Liverpool fans’ group Spirit of Shankly have laid the blame for the arrival of Anfield’s first £1,000 season ticket squarely at the door of American owners Fenway Sports Group.
A new pricing structure released by the club in preparation of the redeveloped Main Stand’s opening for the start of the 2016-17 campaign will see the highest price rise to £1,029.
The lowest season ticket will cost £685, although the club say 64 per cent of prices will freeze or decrease with 45 per cent of match-day tickets also seeing a reduction.
Liverpool’s most expensive match day ticket for next season will now be £77 – it was previously £59 – in the new Main Stand which will accommodate 8,500 new seats, half of which will be allocated to corporate hospitality.
New initiatives include a new £9 match ticket for local youngsters for the club’s three Category C games and the introduction of 1,000 young adult tickets for 17 to 21-year-olds.
Spokesman for SoS, who were involved in the 13-month review process, Jay McKenna said John W Henry and the rest of FSG’s America-based hierarchy were not interested in engaging in debate about prices despite the fans’ group receiving positive noises from officials in Liverpool itself.
“We had countless meetings with Liverpool-based executives but this is an ownership decision,” he said.
“It is an economic decision which has been made that the club could and should make more money from the supporters.
“They are the people who sign this off and we have had no response to our proposals or why their proposals were unfair and unnecessary.
“We weren’t asking them to not make money (on ticket prices), just a little bit less than they were proposing.
“We didn’t even get the decency of a reply, we didn’t even get a ‘No’. If I am really honest I am surprised.
“My experience of the world of football and things off the pitch have been shaped by the dealings with Hicks and Gillette (Tom and George, Liverpool’s previous owners) but when we started 13 months ago I was genuinely hopeful.
“We thought people at the club understood it is not just about money, it is about our support and how it is being priced out.
“I am very surprised the owners didn’t see that.”
Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre defended the price changes.
“We always carefully consider ticket pricing to ensure the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the club while listening to the views of our match-going fans to understand the priorities around accessibility and affordability,” he said.
“The feedback has been clear that having more local and young people at Anfield is a priority and we are delighted to be launching these new ticketing initiatives.
“The redevelopment of our Main Stand and increased capacity has given us flexibility to freeze or reduce more than half of all tickets across the stadium which is reflected in our longer term plan to give fans more choice on what price they pay to attend a game.
“We recognise the incredible importance of ticket pricing to our match-going fans and we take the responsibility very seriously in determining pricing at Anfield.”