How much does it cost to follow your football team?

Following a football team can be an expensive game, not only in a monetary sense, but also in terms of time and emotional investment. But while we’re aware we’ll have numerous weekends ruined by bad results, how many of us take the time to consider how much money we actually spend each season supporting our club?

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Concerns are frequently raised over the price of matchday tickets – particularly for match-going families who can easily spend upwards of £100 every other weekend - but there are numerous other things to consider, such as the cost of travel, food, drink and maybe merchandise, such as a club shirt.

So to save you doing sums, we’ve crunched the numbers and worked out how much it costs to follow each English Premier League team. But we don’t just look at who offers the priciest pies or which fans pay the most for a programme, we take a more off-the-wall look at which teams offer the best value in terms of the price per win, price per goal and cost per clean sheet.

So, in Saturday afternoon vide-printer-style, let’s round-up the results and see who’s top when it comes saving money at the match…

The true cost of… travelling to the match

Although by no means a footballing outpost, the North-East of England appears to be something of a geographical outpost when it comes to the cost of following your team as fans of Newcastle and Sunderland respectively pay the most on away travel.

Fans of the Magpies, the Premier League’s most northerly club, can expect to pay an eye-watering £1,505 per season in travel costs alone while the slightly more southerly Sunderland fans will pay £1,474.

But there’s no evidence of a north-south divide as Norwich fans are next in line with a travel bill of £1,371 per season (everywhere’s a long way from Norwich!), while Southampton supporters stump up £1,327 in getting to and from away games.

Fans of West Brom, Stoke, Man United and Aston Villa pay the least in travel costs, as you might expect, thanks to their central location. And this holds true even taking into consideration that the Premier League has five London clubs that play within around 10 miles of each other.

The true cost of… season tickets

Premier League ticket prices are a massive bug-bear among fans and it appears the wealthiest clubs are charging the most.

The top five average season ticket prices all belong to the big-name clubs. Arsenal top the list with an average season ticket price of £1,470 – yes, that’s the average price of a season ticket – followed by Tottenham, who charge £1,288, Chelsea at £923, Liverpool at £753. Manchester United charges fans an average of £741 per season.

At the other end of the scale (and, quite often, the league table), Wigan supporters pay an average of £325 per season, West Brom fans pay £399 and followers of QPR and Aston Villa stump up an average of £424 and £460 respectively on season tickets.

So, with some of the lowest ticket prices in the Premier League and their geographical location offering some of the cheapest away travel, it’s looking good for fans of Midlands rivals Aston Villa and West Brom.

The true cost of… in-ground ‘essentials’

I’m not sure what they use to heat up food and drinks inside football grounds, but the pies are always hotter than the sun, the tea could probably burn its way through a smelting urn and even the beer is always warm.

Despite this, clubs shift bucketloads of the stuff and, judging by the prices, turn a fair profit in the process. So we looked at how much the in-ground essentials of a pie, a cup of tea and a programme cost fans over the course of the season.

Tottenham and Arsenal top the list again – maybe it’s some sort of (north) London weighting – with Spurs’ fans paying £172 for their in-ground essentials and Gooners coughing up £171.

Next up we have West Brom, with the average Baggies fan splashing out £166 per season on pies, tea and programmes. Fans of West London rivals Chelsea and Fulham each stump up £162 per season.

It may come as no surprise that Wigan fans pay less for pies than any other fans – you could probably liken this to getting cheap Beaujolais from France  – with the average Latic paying £126 a season on in-ground essentials.

This was followed by Stoke fans, who pay £138, and then Everton and Sunderland fans (Wearsiders? Black Cats? I still prefer Rokerites) who each pay £142 per season. Norwich fans are also way down the list, paying £143 on in-ground essentials, and their pies are made to a Delia Smith recipe, so will most likely contain real meat and everything!

And next time I’m moaning about the price of food at Goodison – provided my tongue hasn’t melted, obviously – I should maybe consider that at least I’m paying less than most other fans.

So, with cheap in-ground essentials and cheap ticket prices, could Wigan be the best value club in the league?

The true cost of… a win

In this section we’re looking at teams that offered the best value for money per win last season, so the lower the figure, the better.

As you might expect, the teams that finished towards the top of the league are going to be highest in this category, so Premier League champions Man City (there’s something I never thought I’d write) finished top with a cost of £79.04 per win. Runners-up Man United were also good value at £83.57 per win.

The next team may come as more of a surprise as, of last season’s Premier League teams, it was Everton who provided the best cost per win ratio at £150.66 per win. Almost double the cost of a Man City win, but appreciated just as much!

At the other end of the table, last season was a torrid one for Villa fans, with their team costing a whopping £297.19 per win, although they did weigh in with 17 draws, more than any other team in the league.

The other draw specialists from 2011/21, Sunderland and Norwich, were next in line with cost per win ratios of £253.40 and £231.90 respectively.

James Roberts at Everton v Chelsea

The true cost of… a goal

In addition to being the best value for a win, it was the two Manchester clubs that offered the best cost per goal ratio, with Man City fans stumping up an average of £24.32 per goal and Man United fans paying £26.90 per goal.

Although they only scored 48 goals last term, Fulham were the next best value with an average cost of £34.38 per goal.

With just 45 goals scored and some of the highest travel costs in the league, Sunderland fans forked out the most money per goal, with each bulge of the old onion bag costing £64.82.

Goal-shy Stoke were next with an average cost of £59.60 per goal while Liverpool fans forked out an average of £58.22 each time their team converted – it would have been a different story for Reds’ fans if we’d had a cost-per-number-of-times-the-woodwork-was-hit category.

The true cost of… a clean sheet

Football is all about winning but it’s still important to keep a clean sheet and, once again, it was the Manchester clubs that came out on top. Man United led the pack with a cost of £117 per clean sheet, with Man City offering a shut-out for £130.19.

Swansea were next with a cost of £130.19 with Everton at £188.32 per clean sheet.

At the other end of the table, Norwich fans were the hardest done by in this category, forking out an eye-watering £927.58 per clean sheet while fans of Wigan and QPR followed behind at £479.61 and £319.92 per clean sheet.

Surprisingly, it was Chelsea fans who then had to cough up most for a clean sheet with at a cost of £300.76.

And the winner is…

With a total cost of £1,918 per season, the club that tops the MoneySupermarket league for best value Premier League team is – Wigan Athletic.

Although their team doesn’t usually get going until they looked doomed for the drop, Latics fans save £626 per season against the average cost of following a Premier League team.

So if you’re into saving, then Wigan is the team to follow.

However, football is all about winning, and the best value team in this category, based upon last season’s results, were the eventual Premier League champions Manchester City, who topped the table for both cost per win, cost per goal and came second in cost per clean sheet – and all of this helped them top the Premier League table on goal difference and take the title.

While these results won’t influence your allegiance and have you trooping to the DW or the Etihad Stadium every other week – you can change many things in life but your football team isn’t one of them – they may just make you think about how you can save on your matchday spending.

Follow Les on Twitter @LesRobertsMSM

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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