Why I’m Giving Up My Season Ticket

Posted by on January 20, 2012 in General | 12 comments

The season ticket renewal forms are out. You can view the brochure here. But at a time when demand for tickets is as high as its ever been, when there’s over a thousand people on a season ticket waiting list, and after watching Norwich take to the Premier League better than anyone expected, I’m not renewing mine.

The reasons? A bit selfish, and a bit not. I’m not alone in gradually feeling priced out of football, but it’s not something I hold any resentment for. I want the club to be competitive and the game has changed over the years. Money talks and fans are asked to stump up a large amount to see the team in action. This is just the way football has gone, and the size of the season ticket waiting list shows there will always be a number of fans willing to pay, even if some of us aren’t. Ultimately, if you want league two prices you’ll get a league two football team, and that extends from tickets to parking to the club shop to a coffee in the bar. It becomes excessive when your life requires other plans than football. It’s ultimately disposable, like all hobbies. And with a price commitment comes a time commitment. You become timetabled into a schedule and, having already paid, there’s no question of not making the most of it. The amount of times I have had to pass up trips, meetings with friends who don’t live in Norwich and other things over the last few years, because it clashes with a home game, takes its toll. Football is a massive interest of mine (as shown by this site), but it’s not the only one, and I feel it’s about time to have a bit of a rest and enjoy the other things while I’m still young.

So those are the selfish reasons. Beyond that, I have a general, growing weariness with football & especially the fan culture that surrounds it. I’m not like some fans who like to go to Carrow Road as much for the atmosphere as the match itself. I love the sport because I love the sport, not the badly spun attempts at ‘banter’, the abuse dished out on a weekly basis or the undercurrent of tribalist nonsense that seems to get stronger each year. I go to Carrow Road because I understand the game better for seeing it in person than on a TV screen, but as time has gone on I’ve grown more and more disillusioned with fellow fans, and I don’t mean just at Carrow Road though there have been incidents.

So let me go into just two. Firstly, at a home game last year, a man who sits on the row behind me and several seats across spent the entire pre match warmup screaming ‘faggot’ at David Nugent. Over and over, he screamed and shouted and abused with homophobic taunts. Not five minutes after Nugent finished his warm-up, Stephen Fry was introduced onto the pitch and this fan, his tiny brain completely unaware, happily applauded the Norwich director onto the pitch. Secondly, at the home QPR game this year, the man who sits next to me was happy to shout ‘there’s only one John Terry’ at Anton Ferdinand who was stood about 10 feet in front of us. This was followed not long after with a rendition of the same chant coming from the Snakepit.

Many grown men, and lets face it, it is almost entirely men, become entirely different people when they walk through a turnstile. And it’s a large number. It isn’t everyone. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a great deal of pleasant, decent football fans at every stadium I’ve been to, but these aren’t the fans who make me embarrassed to be a football supporter, and they belong to every club. The incidents with Terry and Fedinand, and Suarez and Evra, highlight the depressing amount of tribalism in terraces and the ridiculous reaction of LFC in particular legitimised a culture of victimisation, and gave voice to the disgusting taunts that were thrown at Tom Adeyemi. Football fans haven’t been trusted for years to sit together, and it only feels like it’s getting worse. There has always been abuse and vitriol from idiots, and twitter has given them an even bigger platform to act like the neanderthals they are. Just look at the abuse our own James Vaughan got. Look at the abuse Stan Collymore gets on an almost daily basis. And at a recent Fulham game, Danny Murphy’s wife and one year old child were screamed at and called cunts while sat watching the game.

For some, it’s easy to ignore. It’s easy to say that this stuff has always gone on, and it’s just passion. Just banter. But personally, I can’t deal with it in that way. All I want to do is watch the game, and my enjoyment of the game is being limited by idiots. So it’s made my decision easier. It’s not that I’m not renewing because of these mindless tools, but when you add all these things up, the money, the time, and the tribalism, it blends into something that I don’t feel happy with right now. There is more to life than sitting next to a bloke who looks like he’s about to have an aneurysm because Morison keeps pulling out wide.

So where does this leave Holtamania? Well, I had intended to just hang it up when the season comes to an end. My match reports will continue for the rest of this season and any other articles that I feel a need to write, or others want to contribute. But it seems that there is still a place for the blog, even if I’m not the one going to matches. The response of some on twitter yesterday makes me proud of the work I’ve done on here over the last 9 months or so and that people would like it to stay around, so I will endeavour to make that happen. I am looking to speak to a couple of people about making regular contributions, but if anyone would like to write for HM they are more than welcome to. I am happy to continue hosting and generally managing the site if there is regular content coming in to it.

There are still several months until this would happen, so if anyone is interested in helping and writing for HM then either hit me up on twitter, leave a comment here or email me at [email protected]

I’ve always liked that people have taken to this site well, and I think it’s generally because the Norwich fans on twitter are a good bunch. I’ve never had to deal with the abuse or insults that come the way of many bloggers, and if some of you have had differences of opinion, it’s always been just that. I was proud that people nominated me for a NOPA and that people come in pretty decent numbers to read the site. If people want it to stick around, then stick around it will.

12 Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more with your sentiments.

    The allocation of your time is understandable, and fair enough – it’s yours to do with what you wish.
    (Though it will be a shame for the rest of us if that means reduced content!)

    As for the darker aspects – the mindless hate constantly being spewed from the sidelines – it should be enough to make anyone feel sick.

    I remember as long ago as Swansea vs Norwich in the League Cup in the ’94/’95 season – I was one of not-too-many fans in the away end at the Vetch (I live in Cardiff) and without quoting, the abuse (from one lone Swansea fan) directed at Bryan Gunn in relation to his daughter was sickening.

    That was the first time I ever noticed football fans could be so utterly disgusting, and I’ve never forgotten it.

    The examples you cited are exactly the same, and the world would be a better place without these people.

    Twitter serves to highlight the good and bad – hopefully the increased publicity these troglodytes receive will ultimately be their downfall.

    All the best, Holtamania has been a highlight of truly outstanding season so far!

    #OTBC

  2. Shame that, but I totally get your reasoning. Really pleased you’ll be continuing with the blog, and look forward to hearing your opinions for the rest of this season and next. Hope one day circumstances and football in general gets you back to Carrow Road.

  3. I got in touch over Twitter last night and would just like to reiterate my interest in helping Holtamania out on a regular basis; I’m especially interested in the tactical side of the game so for you to have covered Norwich games in such detail in the match reports is something I’ve been very thankful for. Every club’s band of idiots is counteracted by a more reflective bunch who just seek to share the game we all love with other supporters (of their own club or otherwise). Glad to hear you (and the blog) will be sticking around for a while longer yet.

  4. You know my thoughts on the blog and everything, and your personal reasons for deciding to stop going are your own and that’s up to you.

    You raise some interesting points about the current fan culture in the game. I’m not sure I can articulate my thoughts into a coherent argument but here they are anyway:

    It goes without saying that the recent proliferation of abuse towards players, highlighted by the number of noteworthy racial abuse cases, is completely out of order, but what I find interesting and hard to understand is why it is that it’s started happening again. I recall for example, in the mid-late 90s when the snakepit was constructed, the friends I sat with and I moved our season tickets across from the lower barclay. There were a group of people who sat behind us who were national front types and could occasionally be heard chanting racial slurs and the like. After a few games complaints were made and the club admirably dealt with them swiftly and they didn’t come back. Over the next 10 years or so until I left to go to university in London it was pretty tame there to be honest. Now I’ve been back in the city for 18 months or so and been buying single tickets all over the ground so I have a bit more perspective on what different places are like. I have to say, and I have no idea whether this is a genuine thing or just me getting a bit older, but the few times I have sat back in the snakepit I have noticed the atmosphere has turned a little. On both occasions I’ve been in there this season, there have been altercations between supporters and stewards and people have been ejected. That might just be coincidence, but it does seem to me that the atmosphere generally is a bit more aggressive, both towards the game (while 2-1 up and pretty comfortable against Swansea, various people were getting tense and shouting ‘f*cking get into ‘em’ – I know this happens all the time, but it seemed odd to me in a game that we were winning with Swansea going nowhere. But also towards the stewards, whom certain people in the crowd were deliberately antagonising, having a go at for being asked to sit down, chanting ‘we’ll stand when we want’ and so on. This happened when I used to sit there too, but in my opinion it did appear to have crossed a line from humorous ‘banter’ (I’m loath to use that word anyway) into something more aggressive. It may well just be me, but that was my observation. I hate to say this too, but a lot of it did seem to come from a group of younger, teenage supporters. God I feel so old (I’m 26). It does make me wonder whether it’s partly a generational thing. I’m generalising wildly though, as there are plenty of older people who go who do equally idiotic things. Like the booing at half-time in the Fulham game, or the guy near me (in the Jarrold of all places) who shouted ‘f*cking change it Lambert’ barely a minute after he had literally just subbed on Hoolahan and Holt who would combine to provide the winner another minute later. I honestly can’t tell if it’s me noticing things differently or if it has changed. Gordon Strachan said of the Adeyemi incident on ITV’s cup coverage that ‘morons will always be morons’ whether at a football game or elsewhere – and he’s right to an extent. But it’s also true that the game does ‘bring out’ the moron in certain people. It’s pretty basic psychology that being in crowds allow individuals to behave in ways they wouldn’t normally, the idea that it’s acceptable to literally shout foul and abusive language at people doing their jobs is pretty unique to football and obviously wouldn’t be tolerated in a normal workplace. That’s not just limited to crowds though, as players regularly do the same to each other and match officials. In my opinion, the premier league clubs and the FA are partly responsible for this, for their failure to deal with it properly. Liverpool’s misguided handling of the Suarez affair clearly contributed to further abject behaviour by their supporters. So I see where you are coming from basically.

    I have no idea what the answers to all this might be though, unfortunately. Perhaps it’s just up to the intelligent people in the crowd to shout louder than the morons. It’s a cliche, but it does ring true that the people with the stupidest opinions shout the loudest. Why do you never hear a supporter yelling ‘f*cking brilliant crossfield ball Fox’ at the top of their voice? It’s always just a polite clap.

  5. I’m an older supporter still, who started following Norwich when I was at UEA back in the 1980s and still do, though I haven’t lived in Norwich since. I travel a great deal for work, and it is only in the last few months have had a chance to watch a few matches at Carrow Road again with a 17 year old son. Have sat well away from the Snake Pit, and been happy not to have had any around making offensive comments, which I would have difficulty in just accepting, since my work deals with addressing multiple forms of discrimination… But what I wanted to say was that I have enjoyed your match analyses a great deal, and it has contributed much to my understanding of City’s performances and PL’s tactics, and I certainly hope that someone else is able to continue to provide such kind of information after you ‘retire’. And your decision to balance your life a little more – since I am sure you will still some home games – is a wise one. I hope it works.

  6. Excellent article although of course very poignant that you have taken the decision when we have achieved so much and may even be on the brink of even more. And, reading between the lines, it may be that a season away will bring a reversal of the decision – perhaps sitting in a different part of the ground?
    For me I spent 12 months abroad in 1990 and so had to give up my season ticket of 15 years. This was on the back of the 88/89 season – arguably our best team – and of course Hillsborough. I was at the semi at Villa, and having encountered the S Yorks police at Hillsborough in ’82, wasn’t surprised that the disaster took place that same day. So this was the backcloth to my decision to stop attending. There was also my general unhappiness with sharing the terrace with men who seemed to think that it was an opportunity to behave as badly as they chose.
    So 20 yrs on I have been to a few matches – but the old uncertainties reappeared. I don’t choose to spend an evening listening to chants about Connor Wickham having sex with his mum while he was warming up for Sunderland.
    Nevertheless I have followed the City religiously;y from afar and taken incredible pleasure from the recent events of the past 30 months and a lot of despair in the Championship years before then. I’ve just not done so at Carrow Rd! I have very definite views on the team, the formation and even the kit – even though, sometimes embarrassingly, I wouldnt always be able to recognize the players.
    So good luck with the decision – somehow it may even give you more time to blog freed from the ties of trekking to Carrow Rd and various away grounds!

  7. Being a football fan with an above average IQ and no inferiority complex I share many of the points raised in this post. I too suffer complete and utter morons screaming mindless comments, swearing in front of children, unnecessarily abusing players and the like.

    I’ve also become increasingly disillusioned with the professionalism of players, or lack of. The level of what I consider cheating, even from my beloved Norwich City has reached levels that make my blood boil!

    And that is before I even get on to officiating.

    However, I suspect I’ll renew, if I do, I’ll happily contribute in some way.

    Thanks for the effort thus far.

  8. Interesting stuff. What I would say is that, probably, what you’re experiencing is something that happens to us all at some point. Well, everyone who thinks about the game more deeply than blindly cussing the opposing fans/players. And that is, it really isn’t that important. You have a life. Football is a game, to enjoy, to talk about and go to with your friends. When Norwich lose, I am disappointed until, well, probably the end of sports report, and then life starts up again. When I haven’t been to a game, it takes until, ooh, 5.05pm. I may not watch MOTD or read the papers the next day but in the end there is no point getting deeply angry and vitriolic about highly-paid sportsmen in their 20s.

    As my dear old grandmother said after Ipswich had beaten Norwich and I looked devastated (I was 8 or something): ‘the thing is, the players don’t care about you’.

    Having said all that, I have really enjoyed the blog, if only because I feel you were/are providing a service for those of us who do enjoy thinking about the game more deeply than merely trotting out that Morison is lazy, Surman, which I heard against Fulham ‘isn’t even championship class’ and Bennett is a flop. And it was telling for me that I heard all that at the one home match I’ve been to, against Fulham (I’ve got an away season ticket) – some of the comments from the people around me were ridiculous. There doesn’t seem to be so much of that in the away games, more people getting behind their team and accepting their limitations.

    So, er, maybe just take in more away games next season!

  9. Well I think you should keep at it. This is a great blog, a fantastic achievement….intelligent, analytical and funny. And what better platform to change the things you want to change….

    Just a thought….

  10. I hope you can keep the blog going for 2 reasons

    1) I enjoy reading the tactical analysis of each game
    2) I bought a Holtamania polo shirt

    • Ha! Yep it seems certain that the blog will continue. Plans afoot. May I also commend you on your taste in clothing.

  11. From a fellow NOPA nominee, don’t give it up mate. You do a fine job on here!

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