Football fans stay at home to avoid a kick in the wallets

With the new football season underway England’s top teams are running out to the familiar sight of a near-empty away stand and a handful of supporters. Already Wigan has made the headlines by taking a reported 60 away fans to their Premier League fixture at Spurs. Yet when it comes to away support, the ‘big four’ are bottom of the league according to new research* by Europcar.

While the league’s top teams have legions of armchair fans the research reveals how few are prepared to hit the road for an away game. On average, Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United supporters will not even make one Premier League away fixture this season – with Arsenal propping up the away day league. (See league table below)

That’s compared to followers of newly promoted Blackpool who top the table of planned away games with an average of 5.6 per supporter – compared to an overall average of 1.9 games across all Premier League supporters.

The same seems to apply to how far fans are prepared to travel, with Blackpool followers again topping the poll, saying the furthest they’d be prepared to travel to see their team play was an average of 171 miles – with Fulham (147 miles) and West Brom (144 miles) fans just behind.

At the bottom and propping up the travel league are Man United supporters who would on average travel no further than 57 miles to see their club play away – barely taking supporters out of the North West, or beyond London for those living in Surrey.

With the average Premier League adult ticket price having risen by 8.9%** in five seasons, more than one in four fans (27%) say going to football games is a luxury they cannot afford because of the impact of the recession.

Over one in three top flight supporters (37%) say the price of match tickets are too expensive when added to travel costs; and more than one in four football followers (29%) say they find the expense of travelling to away games by train or coach too much to afford.

Nick Harwood, spokesperson for Europcar UK said, “A train ticket from Newcastle to London can cost as much as £266 pounds. If you’re a Newcastle fan doing that trip five times a season, you’ve spent over £1,300 on travel before you even cross a turnstile.

“It’s understandable fans of Blackpool want to make the most of their first season in the Premier League, but the atmosphere is lacking at other games when fans decide not to travel in numbers.

“We’d urge all fans to consider grouping together and getting on the road to bring back the atmosphere to away ends. That’s why Europcar is launching the ‘away day deal’, offering supporters 10% off car hire.

“At Europcar, we’re always looking for ways to improve our customers’ driving experience and this football deal will be perfect for a few friends, or a group of fans, to get on the road and off to see their team at the weekend.”

Fans wanting to take up the away day deal should quote 47267402 when booking by phone or enter the code in the promo box when booking online.

Fans regularly travelling away can also take advantage of Hire Rewards which offers 10% off every time you hire and includes two free additional drivers and complimentary delivery and collection. Risk Reduction Cover Plus also offers 50% off sat nav hire to keep you on course when heading to the match, as well as reducing your excess to zero and providing one free additional driver, so you can share the driving.

League table: How many away games fans are prepared to go to:

Away fixtures fans will attend this season

Club

Blackpool 5.6

West Brom 4.5

Wigan Athletic 4.4

Stoke City 4.1

Fulham 3.1

Bolton Wanderers 2.7

Birmingham City 2.5

Blackburn Rovers 2.3

Sunderland 1.1

Manchester City 1.1

Wolves 1

Everton 0.9

Liverpool 0.8

Newcastle 0.7

Manchester United 0.7

West Ham United 0.7

Aston Villa 0.6

Tottenham Hotspur 0.6

Chelsea 0.4

Arsenal 0.2

League table: How far fans are prepared to travel

Miles prepared to travel to away games

Club

Blackpool 171

Fulham 147

West Brom 144

Stoke City 127

Wigan Athletic 126

Bolton Wanderers 122

Sunderland 105

Birmingham City 103

Manchester City 101

Blackburn Rovers 99

Tottenham Hotspur 86

Newcastle 83

Everton 80

Chelsea 79

Liverpool 73

West Ham United 73

Wolves 69

Arsenal 64

Aston Villa 58

Manchester United 57

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