As we all know, our friend Piers Morgan loves the sound of his own voice. A lot. I usually ignore it, because most of what he says is just garden-variety annoying, and easy to disregard.
Occasionally, though, he says something so pants-on-head stupid that I have to react, mostly because I have to spend time thinking about why what he says is so ridiculous, and then I have to pick it apart and destroy it in my head so that no trace of it remains.
This weekend after the Cup final, instead of celebrating or being happy, Piers chose to take the churlish route and bemoan the fact that Arsenal only win the FA Cup, and how that seems to be the sum of their ambition. One of the things he tweeted was this:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Arsenal fans pay highest ticket prices in world football. Our expectations should be based on that. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/afc?src=hash">#afc</a></p>— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) <a href="https://twitter.com/piersmorgan/status/604938976697413633">May 31, 2015</a></blockquote>
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So, where do we start with this gem? Do we start with:
1. The fact that the subset of humanity labeled "Arsenal fans" encompasses a far larger number of people than the 61,000 fortunate souls that get to go to the Emirates every week, and (sorry Piers) don't give much thought to ticket prices, since they'll never be lucky enough to go to a game in person anyway?
2. The fact that ticket prices are what they are because, and this cannot be overstated, the market has consistently shown that it can bear those prices - or, put another way, if the fans who went to games this season stop showing up, that there are literally tens of thousands of people who will show up in their place?
3. The fact that Piers Morgan is bemoaning the cost of the most expensive ticket in the ground, and that the low end of the Emirates ticket spectrum is a much more reasonable cost (still high, yes, but in line with other clubs' high ticket prices). He doesn't have to spend £2000 a season, if he doesn't want to - he could cut that in half and still be at the game!
4. The fact that the inverse of what Morgan's saying is no more true (should a fan of Swansea City expect no more than about 16th place every year because their ticket prices are too low?) and it's just as ridiculous. In addition to the aforementioned market forces, ticket prices are in tune with the cost of living in the area in which they're sold - nobody in Burnley, for instance, could afford £2000/year for a season ticket, so they can't charge that much to get one. Clubs charge the upper end of the spectrum of what their local economy can bear, and that's kinda the way it's always been and will always be.
5. The fact that there is no direct correlation between the cost of a ticket and the ambition of a club - as evidenced by Tottenham's season tickets, which top out at £1895, just shy of Arsenal's £2013. That's not a swipe at Tottenham, actually - it's highlighting the fact that Tottenham has no Piers Morgan claiming that it's their birthright to win titles because ticket prices are so high.
I mean, I get where he's trying to go - he wants Arsenal to win the league, as I'm sure all of us do. I just don't think bemoaning the high ticket prices he is paying - entirely of his own free will, without a gun to his head - is the way to do it, because there's no direct connection between the two. Ticket prices are easy to seize on as far as populist rage goes - nobody likes paying high prices for anything! - but they're not an indicator of team quality or ambition, any more than the price of beer in a stadium is.