Man City returned nearly a third of their 3,000-seat allocation prior to their visit to Emirates Stadium as some fans refused to pay the £62 ticket price. Though City went on to earn a 2-0 result for their first league win at Arsenal since 1975, the scrutiny on ticket prices persisted through the match as the traveling fans who did attend were threatened with arrest by police for bringing protest banners into the stadium. And after the match, one linesman told City defender Joleon Lescott, "They've paid 62 quid over there, go see them." But in the midst of all of this, at least one fan was content to just sit there and knit.
Granted, the match itself was one that many Arsenal fans might have preferred to knit their way through in an effort to its frustrations. Though both sides finished with 10 men, Laurent Koscielny was sent off for his decision to hug Edin Dzeko to the ground in the 9th minute, giving City a penalty that Dzeko failed to convert. City did take the lead in the 21st minute with an impressive blast from James Milner and 11 minutes later, Dzeko made up for his weak spot kick. Up 2-0 before halftime, even City captain Vincent Kompany getting sent off in the 75th minute couldn't save the home side.
The knitting spectator wasn't just a comment on what took place on the pitch, though. It was also representative of the uphill battle against high ticket prices (Arsenal happen to have the highest in the Premier League).
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore told BBC 5 Live that the "most important things" to the league are "A, we keep grounds full and B, we have rules about making away allocations available to away fans." But if you think City handing back such a large chunk of their allocation hints at a growing trend of fans fighting back against revenue hungry clubs, think again.
"Over the last 15 years we have managed to achieve 90% occupancy," said Scudamore. "This year occupancy is up at 95% and could well reach an all-time high this season." So while some fans are taking a stand against paying £62 for a ticket, other people are willing to pay even more just to sit there and knit/mess around on their phone/get blackout drunk. Or have their significant other sit there and knit/mess around their phone/get blackout drunk so they can still get credit for spending a Sunday together.
*Just so you don't go thinking that this is specifically unique to underwhelming Arsenal matches, it should be noted that there was also a knitter at Andy Murray's exciting 2012 Wimbledon Center Court match against Marcos Baghdatis.
- Sports & Recreation