Sheffield United: Blades compromise over tickets

Operations chief Dave McCarthy
Operations chief Dave McCarthy
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SHEFFIELD United’s plans to slash admission prices for tonight’s meeting with Yeovil Town were thwarted by Football League legislation governing the dispersal of ticket income from play-off games, writes James Shield.

United had hoped to charge supporters a maximum of £10 to watch the first leg of their semi-final against the visitors from Huish Park.

But with those clubs involved in the end of season knockouts each receiving only a 12.5 per cent share of the total gate receipts, Bramall Lane officials came under pressure not to implement the idea.

The remainder of the monies - 50 per cent minus costs - are retained by the FL before being dispersed across the rest of the division. That prompted United to set entrance fees for adults at £15 as part of a compromise agreement.

“The four competing play-off clubs and the Football League share the combined gate receipts from the four semi-final matches after costs,” Dave McCarthy, United’s operations director, said. “We are expected to attract the largest home gate in the League One semi-finals but the club is not permitted to retain our own ticket income so, as you can appreciate, the pricing structure is not as easy as first imagined and we have been involved in negotiations with all the relevant parties in order to get the best deal for our supporters.”

With average attendances of 18611 last term - nearly three times the 6302 reported by fellow semi-finalists Brentford - United represent a cash cow for the rest of the competition. Yeovil, whose highest crowd this term is 6006, have made 1995 away tickets available for Monday’s second leg.

“We set the price as low as were allowed to after originally planning to use our ‘Category C’ price for this additional game in the calendar to reward fans for their loyalty,” McCarthy said. “I am sure, though not what we originally wanted, this reduction is appreciated by Unitedites and those making the long trip from Somerset.”