Liverpool owners back down and apologise over ticket prices
Former player Jamie Carragher leads the celebrations after club performs U-turn and tells fans: message received
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has praised the club's owners for backing down in the row over ticket prices at Anfield. Fenway Sports Group (FSG) performed a U-turn and issued a statement on Wednesday evening apologising to fans after protests at a planned increase in prices.
An estimated 10,000 Reds fans staged a mass walkout 77 minutes into last Saturday's draw with Sunderland to make clear their anger over plans to charge £77 for some tickets in Anfield's newly redeveloped main stand.
Carragher, who made more than 500 appearances for the club between 1996 and 2013, added his voice to the disquiet and on Wednesday, FSG declared: "Message received."
In their statement, principal owner John W Henry, chairman Tom Werner and FSG president Mike Gordon said it had been a "tumultuous week".
They added: "The three of us have been particularly troubled by the perception that we don't care about our supporters, that we are greedy, and that we are attempting to extract personal profits at the club's expense. Quite the opposite is true... The unique and sacred relationship between Liverpool Football Club and its supporters has always been foremost in our minds. It represents the heartbeat of this extraordinary football club."
As proof, they announced they would freeze prices at Anfield until at least 2018, meaning Liverpool's most expensive matchday ticket will stay at £59. The Reds have also ended game categorisation so fans will pay the same price for matchday tickets regardless of the opposition. The cost of a season ticket will also stay unchanged.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Carragher said he "felt proud of my club once again" following FSG's U-turn and he hoped it would inspire other Premier League clubs to follow their example.
"It is not right for fans to keep being squeezed for more money and there is absolutely no doubt the revenue Liverpool are giving up will be much better in the pockets of the fans who follow them every week," he wrote. "My hope now is that Liverpool have created another snowball, one that takes in the rest of the Premier League. What an advert it would be if there was now a unanimous decision among all clubs to review ticket prices. Then we would all have reason to feel proud."
FSG's decision was announced just hours after David Cameron told the Commons he would investigate the issue of ticket prices, reports the Daily Mirror. In response to a question from shadow sports minister Clive Efford on allowing fans more of a say in clubs' ticket prices, Cameron said: "I will look very carefully at the suggestion you make because I think there is a problem here with some teams, some clubs, who put up prices very rapidly every year."