Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre has warned the club’s supporters to “be careful what they wish for” ahead of a proposed protest over rising Anfield ticket prices.
Supporters’ group Spion Kop 1906 are urging fans to walk out in the 77th minute of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Sunderland in protest over the new pricing structure for the 2016-17 season.
Liverpool announced the most expensive match-day ticket will go from £59 to £77, while the top-priced season ticket price will rise to £1,029, with the lowest costing £685.
The club’s supporters have vented their frustrations at owners Fenway Sports Group, but Ayre insists they do not deserve that kind of treatment from the fans.
“People should be careful what they wish for,” he said on Friday.
“We have great owners – that £100million [for the new Main Stand] came interest-free and they don’t take a penny out of this football club.
“People should make their own decisions but I feel absolutely we have made the right decision and have everyone’s best interests at heart.”
Ayre sought to clarify the new pricing structure, pointing out the fact that the £77 ticket was only limited to 200 seats in the new 54,000 capacity Anfield, and branded any protests over the top-priced tickets in the brand new stand as “staggering”.
“I think there is a difference between somebody creating whatever noise they feel they’ve got to create to get people’s attention and the facts,” he added.
“If you look at £77 as a ticket price and want to walk out on 77 minutes then it is everybody’s right to make that decision.
“But what I would say to fans who are not sure and are thinking about it is: read the facts. £77 is guiding people in the wrong direction.
“It is 200 tickets for six games a season – the best seats in the newest stand in the country. It is less than half a per cent of the total capacity. That’s not the headline.
“I think it is staggering that people should walk out over that.”
The Liverpool chief also pointed out that not enough attention has been given to the pricing for category C fixtures, which is set to be one of the lowest in the Premier League.
“With all the focus on the £77 tickets, there’s no reference to the fact that there are 500 tickets for all the category C games at £9, all the free kids tickets, half-priced tickets for under-21’s,” he continued.
“Someone said to me ‘you’re pricing fans out of the stadium’. How are we pricing fans out of the stadium if 64 per cent of season tickets have flattened or come down, and 45 per cent of matchday tickets have come down?
“Aren’t we feeding what we – certainly me as a Liverpool fan – have been saying for years: more young people, more local people? These initiatives are feeding that.”
Liverpool announced they will hold a live Q&A session with Ayre to discuss the issue on Monday.