Liverpool’s owners have performed a U-turn on proposed ticket increases after apologising to fans for getting their plans wrong.
Principal owner and John W Henry and chairman Tom Werner were understood to be shocked at the sight of an estimated 10,000 fans walking out of Saturday's Barclays Premier League match against Sunderland in the 77th minute in protest at increases next season which included a new £77 match ticket and the club's first £1,000 season ticket.
Press Association Sport understands they were also surprised by the level of abuse directed at them – fans chanted 'You greedy b******s, enough is enough' before walking out.
It is understood Henry and Werner were keen to stress they believe the connection between supporters is "unique and sacred" and that is the reason they have acted so swiftly to prevent further damage to their relationship with the fanbase.
Having promised an immediate review the American-based owners have listened to the concerns of fans and moved quickly to try to rectify the situation.
As a result they have announced a number of changes to their initial proposals in a structure which will also remain for the 2017/18 season.
Revenue generated from ticket prices will be frozen at 2015-16 levels; this means the highest match-day price for a general admission ticket will remain at £59 – the lowest will be £9 and these tickets will be offered for every match with an allocation of 10,000 across the season.
The highest season ticket price will be frozen at £869 and the lowest £685.
Liverpool's owners have also announced the removal of game categorisations, so regardless of the opposition, supporters will pay the same price for match day tickets.
"It has been a tumultuous week," said an open letter jointly signed by Henry and Werner.
"On behalf of everyone at Fenway Sports Group and Liverpool Football Club we would like to apologise for the distress caused by our ticket pricing plan for the 2016/17 season.
"We were strongly engaged in the process to develop the ticketing plan for 2016/2017.
"We met directly with representatives of LFC's Supporters' Committee and along with LFC management, wholeheartedly agreed with major concerns raised, notably: access for local and young supporters; engagement and access to Anfield for local children; access to Premier League matches for those in Liverpool most challenged by affordability.
"We believe the plan successfully addressed these concerns and are disappointed that these elements have been either lost or, worse, characterised as cynical attempts to mask profiteering in the plan as a whole.
"Rather, we prefer to look at them as the parts of the ticketing plan we got right.
"On the other hand, part of the ticketing plan we got wrong."
New LFC ticket prices for 2016/17 and 2017/18:
Here are the changes:
After an intense period of consultation with LFC management we have decided to make major revisions to our ticketing structure for 2016-17:
- Removal of game categorisation – regardless of the opposition fans will pay the same price for matchday tickets.
- The pricing of tickets will be readjusted to result in zero revenue growth from GA ticketing on a like-for-like basis.
- Though individual ticket prices may move marginally from this season, we are freezing our 2016-17 GA ticket revenue at the 2015-16 level exclusive of newly-added seats in the new Main Stand.
- The price of our highest general admission ticket will be frozen at the 2015-16 level – £59.
- The price of our highest season ticket will be frozen at the 2015-16 level – £869.
- £9 GA seats will be offered for each and every Premier League match, an allocation of more than 10,000 tickets across the season.
The lowest price reducing a further £25 from the 2015-16 level to £685, as well as all other tiers being frozen or reduced.
We would hasten to add that the other initiatives announced last week in the 2016-17 plan will remain:
- 17-21 young adult concession – 20,000 tickets across the Premier League season available at a 50 per cent reduction for young people.
- 1,000 tickets to Premier League matches across the season will be given away free of charge to Liverpool schoolchildren based on merit, as recommended by their teachers.