Is it time we got off our barstools?

by Ronan Farrell

http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/4/2010/01/500x_sky3dtv.jpgIs it time we got off our barstools?

Like it or not Irish people support football in the UK. We are unique though in the way that we express our support: the majority through Sky Sports subscriptions and replica shirts rather than attending games, actual real live 3D games where players run around in front of our very eyes and we don’t have to wear silly glasses to experience it. People offer plenty of reasons when challenged as to why they don’t go to see “their” team, this article aims to debunk a few of them.

It’s too expensive

What do you expect if you’re giving business to travel agents? Sort out your own travel and it can work out reasonable. The days of 1c Ryanair flights might be behind us, but there are plenty of €10 specials available. Members tickets at Old Trafford can be bought for as little as £27, Anfield £35, at the Emirates £33 and so on. Most clubs offer reduced pricing for Carling Cup games, and some of the earlier FA Cup rounds as well.

It’s too hard to get tickets

Maybe for league deciders, or a Champions League semi-final, but what about games where there is less demand? Early rounds of the Carling and FA Cups usually yield results. If you make the effort to purchase a club membership you can usually get your hands on tickets for all but the most popular games. “But I can be bothered going to see us beat Wolves, I want to see a top clash”. I thought the point was that you get to see the team you support?

I can’t afford a hotel

Who says you need to stay over? For a Saturday afternoon, every single ground in the Premier League is reachable as a day trip with a little planning. Want to go to Sunderland? Fly home late from Edinburgh. Want to go to Stoke? Fly into/out of Birmingham. Hull? Manchester. Portsmouth? Gatwick. And they are the difficult ones, getting to United, Liverpool et al is a doddle compared to them.

I don’t want to go on my own

Who says you have to? Have you no mates who support the same team as you? Bring the missus, and make a weekend of it! Failing that, you’re computer literate enough to find your way to this blog, surely you can search for supporters clubs or message boards and hook up with other Irish fans? The latter is a great opportunity to get a more realistic match day, anybody can sell you tickets on the half way line with the rest of the prawn sandwich brigade, regulars will take you to the decent pubs, and make sure you get tickets for whatever area of the ground has a bit of atmosphere.

It’s understandable that punters who are hanging on at the moment struggling to pay bills, or out of work and surviving on the dole, have better things to be worrying about. If on the other hand you buy a new replica shirt every year, have a jumbotron in your living room to watch Sky Sports, and spent all last weekend in the pub wearing 3D glasses then you can well afford a couple of trips to see your team play. Don’t forget, it has the added bonus of no Jamie Redknapp, though if it’s a Sky game you can usually abuse him at half time…

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