Neville says Salford won't price fans out of the game

Gary Neville - Etoro . Pic Jamie McPhilimey. 14.10.19.


Salford City owner Gary Neville has made it his priority to protect the club’s supporters from the rising cost of being a football fan.

The former Manchester United and England defender became a part-owner of the Greater Manchester-based club in 2014 and has overseen four promotions in that time, including last season’s historic rise into the Football League.

The club, which is also owned by fellow Class of 92 team-mates David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and brother Phil got its first taste of the FA Cup proper back in 2015 and had their new stadium opened by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2017.

But despite the rapid growth and high-profile connections at Moor Lane, Neville is adamant that the football there will always be accessible. 

“We accept that we are seen as wealthy owners but we take pride in the fact that our football is affordable to watch,” said Neville, speaking at the launch of the eToro Fan Financial Statement, a report looking at the financial commitment UK football fans make to support their Premier League club.

“We believe in growing the fan base and the club but we know that fans need to be able to come to the games and enjoy them. 

“Of course we are working on driving fans in, driving revenue up and being a successful club but we also want fans to enjoy match days and be comfortable in an environment where they feel included. 

“I remember when I was younger and I went to watch Manchester United, nothing could beat the feeling of walking into Old Trafford, seeing the players, watching the game - I was disappointed if we lost but either way it was magic – you just couldn’t beat that feeling. 

“That’s the way it should be.”

Salford return to the FA Cup for just the second time in their 79-year history when they take on League One Burton Albion at home on November 9 – tickets for which are priced at £10.

Neville has witnessed first-hand the devastation that financial trouble can cause as Bury Town, the club both of his parents had worked for and the place where he was born, were expelled from the Football League earlier this year.

However despite the family-ties to Bury it was always Manchester United for Neville and frequent childhood outings to Old Trafford paved the way for him to go on and make more than 600 appearances for the club.

Now with the cost of attending games increasing by as much as 31 per cent over the last five years, the former Red Devils skipper is questioning the accessibility of the sport he fell in love with as a young boy and even calling for a government-intervention.

“When I think back to my own childhood when me, my dad and my brother would go to fixtures every week - it was that trip to the football that was my dream and my ideal,” said the 44-year-old.

“Families are not able to do that anymore and that is fundamentally wrong because often the football club is the heart of the community and we need to get back to that in essence. 

“Everything costs more now but the difference with football is that it needs to be more accessible because it is more than just a normal business.

“I have always thought the government needs to intervene in major issues in football because ultimately the game won’t monitor itself.

“Of course clubs and businesses will lose money from reducing ticket prices but how much? What will the impact on them be? We need to rebalance the equation a bit.”

  • eToro, the global multi-asset investment platform and sponsor of six Premier League clubs, produced the eToro Fan Financial Statement in association with the KPMG Football Benchmark, to explore spending by match-going Premier League fans. Download the report at etorofc.com