A MAJOR new survey of Chelsea supporters has revealed widespread discontent about match ticket prices at Stamford Bridge.
The research by the Chelsea Supporters Trust is the first significant independent poll to find what Blues fans think about their relationship with the club.
The Trust warned the results showed many supporters were reaching 'breaking point' when it came to ticket prices at the Bridge.
It said some supporters were being priced-out, and that there was a direct affect on atmosphere at the ground, due in part to the ageing support that was an indirect consequence of the pricing structure.
There is much anecdotal evidence that Chelsea's home support has become polarised between those aged over 40, and those under 18, with those in the 18 to 30 age group, so key for atmosphere, being unable to afford tickets.
'With the emergence of fans brought up with watching matches on TV, attending games will become a one-off occasion rather than a habit,' reads the survey report.
The cheapest general sale Premier League tickets without a restricted view at Stamford Bridge are the £52 Matthew Harding Lower and Shed Lower seats – booking fees are heaped on top of that.
For the visits of the five clubs considered to be the biggest draw, that rises to £61 for the cheapest generally available seat.
Reduced-price adult tickets are available in the East Lower family section, but these would generally exclude 18 to 30 year olds attending matches without a child.
The Trust survey also found members believed Chelsea lacked a long-term plan, and did not listen adequately to the desires of supporters – as evidenced by the appointment last season of Rafael Benitez as interim manager.
And more than 60 per cent of respondents said that they would consider moving to a new stadium within three miles of Stamford Bridge – though it should be noted that no recognised potential site presently exists within that radius.
Tim Rolls, interim chair of the Chelsea Supporters Trust Working Group said: “We believe it is crucial for the club to fully understand supporters feelings on key issues so that they can make decisions for the benefit of both the club and the supporters.
“Hopefully this survey will be a first step toward that process. We intend the survey to be annual, and in addition will survey our membership on important issues as they arise throughout the year.”