The price for - and value of - Albion fans who travel away

There is nothing like a packed stadium to create excitement
There is nothing like a packed stadium to create excitement

One of the most satisfying parts of being a commentator is the away games.

One of the most satisfying parts of being a commentator is the away games.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being at the Amex, in wonderful surroundings and closer to home in a familiar place.

When, however, I am making the long trip home after a trip to places such as Middlesbrough, Hull, or Blackburn, it is nice to know we provide a service that means Albion fans can follow their club if they aren’t travelling.

The cost of loyally supporting your team has been in focus in the last few weeks, with coverage of the "Twenty is Plenty" campaign.

This weekend the Seagulls head to Leeds. I have already spotted a few fans on social media commenting on the cost of tickets: some at £37, some at £42.

One fan told me this week it was "a rip-off"; another suggested supporting England away - he estimated £100 for Lithuania away - and Albion at home.

This is no slight on Leeds, in particular, but I find it incredible how supporters find the resources for tickets and travel with pricing as it is.

Thanks to changes for TV coverage fans, often lose out on early-bird discounts on travel and they must dig deep into their pockets for refreshments at a game. Both Albion and Middlesbrough have lunchtime kick-offs to contend with when travelling from one end of the country to the other.

I’m sure clubs examine carefully their pricing structure. But, surely, if more fans travel, they will spend more at the ground. It also creates a better atmosphere.

Some clubs believe it’s an advantage to stick the away support in a corner to help the home team, but my view is this is misguided. Anyone who has squeezed into a packed stadium knows the excitement it can create.

If people enjoy the experience, surely they will come again. I applaud those who are making the trip to Elland Road and I hope they are rewarded for their efforts and investment.

If you are understandably staying at home, then I hope Guy Butters and I will be able to give you a flavour of the atmosphere and the action. The stadium has been a relatively good hunting ground for the Albion in recent years, but it always delivers noise.

Let’s hope we can hear those fans in blue-and-white scarves below us in the commentary box at full-time.