MUST is the independent Manchester United supporters trust. We are dedicated to securing meaningful permanent ownership of MUFC for supporters.

West Ham accused of excluding MUFC from key meeting seting FA Cup replay allocation

01 04 2016

A row has broken out over allegations that West Ham officials did not inform United of a key meeting. United will visit Upton Park on April 13 for an FA Cup quarter final replay and the away allocation has been set at 4,905.

 
This is 347 fewer tickets than the competition entitlement and 1,085 fewer than Liverpool got when they played in an FA Cup fourth round replay in February.
 
After meeting with MUST committee members last year, United officials acknowledge the importance of Safety Advisory Group (SAG) meetings – where some ticket allocations are set – and agreed to start attending them when necessary.
 

M.U.S.T. - the Manchester United Supporters Trust

It is understood that United contacted West Ham around March 14 about the away fans’ allocation for the match.
 
United were unable to contact SAG organisers directly as is it protocol to make such requests via host clubs - in this case West Ham.
 
A United source said: “A member of staff personally requested to be invited (to the West Ham SAG meeting) via the ticket office manager at West Ham, but we were given radio silence for four days, only to then be told that the SAG meeting had taken place and the 4,905 allocation was decided.”
 
At the SAG meeting, on March 15, representatives from West Ham, Newham Council and the emergency services agreed the away-end layout.
 
They said the front two rows of the upper and lower tier of the away end cannot be sold and neither can two columns of aisle seats or the block closest to the West Stand.
 
United believe that, without these reductions, the allocation would have been approximately 1,000 higher – similar to Liverpool's. 
 
The presence of a United member of staff at the SAG meeting could arguably have led to a higher allocation as they could have suggested ways of tackling potential safety problems not open to other officials.
 
Such measures might include putting United stewards in the away end and sending letters to all ticket holders asking them to be aware of ground regulations.
 
United have earned ticket increases or prevented ticket reductions at other away games this season by suggesting such measures.
 
What has left officials frustrated on this occasion is that they were not given the opportunity to make their case and fans have potentially lost out as a result.
 
MUST asked West Ham United for a comment but has so far not received a response.
 
Responding to a fan's query, West Ham's supporter liaison officer Sascha Gustard-Brown said: "This particular meeting is organised and chaired by the local council, one to which we are invited to. 
 
"It is not a meeting we lead on, or ‘own’ and as such we do not have any control over who is/is not invited."
 
On behalf of West Ham SAG, a Newham Council spokesman did not comment on why United were not informed of the meeting.
 
A statement reads: “The issue of the seat allocation for the forthcoming cup tie between West Ham United and Manchester United was discussed at a meeting of the SAG on March 15.
 
“This group includes representatives of West Ham United and the emergency services.
 
“Measures to help ensure the safety of those attending the match were agreed which the club are now taking forward.”
MUST have written to the Premier League about the issue.
 
The Premier League has spoken to officials at the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), which provides advice to SAGs on allocation-setting issues.
 
While no SGSA representative was at the March 15 meeting, they are expected to attend future meetings.
 
The Premier League has asked SGSA officials to ensure United are informed of any West Ham SAG meeting at which the away ticket allocation for the May 10 league game will be set.
 
A Premier League source said: “It doesn’t make sense for representatives of the visiting club to be excluded.”
 
When similar issues have arisen in the past, the FA, which governs the FA Cup, has said the away allocation-setting procedure is the responsibility of the local SAG.
 
MUST has written to the West Ham SAG chairman to raise concerns about the matter.
 
MUST has also submitted Freedom of Information Requests for emails and meeting minutes to establish what were viewed as the key differences between West Ham's matches against Liverpool and United.

 

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United Voice - Supporters Survey 2015

29 01 2016

Please click the links below to see our United Voice - Supporters Survey 2015

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Report published by the Government’s Expert Working Group on Supporter Ownership and Engagement

19 01 2016

The Government today published the report of the Expert Working Group on Supporter Ownership and Engagement

In addition to our written submissions M.U.S.T. was invited to make presentations to the group on two occasions and we highlighted the need for legislative change if we were to see meaningful reform. The full report can be read here. Responding to press inquiries today a spokesman for M.U.S.T. said:

"Whilst we welcome the proposals to assist supporter ownership of clubs in the event of insolvency, the reality is that insolvency is mercifully rare. For the vast majority of football supporters, whose clubs are not facing insolvency, the proposals aimed at reducing barriers to supporter ownership offer little and thus we believe the Government needs to continue to review this if they are serious about meeting previous manifesto commitments”

“Building on the progress that the report makes for the few clubs facing insolvency, we now call on the Government to take a more comprehensive look at football club governance. Football clubs are community assets as much as they are private assets, and the Company Law which governs them must now be reformed to reflect that. Investment in football clubs is welcome, but we must ensure that we get the right balance between the long-term interests of the football club and the short-term needs of the shareholders." 

 

M.U.S.T. - the Manchester United Supporters Trust

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Information for MUFC fans from Liverpool(A) Police meeting

14 01 2016

M.U.S.T. was invited to attend the Police - Supporters meeting ahead of Liverpool vs Manchester United. It was positive to see that for the first time to our knowledge MUFC sent a senior member of ticket office staff to this meeting which is a development we welcome. Duncan Drasdo attended for M.U.S.T. and was joined by Amanda Jacks of the FSF. 

M.U.S.T. - the Manchester United Supporters Trust

Notes from meeting below:

Entrance to correct seating section:
Due to problems previously with blocking entrances/stairs/aisles there will be additional measures in place to ensure people enter seating area via the correct vomitory (seating block entrance/exit from concourse) for the section the ticket is allocated to.

Concourse bars 
Bars will be open serving alcohol but will close if there are problems - abuse of staff, beer throwing etc

Announcements on the day
Any Police announcements (from @MerPolLFC) or other info on the day will be tweeted by @MU_ST and/or @redsaway on the day

General info
Turnstiles open at 12.35 - don't bring bags if you can avoid it as it slows entry due to security searches

Offensive chanting and gestures
Much improved on previous years but any fans making offensive gestures or chanting will be subject to ejection and/or arrest. If not ejected at the time CCTV may be used retrospectively to identify and ban offenders

Buses back to Lime Street
Police will not confirm until after the match whether special buses will run back to Lime Street

Hold back
Expect 10-15 mins hold back. If fans stay in seated areas rather than gathering in aisles and around exit vomitories then toilet access will be allowed upon request but numbers will be limited.

Exiting stadium - route away from ground
On exiting the stadium, for security reasons, the Police will insist that everyone is directed onto Anfield Road and turns right towards the Arkles

Pubs
In addition to most pubs in town being open to general public Police advise that:
The landlord welcomes United fans at (Everton pub) The Brick, 44 County Road, L4 3QL
Liverpool fans only at The Arkles and The Flat Iron

MUFC allocation for future matches
This is constantly under review and the following are likely to lead to decreased allocations in future:

Fans standing/blocking aisles, staircases or vomitories
Disorder or flares, missiles etc

Much of the information above is well known to regulars but we reproduce it for less experienced away fans who may be unaware

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M.U.S.T. fight for increased Manchester United away allocations - latest update - Stoke City

10 12 2015

Stoke froze United’s allocation after a fan injured a child while trying to get into the ground.

United will get just 2,592 tickets for the Boxing Day clash, whereas Liverpool got the maximum of 2,731 earlier this season.

Stoke and Stoke-on-Trent City Council initially refused to justify the freeze until the council was today forced to, by revealing documents tagged ‘confidential’ and ‘classified’ under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents indicate that Stoke officials took great exception to the possibility of Premier League intervention into the issue and show they were not even willing to discuss with United officials the possibility of, for example, United stewards manning the away end – as has successfully been used at other games.

M.U.S.T. - the Manchester United Supporters Trust

MUST committee member for away ticketing issues Dale Haslam said: “Stoke have sound reasons for freezing the allocation and, while the Boxing Day stewarding operation seems strong, hopefully it will mean a maximum allocation next season.

“However, we strongly object to the fact that Stoke reached the decision without even listening to United’s offers to help and that they were not willing to justify the freeze to MUST.

“In an age of supporter liaison officers, this is unacceptable and we would urge Stoke to liaise with supporters better next season. Every other Premier League club manages it, and so should Stoke.”

The documents show that, when the teams last met at the Britannia Stadium, club stewards were faced with “marauding Manchester United supporters attempting to infiltrate exit gates around the stadium, resulting in excess of 40 ejections and one arrest of a Manchester United supporter, who assaulted a child in the Family Stand by attempting an unauthorised entry into the stand,” according to Stoke’s head of health, safety and security Ravi Sharma.

He added: “We also had issues with ticket touts and attempts of ticket pass-backs.

“Even more perverse was the situation of over 40 Manchester United fans turning up with no tickets whatsoever – who even traveled on coaches with the intention of gaining access into the ground.

“Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence for this fixture and, therefore, the operation has to be managed appropriately.”

Mr Sharma added that there was “persistent standing, blocking of gangways, vormitories and aisles and unruly behaviour.

“We also will not be selling alcohol in the concourse and all shelving, signage or anything that cannot be secured properly will be removed, based on the previous past couple of seasons’ behaviour of visiting supporters.

“Also, we will be bringing in extra steward resources to assist in the searching operation outside and also to manage appropriately inside the stadium.”

Mr Sharma added: “We, as a club, considered reducing your allocation further, but we have not done so and will obviously monitor your supporters’ behaviour this season.

“We take absolutely no pleasure in putting restrictions in place, but we have to maintain a safe environment.”

The documents show that, at some point before November 12, Stoke contacted United to state the allocation would be frozen, without explanation.

On November 12, United staff wrote to Stoke asking why and for a meeting.

Mr Sharma provided a detailed explanation to United – as outlined above – but ignored the request for a meeting.

United responded on November 16 to repeat the request for a meeting.

“We would like the opportunity to discuss/attempt to resolve this without us involved the Premier League,” said the United official in an email.

That prompted an email from a Stoke City employee to Stoke-on-Trent City Council officials, a police officer and a Sports Grounds Safety Authority official, which reads: “As you can see, [United] are now objecting [to the allocation] with a veiled attempt at bringing in the Premier League.

“As far as I am concerned, I have provided more than enough information/justification for this decision.

“If they were to request a meeting [with the Premier League], then I would oppose the Premier League’s passing decisions on our safety management processes. I would also open out the meeting to yourselves to attend.”

A council employee responded by indicating he supported Stoke City’s position.

The documents then show how council staff responded to Reds Away enquiries about the club’s right to set the allocation without council interference, but at no point attempted to provide information justifying the frozen allocation.

Separate enquiries to Stoke City were met with a suggestion that Reds Away should get such information from United.

In one email, Stoke’s supporter growth and services manager Anthony Emmerson wrote: “The simple answer is that the matter will be discussed club to club.”

Reproduced with permission from original article on Reds Away on UWS


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