League Championship Club Bournemouth Lands Friendly With Real Madrid
League Championship newcomers Bournemouth "have pulled off a considerable coup" by enticing La Liga's Real Madrid to play a "prestigious" preseason home friendly on July 21, according to Peter Mason of the London GUARDIAN. Bournemouth, which is "about to embark on their first season in the second tier of English football for 23 years," will face Real Madrid in a Sunday evening kickoff. The fixture will be Madrid's first match of its preseason schedule, and will be followed by a trip to the U.S. to compete in the Int'l Champions Cup "against clubs of a decidedly more prestigious stamp, including Juventus and Internazionale" (GUARDIAN, 7/2). The BBC reported Bournemouth Chair Eddie Mitchell hopes the match "will benefit the Cherries both on and off the field." Mitchell said, "Life is about building relationships and hopefully there will be further communications with them down the line" (BBC, 7/2).
FANS FUME: EUROSPORT wrote Bournemouth's fans joy "quickly turned to astonishment" after the Cherries announced ticket prices for the match were an "astonishing" £60 ($92). Mitchell had described the fixture as, "a well-earned gift to our fans for their unwavering dedication." It also appears to be an "opportunistic chance for the club to rinse their supporters for a huge chunk of cash." The £60 ticket price is "three times the cost of the cheapest adult ticket for a Championship match next season." Fans have been taking to social media and the club's online forum "to vent their feelings," with some describing it as "absolutely disgusting," complaining that "£60 to see the Real reserves is 'a joke,'" and calling it "the epitome of greed" (EUROSPORT, 7/3). On the London GUARDIAN's Football League blog, Paul Wilson opined Mitchell is "unrepentant." Mitchell: "I don't think that's a big price to see a team like Real Madrid in action." Actually, "Mr. Mitchell, yes it is." Sixty pounds "is a big price to see anyone in action. Sixty quid is a lot to pay for any friendly when you can see most competitive football in this country much more cheaply, though it is the pre-season bit that is the dead giveaway." Preseason "implies sub-season, and therefore sub-standard." By definition "it will not be a premium game, so there is no justification for charging premium prices" (GUARDIAN, 7/3).