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Wolves fans 'Take Back the Game'

Wolves blogger Tim Spiers wants his fellow supporters to 'Take Back the Game' in the next home match against Sunderland - by sitting in silence for the first 10 minutes.


Wolves blogger Tim Spiers wants his fellow supporters to 'Take Back the Game' in the next home match against Sunderland - by sitting in silence for the first 10 minutes.

George Bernard Shaw once said that "silence is the most perfect expression of scorn."

If Shaw had seen Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz's own particular form of scorn at Molineux last week, he might have altered his opinion, but Shaw's much-quoted line might just be put to the test next month.

That's because, for the Sunderland home game on December 4, a campaign group is hoping that Wolves and Black Cats fans will stay silent for the first 10 minutes of the match.

It's called 'Take Back the Game', and is being run by a Bristol-based Wolves fan with support being garnered on Facebook and Twitter - @takebackthegame.

The campaign's aim is to show the Premier League what football would be like without the supporters they are pricing out of attending games.

Now the cynic in me would suggest that this 'protest' has happened already on a few occasions this season, such has been the rather subdued atmosphere at Molineux lately.

But it's certainly a very worthy and noble cause and what most interests me is that fact that supporters of rival clubs would be united together in protest, with the whole thing being screened live on television.

The idea has been taken from a top flight game in Sweden two months ago, of which the video can be found on You Tube, which was designed to show the Swedish powers that be how important fans are.

Supporters of AIK and Djurgarden did indeed stay silent, before erupting on the 10-minute mark in a real goosebumps moment.

It worked wonderfully well, although it remains to be seen if the authorities in Sweden have taken any note.

So can the same notion capture the imagination of Wolves and Sunderland fans and make a pertinent point to the Premier League?

Personally, I can't stand the idea of not applauding the players onto the field, or not cheering if we score.

But a stand does need to be made against some of the, quite frankly, abhorrent things which have happened to our game in the past 20 years and, if this is the way to do it, then so be it.

I might not be as long in the tooth as some Molineux old-timers, but I remember when watching Wolves was a relatively cheap and certainly affordable pastime.

Prices were low, atmospheres were generally loud – certainly louder than today – and supporters had a connection with players who they could associate with.

I also remember not being treated like a customer or a supporter number and being able to afford things like match day programmes or even a bag of crisps – luxuries in 2011.

Back when I started watching you weren't ordered to "make some noise for the boys and really get behind our team Wolverhampton Wanderers" by some chap with a poor-quality microphone.

You could celebrate a goal by – and here's a novel idea – cheering with your mates, not dancing like a lunatic to some godforsaken trumpet-based song being bellowed through an awful speaker system.

I should say that the organisers of 'Take Back the Game' are keen to stress their silent protest isn't specifically aimed at Wolverhampton Wanderers, more against the general monstrous beast that football has become.

But Wolves, although they are stakeholders in the Premier League, are still compliant and, for me, they don't do enough to connect with their 'customers.'

Their ticket offers might be competitive, as chief executive Jez Moxey would say but, judging from attendances this season, they are not imaginative enough to bring in casual supporters.

The recent £99 for five games offer was a decent start - albeit against Wigan, Swansea, Sunderland, Stoke and Norwich - with only one of those being at 3pm on a Saturday.

But this 'build it and they will come' mantra seems to be their only strategy as far as pulling in new fans for the new stadium goes.

Hopefully, I'm wrong there, because the way things are going that will not work and the brand spanking new Molineux is going to look very empty indeed.

While basic ticket prices might need to be extortionate to compete with other clubs, why is food and drink so ridiculously expensive as well?

Travel club prices, official merchandise, it's all too rich for your average supporter to afford.

In fact, there isn't a single thing at the whole club which I look at and think – wow that's a bargain.

Even reduced tickets for the televised Carling Cup against Manchester City were too expensive, as the attendance of 12,436 proved.

Moxey recently suggested that the blame lay with pubs which now screen every Wolves match, but that's no excuse for me.

If tickets, programmes, food, alcohol and the like were cheaper and fans weren't so disillusioned with the game, they would go, because there is absolutely nothing which compares to actually being there.

These people don't want to go to the pub to watch the game on a tiny television screen – they want to be at the ground, but they can't afford it.

Still, as I said, this shouldn't be misconstrued as what the planned protest is about, because Wolves are merely very small cogs in a wheel which won't stop turning.

And, of course, this isn't just happening in the Premier League. The effect of their greed has trickled down the leagues to such an extent that even non-league football is overpriced.

The renaming of St James' Park this week was just the latest example of how the deepest-felt opinions of supporters just do not matter anymore.

What can we do about it? Well the only language owners, chairman and chief executives know is money, so in theory we should vote with our feet and our wallets.

You might see ticket prices soon falling, but then the club would lose money and in the long term wouldn't be able to spend as much on transfer fees or new contracts.

That could lead to relegation and the fans end up losing out in the long run.

But to some people it's not a matter of not going to make a point – Wolves is the biggest thing in their life and they will go every week no matter what.

It's a no-win situation and it's up to the Premier League to rectify it with a player wage cap, transfer fee cap or even a ticket price limit.

But, of course, they won't, because they want to make more money, not less.

They can't anyway, because FIFA wouldn't allow it whether it was across the whole of Europe to allow fair competition. Which, of course, they won't, because it's not in their interest to do so.

So there you go, we sit silently for 10 minutes and hope somebody listens – this is what it's come to.

The arguments have been spoken, shouted, bellowed from the rooftops many times before without avail, how ironic would it be if it was the silent approach which made people listen.

But take back the game? It's not even ours to take back anymore.

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