Dave Seddon’s PNE Press View

Jermaine Beckford with PNE owner Trevor Hemmings at Legacy Rainbow House this week
Jermaine Beckford with PNE owner Trevor Hemmings at Legacy Rainbow House this week
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The Price of Football survey delivered by the BBC, is establishing itself in the sport’s calendar in a similar way to transfer-deadline day and the release of the fixtures.

At 10pm on Wednesday night we were bombarded by ticket prices and the cost of pies at grounds in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

This is the fifth year in which the Beeb have released their findings and it certainly does deliver some sobering figures.

Yes, pies cost a lot more than those at Berrys and Rounds, and how a cup of tea tips over the £2 mark at the majority of stadiums, is difficult to work out.

But it is ticket prices which jump out and leave you wondering if there ever be an end to their growth.

Just over a grand for the cheapest Arsenal adult season ticket? Another thousand on top of that for the most expensive at the Emirates?

Pass me the begging bowl!

In the Premier League, the amount of money sloshing about in the pot does beg the question: Why is so much cost is passed on to the supporter?

Turnstile and season ticket money is a relatively small revenue stream in the grander scheme of things.

Next season when the new £5.1bn television deal kicks in, the club finishing bottom of the Premier League will bag a cool £100m – a reward for failure.

In mind of those figures, how ticket prices of £50 upwards can be justified is a puzzle.

Further down the football pyramid, money from ticket sales forms a much more vital source of income for clubs.

For some Football League clubs, clicking turnstiles are the difference between existing and going under.

Clubs have to do a delicate balancing act. Do they go higher in terms of prices or drop lower in the hope more fans will pay the smaller amount?

English football has to find some greater equality in terms of how money is distributed.

Of course the greater rewards will always come at the top, as in any sport.

But the difference between the Premier League and even the Championship, let alone Leagues One and Two, the National League and below, is frightening.

I fear that as time goes by, the Price of Football survey will make for similar reading year on year.

It is a well-meaning project but is anyone who counts actually taking any notice of it?

One small step in the right direction within the Football League, could be a better distribution of televised games.

I swear that I have a new TV channel called Sky Sports Leeds, found lurking under Sky Sports Five in the list.

By the time we get to the end of December, Leeds will have had 10 of their games broadcast live this season.

The Elland Road outfit are one of the better-supported clubs in the Championship and indeed have a decent history over the last four decades.

However, they head into this weekend in 16th place and are unlikely to be promotion candidates.

Yet Sky have this burning desire to show them as often as possible, no doubt taking into account they have fans spread far and wide who will only too happily pay for subscriptions.

This is not me wearing my North End hat and arguing that PNE should be on more.

After all, their final four matches of last season and the first game of this term, were all televised live.

Mind you, the three play-off games would be broadcast, regardless of those involved.

But there should be a better spread of clubs getting their time in front of the cameras and collecting a broadcast fee.

The nitty-gritty of football finance boils down to many clubs needing a backer.

Responding to my request for a comment on the Price of Football survey, North End acknowledged that it needed ‘substantial’ funding by owner Trevor Hemmings to remain a viable business, regardless of prices at the turnstiles.

I am sure such a statement, just with a different name, has been issued by a number of other clubs.

Sticking with the subject of money but in a different sense, it was heartening to see the generosity of Hemmings and the PNE squad at Legacy Rainbow House this week.

Tucked away on a country lane in Mawdesley, it is a centre which does tremendous work to help children with acquired brain injury and multiple disabilities.

A new hub was completed with a £110,000 donation from Hemmings, the Preston players putting in £10,000 to buy prizes – including a car, moped and three bikes – for the centre’s Christmas raffle.

They might be struggling on the pitch, but off it, this was the form of champions.