Reproduced with permission from Newham Recorder (Archant Publishing):
The West Ham United Independent Supporters Association (WHUISA) have criticised the club over the price they charge matchday mascots.
An investigation into the cost of a mascot experience put West Ham as the most expensive at £700, while some Premier League clubs charge youngsters nothing at all.
A statement from WHUISA said: “We would like to know the justification for West Ham being the most expensive mascot package available in England.
“West Ham has traditionally been a family club with a strong generational following. Younger fans becoming actively involved with the football club are critical to the growth and sustainability of the fan base.
“Coupled with the financial nature and make-up of the local area West Ham now plays in, it is vital to develop a love for the football club that will last a lifetime.”
West Ham is the most expensive by £100 ahead of Leicester City, while Arsenal, Everton, Chelsea, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Southampton don’t charge a penny.
The statement continued: “As well as everyone else, WHUISA understands football is a business. It’s a unique business in which football clubs are there to make money to keep themselves self-sustaining whilst trying to keep their key stakeholders (the fans) happy.
“Given that some Premier League clubs are reported not to charge anything for their child mascot, it begs the question: why does West Ham United charge £700?”
The club did not want to make a statement on the record about the claims by WHUISA, but they did want to point out that the £700 packages only apply to a very small number of category A fixtures.
Also, the club provide a complimentary mascot package for each game which has included young cancer sufferer Isla Caton in the past.
Mascots at each game can expect to be introduced to the players, have a pitch-side training session, as well as walking out on to the pitch with the players and a ticket for them as well as one parent or guardian.
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