Getting Angry With Greg Mitchell 3rd March

It seems people didn’t much like last week’s offering. Apparently, I was moaning for the sake of it. I wasn’t moaning, merely highlighting an instance of the lack of communication/mis-communication that I feel the Panthers are at times very guilty of, but they’ve won a few lately so I guess most people think everything in the garden is coming up roses. If you’ve turned up expecting me to agree with the fickle types then you might as well leave now.

Still here? Good, let’s get on with this week’s matter at hand. Following a tip-off about what was described to me as a meltdown of Cage-like proportions I made a little journey over to Steel talk this week. I don’t usually bother, I get enough delusion and bragging from the management team at work so I don’t really need anymore. They’re up in arms because their new saviour/owner turns out to be not as wonderful as they were falling over each other to tell us. It seems he’s had the temerity to increase season ticket prices. Obviously this has been greeted as terrible news with hordes of people threatening to never turn up again which is a bit odd really given their crowds. What people fail to have grasped is that there is probably a very good reason why this is happening. It has to. You don’t get on Secret Millionaire without knowing a bit about making a few quid. He’ll know all about the inelasticity of demand when it comes to sports fans and he’ll also know that the more that get driven away the more likely those that remain are likely to pay whatever he asks. Check their forum  and there are seventeen pages of people moaning about the price going up but you can bet a pound to a penny that the majority of those will still be paying the new prices come September. It might be a brave move if people prove me wrong and stop going but they were doing that when the prices were lower so maybe squeezing a few extra pounds out of the hardy few still risking life and lower limb amputation in the Mann Egerton Arena. 
He’s said he’s dropping the wages and now he’s said he’s upping the price of tickets which says one thing and one thing only to me. They’re in big financial difficulties.  Not really news I know but a couple of months ago we were supposed to be witnessing a brave new dawn. It was the panto season and the wicked ogre had been killed by the handsome prince who was going to lead all his Steelers followers to the promised land laughing at those less fortunate as they left them behind. Now it looks like the handsome prince is more of a pied piper.
The problem with all this is that the Steelers fans want us all to feel sorry for them and I don’t, not really. Poor us, they cry, our beloved owner wants more money from us, he’s twisting our arm behind our back, even Dick Turpin wore a mask, woe, woe and thrice woe. Spare us. Basically if you don’t want to pay don’t go but take a long hard look at why this is being done first before you all race up to the top of Park Hall flats to throw yourselves off. There has to be a reason why this decision has been made.
Oddly, it looks like very similar changes in pricing will be introduced in Cardiff but I’ve not seen as many pleas for clemency and help from them. Maybe they breed them differently in the valleys, maybe Cardiff fans have stared down the barrel of not having hockey in their town for too long to know that sometimes you have to do what it takes. I’m not saying that Neil Black has got open licence to empty my bank account every week and everybody has a cut off point but for all his arrogant statements and rabble rousing Ragan probably knows what needs to be done. Having said that though he did buy Sheffield in the first place.
Ragan has released a statement about the bright and rosy future for the Sheffield Steelers (there’s also one that’s almost exactly the same on Cardiff’s site but we’re not talking about them). There’s going to be a shop in Meadowhall (presumably selling white elephants) and all sorts of gaudy trickery to take the fan’s eyes of their wallet whilst the modern day Dick Turpin whips their hard earned dubloons from their back pockets. I’ve said earlier that Paul Ragan must know what he’s doing but I simply don’t get the whole shop idea. It’ll cover not one but two units in Meadowhall and sell to a market that has a hardcore of only 3,000 possible customers. How does that make money? I’m also looking forward to the first person who tries to redeem their money back guarantee.
I’m going to leave you now but before I do I’d just like to share something that made me laugh and choke at the same time whilst I was reading Steeltalk. Basically, there’s a thread running through the whole ticket price thread that they seem to have a deep seated belief that they have a god given right to have lower ticket prices at the Bristol Street Motors Arena than we do at the NIC. Sums them up as far as I’m concerned.


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