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Football fans: the time it pays to play away

Joanna Faith
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Joanna Faith

You’d assume attending home games was the cheapest way to follow your favourite football club, but new research shows for some fans, it pays to get on the road.

According to a study, fans of both Arsenal and Chelsea can actually save money by going to all 19 away league matches, rather than buying a season ticket to watch their side at home.

The research, compiled by money-saving website Voucherbox.co.uk, compared the price of a season ticket with the cost of an away ticket for each game – now capped at £30. It also factored in the relevant travel costs.

It found Chelsea fans pay £209 more for home games than away fixtures while for Arsenal supporters, the difference is £183.

For fans of the other 18 teams, it’s more affordable to watch home fixtures than away games – although in some cases there were only small differences.

For followers of Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Watford and Liverpool the difference between home and away matches is under £160.

Sunderland fans will feel the pinch more than any other group as following the Black Cats on the road costs fans an extra £760 a year.

London fans hit hardest

With the exception of West Ham, which has recently moved into their new larger-capacity London Stadium, clubs based in the capital are all among the seven most expensive season tickets in the league. This makes away travel a real option for Londoners seeking to watch Premier League games on a budget.

At £1,014, a season ticket at the Emirates is the most expensive in the league, which means that despite the cost of away travel over the course of the season, Gooners could make a saving of £183 by going to away games only.

However, heading across town to West London will provide fans with the greatest saving. Subsidised £10 coach travel provided by Chelsea leaves £209 more in Blues fan’s pockets from just attending away matches. Other clubs helping fans to travel across the country include Stoke, which fully subsidises the total cost of coaches for all Premier League away games, enabling fans to travel away for free.

Southampton also has an initiative to save supporters money on their match day tickets, whereby all fans visiting St Mary’s will have any amount above £20 refunded by a Saints’ club sponsor. In addition, Swansea City has capped ticket prices at £20 for those supporting the Welsh club on the road this season.

Shane Forster, Voucherbox UK country manager, said: “The premier league agreement to cap away tickets at £30 has had a significant effect on supporters’ pockets. With many clubs now subsidising coach travel, for some fans it is now more affordable to see a match away from home.

“Our study revealed some fantastic initiatives across the country where clubs are helping fans get to away games as cheaply as possible. At the same time, it’s pretty staggering that it’s cheaper for Chelsea and Arsenal fans to see their team away than it is at home – providing of course they can get a ticket.”