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Football fans to cut back on replica shirt spending

More than 40% of football fans are cutting back on merchandise spending with replica shirts the biggest target according to Virgin Money’s latest Football Fans’ Index.

Birmingham, Bolton and Blackburn face the biggest drops in the Premier League with 52% of Birmingham and Bolton fans cutting merchandise spending whilst 49% of Blackburn fans intend to make the cut.

Tottenham, Newcastle and West Ham are set to suffer the most on the replica shirt front, with 35% of Hammers fans and 34% of Newcastle and Tottenham supporters ditching replica shirts, despite Spurs launching six shirts this season due to multiple sponsors.

The survey also revealed that the overall match day cost has been reduced by 3.5% compared to a year ago, falling to £97.50 from £101.02.

Grant Bather, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: “Clubs have taken action to cut ticket prices with special offers and season ticket freezes across all divisions. It is good that the matchday cost is going in the opposite direction to price rises across the economy as a whole.

“However the costs of going to live games is still a big bite out of anyone’s income and something has to give. That appears to be club merchandise with replica shirts the biggest target. There has to be a limit to how many replica shirts fans need and some fans appear to have reached that limit.

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, commented: “The clubs agreed to a two year minimum “life” for all shirts and to ensure every shirt offered for sale had a ticket clearly indicating the date up to which the club would wear that shirt. Far too many clubs are driving a coach and horses through that restriction which they voluntarily agreed to in writing in the final Football Task Force report. Such breaches are bad faith on their part.”

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