Grimsby Town fans have shown the power of the beautiful game as football supporters raise more than £20,000 for families who couldn’t afford a play-off final ticket to come along on Sunday.
The fundraising began after huge backlash to the prices of the National League play-off final at the London Stadium on Sunday, starting at £40 for adult tickets.
Grimsby Town’s supporters group Mariners Trust was inundated with requests for financial help amid the high ticket prices, as Grimsby prepare to face Solihull Moors in the capital on Sunday in a promotion final.
The current cost of living crisis is squeezing family finances tighter than we’ve seen in generations, and fans were outraged to see the National League put the large prices on tickets for what is to be a memorable day for Grimsby – though the league has said tickets are cheaper than they were last year.
Anger spread nationally, with Sky Sports Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling expressing his frustration at the prices on social media ahead of the game.
40 quid plus for National League play off final tickets- 20 for kids. Don’t we want people to support their local teams ? They already have to pay for travel from Solihull and Grimsby to East London. These fans are the bedrock of football and yet treated shamefully.
— Jeff Stelling (@JeffStelling) May 31, 2022
However, the supporters have rallied together, and it’s not just Mariners fans contributing to the cause. More than £24,000 has now been raised to help struggling families afford tickets and travel to London for the big match.
Contributions have been made by football clubs across the country, including Sheffield Wednesday, AFC Bournemouth, Bradford City and Grimsby’s last opponents Wrexham Town.
As well as this, National League sponsors Vanarama have donated a total of £40,000 to the two football clubs to distribute to fans for the final.
We’ve donated £20,000 each to @officialgtfc (via @MarinersTrust ) & @SolihullMoors to help with their fans’ travel and to bring down costs for kids tickets. We’re speaking to the league about doing more to listen to and understand the fans to avoid this happening again. (2/2)
— Vanarama (@Vanarama) June 1, 2022
The latest club update on ticket sales came on May 31, as Grimsby Town gave a “heart-felt thanks” to those who contributed to the Mariner’s Trust appeal.
A spokesperson for the football club said: “We have been totally overwhelmed by the generosity of our fans, and others from all over the country, to donate to this appeal, and the £18k plus raised already means that around 900 under 16s could be able to claim subsidised tickets and at time when households face probably the toughest economic situation in a generation.
“It has been heart-warming and overwhelming to see the outpouring of support on social media for the appeal and it shows the power of football and that football fans, regardless of their allegiance, can come together for a common goal.
“On this occasion, football is the winner, and for that we are very proud.”
As for the National League, a statement was released on Wednesday, June 1 explaining the decision for prices and why they decided to hold the game at West Ham’s London Stadium, with many expecting it to be at Wembley instead.
The league acknowledged that “we don’t always get everything right” but said decisions are made “in the best interest of our clubs and the competition”.
The statement says: “We will always listen to clubs and fans to help inform any decisions for future occasions and we always seek to act in the best interests of all parties. Going forward, we want to continue the dialogue with our member clubs and fans to ensure they’re being heard.”