Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday fans should fight together over ticket pricing rather than snipe over rivals’ crowds

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It’s an aspect of football that has been going on for as long as there has been rivalry...supporters picking out any factor, anything at all, that you feel might get one over on the ‘other side’.

But in these financially troubled times - an issue that football as an industry has seemingly in large part ignored - it’s disappointing to see that attendances appear to be something fans feel they can use as a metaphorical stick to beat their rivals.

It cropped up again this week following Sheffield Wednesday’s midweek match against Bournemouth, where 16,881 turned out on a cold November night at Hillsborough, with a few hundred hardy souls making the long journey from the south coast.

United fans sniggered on social media and compared it with the 19,353 that saw their side take on Yeovil Town at Bramall Lane a few weeks ago.

That crowd is admirable, of course, and goes to show that despite United’s somewhat surprisingly prolonged stay in League One, their fans have remained loyal.

And Wednesday fans haven’t been slow in baiting Blades in the past with the same kind of argument surrounding numbers, or lack of.

It’s not exclusive to Sheffield either, with fans up and down the country winding each other up about their levels of support. And, of course, it’s not the worst thing you will see fans sniping about, with these days, very little deemed taboo when it comes to getting a dig in.

But it makes it no less sad that in a city such as this, steeped in working class values, supporters feel it necessary to goad others by basically laughing at the fact that their rivals can seldom afford to watch their team.

For that’s what it comes down to, really.

Using this latest example, yes, Wednesday have been little short of shocking for the bulk of their home games this season and are on a poor run of form of late, but I’ve no doubt that the fact that the cheapest adult ticket into Hillsborough on Tuesday night was £25 was the reason behind most deciding against turning up (it would cost £66 for two adults and a couple of kids under 11 to watch on the Kop), especially at this time of year with thoughts beginning to creep towards Christmas.

When attempting to counter Blades’ sniping, a few Owls fans pointed to the fact that the numbers against Yeovil were swelled by the handing out of free tickets; just as some United played down their neighbours support at home to Reading as being due to the £10 cost that day.

The crux of it is, supporters across the city and indeed England are being priced out of the game on a regular basis.

Rather than taking pot shots at each other, both sets of fans should be working together to try and bring the game back to a point where it is affordable for all. Then watch the attendances go up.