Marco Silva addresses Fulham ticket prices ahead of fan march

Silva has empathy for fans - but wants supporters united (AFP via Getty Images)
Silva has empathy for fans - but wants supporters united (AFP via Getty Images)

Marco Silva has called the disputes over ticket prices at Fulham “a distraction” from on-field matters, but insisted fans should be able to “afford all the matches”.

An organised march has been planned ahead of kick-off when Fulham welcome Manchester United to Craven Cottage in the early kick-off on Saturday, while sections of the support will hold up yellow cards in the 18th minute which say: ‘Please don’t price us out.’

It comes after Fulham last summer announced an 18 per cent ticket price hike, and some tickets for the visit of United cost supporters £160, which is a record price in Premier League history.

“It’s a commercial decision from the club — it’s not my decision”, Silva said on Friday. “What I would like to see is everybody happy. I have empathy with the fans of course. I understand their point of view and of course I can show empathy for them.

“But would I would ask from them to make [Craven] Cottage bouncing from the first minute. Fantastic support last two away games, [including] what they did in Brighton. We have to be sure Fulham fans can afford all the matches. We want them behind the team.”

Silva insisted it is crucial that the fans’ disgruntlement over ticket affordability doesn’t linger on all season.

“It is really important”, he said. “I don’t want this to be a distraction. We are here talking about Fulham versus Man United, and I’ve been asked three or four times about the ticket prices. This is a distraction, clearly.

“What I would like, and what I wish, really, is that from the kick-off, everyone is on the same page. About empathy, of course I have it and I would like to see everybody happy with everything that involves Fulham FC.”

Calvin Bassey is expected to line up alongside Tim Ream again on Saturday, with Issa Diop still out with a foot injury. Diop played well in recent fixtures against Brighton and Ipswich, and Silva is confident the summer recruit, who cost £18.5million from Ajax, is putting a tough start to life in England behind him.

Bassey has endured a difficult start to life at Fulham (REUTERS)
Bassey has endured a difficult start to life at Fulham (REUTERS)

“We spent, it is true, a very good amount of money on him. I was really confident that he is going to be a key player for us in the future when I took the decision to buy him. With players who sign for this football club, if I’m on [board with] it, they don’t come. Now I am more sure he is going to be important for us and we took the right decision.

“He’s a very good player. I’m sure that he is going to improve. He needs to be louder and show more leadership. But I am sure that he took the right decision when he signed for our football club.”