Two out of Five Fans Want Players to Take Wage Cuts

By Virgin Money, PRNE
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And Nearly Half Would Like to See Wage Caps in Football, Virgin Money's Football Fans' Inflation Index Shows

LONDON, February 2, 2011 - Two out of five football fans want to see players take a wage cut and
nearly half would like to see the introduction of wage caps, according to
Virgin Money's authoritative Football Fans' Index*.

Just 13% of fans believe players should be free to earn as much as they
can in the wake of estimates putting the average Premiership salary at
GBP23,000** a week or GBP1.2 million a year.

However not all fans at all clubs take as hard a line on player salaries
- 34% of Man City fans believe players should be free to earn as much as they
can while 25% of Chelsea fans take the same view. Man Utd and Arsenal
supporters are also a bit more lenient than the average fan. Just 5% of fans
at Blackpool and Stoke think players should be allowed to cash in.

Supporters themselves are feeling the strain - Virgin Money's Football
Fans' Inflation Index shows the average match day cost for fans is now
GBP101.67 after a 4.2% rise in the past three months. The match day cost is
now back to the same level it was in 2009.

The research with the Football Supporters' Federation shows just 10% of
Championship club supporters back footballers earning as much as they can,
while 12% of supporters in Leagues 1 and 2 take the same view.

Grant Bather, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: "Players have been the
big winners in the football boom and if anyone deserves to cash in then it is
them as they are one of the main reasons people go to games.

"But when fans are being squeezed financially it is inevitable they want
to see players sharing the pain with two out of five now wanting to see pay
cuts forced on players and others wanting to see pay caps. Most players now
earn more in a year than most fans can expect to earn in their lifetime and
that is sticking in the throat of supporters."

Malcolm Clarke, Chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation,
commented: "Football at the top level is awash with money. Whilst supporters
recognise that star players will expect to get a reward which reflects their
talent, they feel that match-going supporters should also benefit from
football's riches through reduced ticket prices. If this doesn't happen,
particularly at a time when many fans are facing wage freezes and even
redundancy, there will be a widening gulf between the fans and the players at
the top level, which is not healthy for the game."

                       MUCH AS THEY CAN
    Man City           34%
    Chelsea            25%
    Arsenal            17%
    Man Utd            16%
    West Brom          16%
    Fulham             15%
    Sunderland         14%
    Wolves             13%
    Liverpool          13%
    Bolton             13%
    Wigan              12%
    Blackburn Rovers   12%
    Aston Villa        11%
    West Ham           10%
    Newcastle United   10%
    Birmingham City     7%
    Tottenham Hotspur   6%
    Everton             6%
    Blackpool           5%
    Stoke               5%

The Virgin Money Football Fans' Inflation Index, which measures the match
day costs, shows the average price of going to a live game is now a hefty
GBP101.67 compared with GBP97.50 in August but still below the high of
October 2008 when it hit GBP106.21. The match day costs* include a pint of
lager, a match ticket, a replica shirt, and a match programme as well as some
travel expenses.

The Index shows football clubs have cut costs - average ticket prices
across all divisions are now GBP24.32 while replica shirt costs dropped to
GBP32.54 from GBP34.24 in August. However other parts of the basket of goods
- beyond clubs' control - including rail ticket prices, petrol and beer have
climbed in cost.

Virgin Money's Football Fans' Index has tracked the cost of football
since January 2006 and is aimed at helping supporters keep track of the rises
and falls in the costs of supporting their team. The company identified the
match day essentials fans buy and keeps tabs on increases and decreases.

At the launch of the Index in January 2006, the match day basket of
goods*** cost GBP77.95. However the most recent analysis puts the cost at
GBP101.67 - a rise of GBP23.72 or 30% per match day. Virgin Money's Football
Fans' Index runs every three months and the firm's research team examines the
cost of items such as a gallon of petrol, match tickets, food, alcohol, train
tickets and replica shirts.

Notes to Editors:

* The Football Supporters Federation interviewed a representative sample
of 4,150 football fans between 30 November and 15 December 2010.

** Deloitte Money League May 2010.

*** The basket of goods includes a gallon of petrol, a pint of lager, a
bacon roll, a train fare, a match ticket, a replica shirt, pay-per-view cost
and a match programme.

About Virgin Money

    - Virgin Money is Virgin's financial services arm and was
      established in 1995 as a joint venture between the Virgin Group and
      Norwich Union.
    - In 1997, Virgin Direct Personal Financial Services Limited
      launched The Virgin One Account, a joint venture with The Royal Bank of
      Scotland that offered the UK's first current account mortgage direct to
      the retail market. In 2001, RBS bought out the Virgin Group's stake in
      the joint venture.
    - In April 2004 the Virgin Group took 100% ownership of Virgin
    - Virgin Money currently has over 2.5 million customers and offers
      Payment Cards (credit cards ( & Prepaid Cards),
      Savings and Investment products (Stakeholder Pensions, Children's
      Pensions, Employers Pensions, FTSE Tracker ISA, Bond & Gilt ISA,
      Climate Change ISA, Cash ISA, and Unit Trusts), General Insurance
      Products (Motor, Home, Travel, and Pet) and Life Assurance products to
      the UK market. To apply go to
    - Virgin Money's brand ambition is to make "everyone better off" -
      this philosophy underpins our approach to business by offering good
      value to customers, treating employees well, making a positive
      contribution to society and delivering a profit to shareholders.
    - Virgin has signed a five-year deal to be the official sponsor of
      the London Marathon, the biggest annual fundraising event in the world.
      The inaugural Virgin London Marathon was on 25 April 2010. Virgin
      Money, the financial services division of the Virgin Group is leading
      the London Marathon sponsorship with the ambition to help runners raise
      GBP1/4 billion over 5 years and will use its infrastructure, online
      Capability and financial expertise to deliver that through Virgin Money

About The Football Fans' Census:

The Football Fans Census is the leading football research expert
providing a communication channel between the supporter and the football

About the Football Supporters' Federation

The FSF represents over 180,000 members supporting clubs and national
teams at all levels throughout England & Wales.

For further information: Grant Bather, Virgin Money, Grant.bather at, Tel: +44(0)207-111-1012. Kevan Reilly/Chris Jarvis, Citigate Dewe Rogerson , Kevan.Reilly at, Chris.Jarvis at, Toby.Clark at, Tel: +44(0)207-638-9571. Football Supporters' Federation , Malcolm Clarke +44(0)7939-594379 , Steven Powell +44(0)7881-950613

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