- Keep tickets official
Arsenal fans were hit hard this year, with their season ticket coming in at a whopping Â£2,039. However much you love football, thatâ€™s a huge amount to spend â€“ and almost seven times more than Manchester City fans had to cough up (Â£299).
Of course, youâ€™re hardly going to switch allegiances for the sake of your wallet, but is there anything else you can do to save money here? The short answer is no â€“ though there are plenty of online resellers around, sourcing cheap tickets from unofficial sources is a risky option. Though you may see some great deals advertised, the best advice is to avoid these sites as you could end up with invalid tickets.
Nevertheless, progress could be in sight. The majority of season tickets have gone down or stayed frozen in price from last year, with teams like Swansea even offering to subsidise away games. The Premier League seems to be listening to supportersâ€™ protests, so bluer skies could be on the way.
- Save on travel â€“ share a ride
Since you canâ€™t rely on your club to charter a plane for the next big away game, travel is the next major expense for loyal supporters. Since seats on club-organised coaches are limited, this is one cost that can quickly add up.
Itâ€™s geographically remote teams like Swansea and Southampton that suffer the most â€“Sunderland, for example, face a 7-hour journey for their away game with Bournemouth on September 19th.
One way to save money is to share a ride. BlaBlaCar is a great way to do this if you donâ€™t know anyone to share with. The ridesharing website connects drivers with paying passengers looking to travel to the same match, so both can save money. For passengers, BlaBlaCar is 79% cheaper than a train, while drivers save a third of their petrol costs for every passenger they take on board. During the registration process, you can specify which team you support so you donâ€™t end up with an awkward rivalry inside your car.
For Sunderland fans travelling on the 19th, the journey would cost around Â£20 per person, rather than the Â£82.80 it costs by train.
- Expensive parking? Rent a driveway
If youâ€™ve driven to the match, thereâ€™s one more hurdle youâ€™ll have to jump â€“ squeezing your car into an overpriced space near the stadium.
Still, thereâ€™s a way to do this without having to sell a kidney: JustPark, a website that can save you an average of 70% on your parking by connecting you to unused private driveways as well as spaces at church, pub and school car parks. Simply go to the website, type in the postcode of the stadium and the date of the match, and it will show you the closest parking spots.
For the Bournemouth vs. Sunderland match on the 19th September, JustPark is listing spaces 5 minutesâ€™ walk from the ground at just Â£3.80 for the entire day.
- Volunteer for your club
If youâ€™re a die-hard supporter, there is one way to see your team play for nothing â€“ volunteering. Look out for opportunities that put you close to the action, though, as you wonâ€™t want to be stuck out of sight of the match. If youâ€™re a trained first-aider, try St John Ambulance. The charity staffs games for a number of Premier League teams, and though youâ€™ll be on duty for the duration of the match, youâ€™ll be bagging a free ticket while doing a good deed.
If you have kids, it might be worth putting them forward as ball boys and girls. They wonâ€™t get paid for the privilege, but theyâ€™ll get fantastic access to the action and will often be given free kit. In order to qualify, theyâ€™ll need to be registered to your teamâ€™s young supporters club â€“ but if theyâ€™re huge fans anyway, thatâ€™s a step worth taking.
- Avoid costly kit
Itâ€™s natural to want to share your support with the world by donning the latest kit â€“ but when youâ€™re spending Â£50 on a shirt, keeping up with the latest kit can become something of an expensive pursuit. Â Unlike the tickets, thereâ€™s no real problem in buying your shirt through unofficial channels, but sometimes avoiding cheap knock-offs is simply a matter of pride.
In the end, it could just be easier â€“ not to mention more practical â€“ to buy a scarf or a hat for all those hours in the stands. And if you are after a deal, a quick search through eBay should see you right.