The Barclays Premier League offers some of the best entertainment in all of professional sports. While the National Football League is known as the “Any Given Sunday” competition, it is in the Premier League where sides that are facing relegation battles can and do earn positive results against top clubs performing in the Champions League.
As unfortunate as it may be for casual fans who want to watch their favorite teams live and in person, it is understandable that clubs that commonly earn Champions League football would be responsible for the most expensive Premier League match-day tickets. The team that kicks off this list is one that hasn't been at the top of league tables over the past several years, one that has kicked off the 2014-15 campaign in sparkling form.
Values taken from BBC Price of Football survey
10 Southampton: £52 ($83.70 USD)
Raise your hands if you knew that Southampton would be in the top two of the league table in the middle of October after going through a rather tumultuous offseason. Now lower your hands because you are obviously fibbing.
Southampton routed Sunderland 8-0 – yes, 8-0 – on October 18. The Saints are tied for first in the league in goal difference and they are but four points off of the top of the table nine games into the campaign. Whether or not Southampton will prove to have staying power is unknown, but they have thus far seemed to be the real deal.
They are a bargain to watch live and in person at the moment.
9 Newcastle United: £52 ($83.70 USD)
Newcastle are in no way equal to Southampton these days. The Magpies appear to be relegation candidates this season, and they would fall into the second division if the season ended as of October 20. Much-maligned manager Alan Pardew is once again fighting for his job, and some are wondering how he has remained at the club for as long as he has been there.
Pardew has verbally abused opposing managers. He once headbutted a player as a manager. Add in that Pardew has done little to grow Newcastle as of late, and one should realize how lucky he is to be in top-flight football.
8 Manchester United: £58 ($93.36 USD)
Manchester United are as much a brand as they are a club. They are one of the more recognized teams in the world of pro sports. United play in the “Theater of Dreams” known as Old Trafford. They've been kings of English football during the Premier League era.
Granted, the club has seen better days as of late. United are looking to return to European football in general, let alone to the Champions League. They already appear to be out of the Premier League race. Will Louis van Gaal prove to be the savior United desperately need?
Time shall tell.
7 Manchester City: £58 ($93.36 USD)
The reigning kings of Manchester and of the Premier League do right by their fans in terms of pricing. Nobody could blame City for posting the most expensive ticket prices in all of the country. They have won two titles in three seasons. City spends boatloads of cash on squads, and they currently rule the town.
Defending their league title will prove to be difficult for City. Chelsea have started the campaign strong, and Jose Mourinho seems to have the best squad in all the land. Don't count City out, however, as they have the goods to make a run at any point over the next several months.
6 Liverpool: £59 ($106.07 USD)
Liverpool competed for a league title, they have returned to the Champions League, and all is right with English football. Brendan Rodgers has proven to be the right manager for the proud club, but he is now facing the toughest test of his career:
Keeping Liverpool in the Champions League while also ensuring that his team performs well in Europe and in domestic play.
No side on the planet could just go and replace striker Luis Suarez overnight. For as many headaches as Suarez created, the forward who joined Barcelona this past summer is arguably the best in the business at the position. He will certainly be missed.
5 Queens Park Rangers: £70 ($125.85 USD)
There's no point in sugar-coating the matter: Queens Park Rangers have no business being on this list in general, and that they are in the top five is an insult to those who actively support the club.
QPR have spent money on squads that have underperformed to the point that the club was relegated and had to fight to get back into the Premier League. Early indications are that their stay in the top-flight will be short. They are the worst team in the league as of the posting of this piece.
Critics can say whatever they want about those running the club or about manager Harry Redknapp. QPR fans deserve better.
4 West Ham United: £75 ($134.84 USD)
West Ham are like QPR in that neither team should really be on this list. West Ham have been good for Premier League football every season as of late, and they should have no problem remaining in the top-flight for years to come. That said, nobody is expecting West Ham to do much of merit this season. They won't be competing for European football unless they go on an unforeseen cup run.
The Hammers having such an expensive matchday ticket would be more understandable a few years from now. West Ham won the bid for the London Olympic Stadium that is being renovated for football. The club will begin playing at their new home for the 2016-17 season.
3 Tottenham Hotspur: £81 ($145.62 USD)
Speaking of clubs that let fan bases down on a yearly basis, it's Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs brought Andre Villas-Boas in a few summers ago to do what Harry Redknapp could not: Get Tottenham to the point where they consistently earn Champions League football and perhaps even turn Spurs into title contenders.
That, of course, did not happen. AVB couldn't do enough to keep superstars Luka Modric and Gareth Bale from joining Real Madrid, and he didn't make it through 2013 before being sacked. Tottenham have once again pressed the reset button in the hiring of Mauricio Pochettino, who will be looking to outdo AVB and Redknapp.
2 Chelsea: £87 ($156.41 USD)
They have turned the clock back over at Stamford Bridge. Beloved manager Jose Mourinho has returned to the club. Chelsea are more than just Champions League mainstays now, as they will, barring problems or issues that cannot be predicted, be favorites to win the league come next spring.
History is repeating itself.
While £87 is pricey for what had better be a great seat, Chelsea fans can only complain so much. The team spends money to bring stars to the club during transfer windows, and the players get results each season. You're paying to see a great team if you make the trek to the Bridge to watch Chelsea.
1 Arsenal: £97 ($174.39 USD)
There are arguments for and against Arsenal being responsible for the most expensive matchday ticket in the Premier League. The Gunners are in the Champions League every season. Fans can no longer complain about a trophy drought following Arsenal winning the FA Cup last spring. All is well over at the Emirates Stadium, right?
Not exactly. Nobody is expecting Arsenal to hang with the likes of Chelsea or City in the league. The Gunners probably aren't winning the Champions League anytime soon. A diehard supporter who pays £97 to watch the team probably hopes for more from the club.