Picture the scene if you will – a sun soaked venue, bursting with families – full of hope and unbridled patriotic joy! Football’s coming home! Yes – the 2018 World Cup was a triumph for the audiences and vendors of Folkestone Harbour Screen – packed out crowds paying around £10 per person for a burger and chips, £2 for a soft drink and £5 / £6 for a wine / beer.
It was idyllic. Of course the demand for seats outstripped the availability so the Folkestone Harbour Screen organisers sensibly implemented a ticketing system where people had to register and book tickets online. Of course they went instantly, but this allowed the company to manage numbers and control crowds.
Fast forward to 2021 – and the catching up of the postponed Euro 2020 football tournament, delayed of course by the devastating Covid 19 pandemic which swept the globe. Bearing in mind that people have been denied the opportunity to watch their teams, to gather in public to watch games and to spend time with like minded football fans to cheer on the national team – what a great opportunity to replicate the triumphant World Cup experience at the Harbour Arm big screen, right?
Instead the Harbour Screen has decided to charge £10 PER PERSON to watch the England games which are being broadcast FREE on TV. And that £10 per person applies only to the England games – if you’re a Scotland supporter you can watch every game at the Harbour Screen for free – oh, hang on… unless it’s Scotland v England when it will cost – you’ve guessed it – £10 per person.
To be clear – a family with two parents and three kids will be charged £50 to sit down and watch a game before they have shelled out for overpriced food and drinks. Let’s assume this family of two parents and three kids have dinner and two drinks each – the price of watching a game broadcast FREE will be in the region of £120.
And – as if to underpin just how pathetically out of touch the Harbour Screen company really is, they send this to their email list:
“Introducing a ticketing system for just the England Games at the EUROs has allowed us to make sure that we can bring the Lions back to the Harbour Arm in a safe, manageable environment”
Seriously? Any self respecting football fan would have choked in their Yorkshire tea to read that – everyone knows that ‘the Lions’ are Millwall! Three Lions – yep, you’ve got a point, but ‘the Lions’ – oh, just so embarrassing. A bit like The Fast Show’s pretend football fan shouting ‘Soccer!’ when watching the beautiful game.
The social media reaction by Folkestone folk who had enjoyed the 2018 experience at the big screen was encouragingly vitriolic. And the fact that it took weeks to sell out two of the three England games (tickets still available for one at the time of going to press) speaks volumes.
Football is the game of the people, not the preserve of the wealthy. Shepwayvox implores you to carefully consider where you support England – and where you spend your money – there are many who truly deserve it, especially grass roots sports clubs and local pubs. Plus the company’s whose logo is on the signage at the Harbour – Folkestone Harbour & Seafront Development Ltd – is a dormant company, so generates no profits and pays no tax, according to Companies House.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime