Cost to Argyle supporters over the Christmas period is no laughing matter

Plymouth Argyle’s away fans are renowned for being some of the most devoted in the country, and now they have received national recognition for their efforts.

A new survey has revealed they will pay more to follow their side over the Christmas period than the supporters of any other League team.

The Green Army will have to fork out a total of £468.43 to watch their team in the Sky Bet League One fixtures at MK Dons on Boxing Day and Blackpool next Saturday, according to research carried out by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) in association with Virgin Media.

The analysis includes the costs of tickets, travel and food incurred by fans for the games played between Boxing Day and January 4.

Pilgrims fans will also travel further than any other, covering 1,096 miles to attend the two away matches.

Manchester City supporters will have to spend the most of any followers of Premier League clubs, with £383.63 the cost of attending their matches at Newcastle and Crystal Palace.

The average cost for a Premier League fan will be £182.08, with Chelsea fans having to hand over the least money – £54.63 to watch their team at Arsenal on January 3. Supporters across the leagues will have to fork out an average of £171.37.

Morecambe fans have got the best financial deal of all 92 clubs over the festive period, with £42.89 the cost of going to their League Two game at Accrington.

Chelsea fans will have the least furthest distance to travel of all 92 League clubs – 20 miles.

The average Premier League fan will travel 372.06 miles, with Brighton supporters having to go further than any other top-flight team, 816 miles to Chelsea and Newcastle.

In terms of the cost of tickets themselves, Nottingham Forest fans will be the hardest hit, with the price of their tickets for the Championship match at Leeds at £42. League One Rochdale fans will get the best deal, with their tickets at Doncaster costing £10.

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the FSF, said: “Despite money being tight around this time of year, supporters will be travelling up and down the country over Christmas and New Year to back their teams in remarkable numbers once again.

“Away fans are a huge part of our match-going tradition and that shouldn’t be taken for granted, so clubs and sponsors can and should do more in making football as affordable as possible.”

On a similar note, it was interesting to hear Oldham Athletic boss Richie Wellens describing as “ridiculous” the fact they faced a 600-mile round trip to Home Park to play Argyle yesterday only two days before Christmas.

“We’re away from home and we want as many of our fans there as possible,” said Wellens.

“Unfortunately some won’t make it because of the time of year, the cost and the distance they have to travel.

“It’s ridiculous, at Christmas people will be having to finish work on Friday and they want to go and watch their local football team play.”

Oldham trained yesterday morning before taking a short flight to Exeter from Manchester Airport.

“It is a 40-minute journey, which is obviously nowhere near as bad as what it would have been if we had to drive down the day before,” added Wellens.

“We’ll drive back after the game because there’s no flights home and then we’ll just try and prepare after that as best as we can for Fleetwood at home on Boxing Day.”

With Argyle also facing two long trips over the festive period, Wellens added: “In the Premier League, maybe the supporters aren’t the most important thing anymore because they have got the television money.

“Financially those clubs can do whatever they want, but our club is built on our supporter base and getting the fans in through the turnstiles.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.