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Wolves call season ticket price hikes 'crucial'

Football fans watch Wolves play
One lifelong fan said his son might not be able to attend matches after the price of his season ticket increased by 190% [Reuters]

Wolverhampton Wanderers has called its season ticket price hikes "crucial" in a statement responding to a backlash from fans.

An online petition against the plans to increase ticket prices, some by 190%, has more than 14,000 signatures, with the organisers claiming fans had been left disillusioned, angry, and frustrated.

The Premier League club responded with a frequently asked questions page on its website, where it said it was increasing prices "to align more closely with comparable clubs".

The club said the revenue increase was a "crucial step" in achieving its goals and continuing to compete at the highest level.

Wolverhampton Wanderers chairman Jeff Shi in the stands before the match
Club chairman Jeff Shi said that commercial growth was “vital” for the football club's sustainability and competitiveness [Reuters]

Wolverhampton Wanderers said: "This year, the review showed that our adult prices were lower than most, while junior prices were among the lowest in the league.

"To align more closely with comparable clubs, we decided to increase prices."

The club said the adjustment meant that minimal increases or price freezes would be possible in subsequent seasons.

Addressing why the highest price increase was for junior tickets, the club said it felt this still represented "good value" and was much closer in pricing to that of its Premier League competitors.

According to the club, prices for those aged under-14 previously averaged at £5.50 per game across the ground, and for those aged under-17, averaged £11.50.

With the new pricing, under-14 tickets will range from £9 to £16 per game, with under-17 tickets ranging from £11.50 to £20 depending on the stand.

'Ashamed of club'

The club added: "Season ticket holders are crucial to Wolves, and always will be. Wolverhampton is not a major tourist destination, so local and domestic fans will forever form the core of our supporter base, and match going fans are without a doubt the heartbeat of the club."

Simon Wheway has been a devoted fan of the club since he was eight years old and was taken to a match by his father.

He first bought his grandson a season ticket when he was two-years-old for just £25, which gradually increased and was £105 last season.

However, when he got the renewal email for his now eight-year-old grandson's season ticket, the price had jumped from £105 to £305 - an increase of 190%.

"They are removing the fan base of the future which leads me to believe they just don't care," Mr Wheway said.

Lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers fan Scott Phillips told the BBC he feared his son may no longer be able to attend matches after the price of his season ticket rose by 190%.

For a spot in the Billy Wright stand, Mr Phillips used to pay £835 but he now has to decide if he will pay the new £939 cost.

Neil Dady, the Football Supporter's Association representative for the Wolves 1877 Trust, said: "Wolves supporters are ashamed of our club for what they have done to their supporter base."

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