Prestigious friendly is lifeline during hard times

I READ the comments made by Mr Collinson (Observer, July 13) regarding the pricing of the tickets for the upcoming friendly between Hastings United and Brighton and Hove Albion.

If he had looked at the Hastings United website he would have seen that the club offered advanced sales for a family of four for £22 which admits two adults and two under 18s averaging £5.50 each, in addition to the other reduced ticket prices for advanced purchases.

Tickets at the other non-league opponents that Brighton are playing pre-season are of a similar price so £12 on the day in my opinion is not an over-inflated price. He is obviously out of touch with English non-league football. The gulf in income that is generated by two Goliaths of football such as Shalke 04 and AC Milan compared to that of lowly Hastings United and other non-league clubs is worlds apart.

Every non-league club bar none would relish the opportunity to play a professional club pre-season to help ease the pressures of struggling through the season with a limited income.

Shalke 04 and AC Milan have businesses queuing at the door to sponsor them in some manner, the likes of Hastings United have to work extremely hard to attract sponsors and create other income.

Without doubt any player playing first team football for AC Milan would earn more in a week than what the playing budget is for Hastings United in a season, professional clubs have a totally different outlook on pre-season friendlies; to them it’s about getting their players match fit and not generating some income, to nearly all non-league clubs during these hard economic times it becomes a lifeline.

BARRIE WEST

Hollington Old Lane

St Leonards