game anywhere but that price is particularly over the top in Liverpool.
And herein lies the problem. Players look around and justifiably say that their wage is deserved. Teams look around and see that their transfer budgets are in line with their closest competition. Ownership looks around and sees ticket prices are going up everywhere, so they in turn bump up their own prices.
English football has exploded in popularity worldwide. Liverpool, even more than most, has a huge global support network. Some local fans bemoan that fact, but it is a reality. Long gone are the days when you could just turn up on game day and buy a cheap standing-room ticket.
The ownership might have made a misstep with this decision. Yes, they tried to make tickets more accessible on the other side of the scale too, but price freezes at the bottom end and trying to get a few more local youth in was never going to grab headlines like a £77 top tier ticket. Hopefully a quick resolution can be found. Or perhaps just another deal with a shady betting company to cover that extra £2 million.