Postecoglou: Blaming 'plastic fans' for Spurs price rise 'harsh'

Postecoglou slams criticism of 'plastic' foreign Spurs fans  (1:48)

Ange Postecoglou addresses criticism of accessibility for local and foreign fans upon season ticket price increase. (1:48)

LONDON -- Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou said on Friday that people who label supporters of Premier League clubs living outside of the UK as "plastic fans" are being "really harsh" and "disrespectful."

Last Wednesday, Spurs announced a 6% rise in the price of season tickets from next season and a removal of concessions for new season ticket holders aged 65 or over, prompting a backlash from fan groups such as the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust who said they were "dismayed" by the move.

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Asked whether Premier League clubs are prioritising attracting "tourists" or "plastic fans" who are willing to pay the most to attend a game, the Australian coach told a news conference: "See that's really harsh.

"I'll tell you why: Because I'm probably plastic and tourist because I was coming from the other side of the world really passionate about football and if I could get access to see a Premier League game, that was the world to me.

"So, to label people plastic or tourist, I don't think that's fair just because people live on the other side of the world. This football club has supporters all over the world, has supporters all over the UK that don't always get access to the games of people who live here.

"And I think we should always have the ability to accommodate them and give them that feeling. It doesn't make them any less passionate.

"I think it's really disrespectful to call fans who are willing to go to the expense of coming halfway around the world [as plastic fans]. You don't know how passionate they are about their football club.

"Maybe they've only started supporting it in the last two years, who knows? I don't know. But that doesn't diminish who they are, I don't think."

Asked whether he felt clubs are being faced with a "balancing act" over whether to prioritise fans based in the UK or those living abroad, Postecoglou said: "Well it's a balancing act only if your end means isn't about growing your football club and I'm talking about in every aspect.

"It's why we do tours around the world is to take this team to places in the world where I know people are passionate.

"I know there are passionate Spurs supporters in Australia, just as passionate as they are here.

"They don't live here, they can't come to the games, they can't buy a season ticket. In fact, I've had friends in Australia who do buy season tickets and can only get here a couple of times a year because that's how passionate they are.

"As long as your overall objective is to grow your football club, then I think you'll find the balance you need."

Spurs could leapfrog fourth-placed Aston Villa with a win over Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday, but will have to do so without defender Mickey van de Ven who suffered a hamstring injury last weekend.

The Netherlands international has emerged as one of Spurs' most important players this season after arriving from Wolfsburg last summer.

Postecoglou revealed that January recruit Radu Dragusin will make his first start for Spurs in Van de Ven's absence on Saturday.

"It's a good opportunity for him [Dragusin]," Postecoglou said. We obviously brought him in with a view that it was quite evident that we were very short in that area and he'd had very good half season in Italy [with Genoa].

"He's had to be patient for his opportunity, which is not surprising because Mickey and [Cristian] Romero have been outstanding for us, and with only a game a week virtually, sometimes not even a game, he's had to be patient but he's worked hard at training.

Postecoglou also confirmed that Richarlison is in line to return to the squad having recovered from the injury that has seen him miss the last two matches, while Manor Solomon is no closer to recovering from the serious knee injury that has kept him out since October.