Football reform - latest action - all MPs

13 06 2013

If your MP is Labour then please use this alternative letter here:

http://bit.ly/13GJdBZ

 

Otherwise please send this short message to your MP using the simple service at http://www.writetothem.com

 

Suggested text for message - [[replace the bold text in square brackets with your own MP's name and your home address]] :  

 

[[Dear YOUR MP's NAME]]

Please may I ask you to consider supporting EDM 157 relating to transparency in football? It is an issue that I feel very strongly about and I hope you do too.

ISSUES OF TRANSPARENCY IN ENGLISH FOOTBALL

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/157

I'd be grateful if you could let me know if you have signed it? 

Many Thanks.

 

Yours sincerely

 

[[YOUR NAME AND FULL ADDRESS]] 

 

 

 

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Football reform - latest action - Labour MPs

13 06 2013

FOR LABOUR MPs ONLY

If your MP is not a Labour MP please use this alternative letter for all other MPs here:

http://bit.ly/175gQ70

Otherwise please send this short message to your Labour MP using the simple service at http://www.writetothem.com

Suggested text for message - [[replace the bold text in square brackets with your own MP's name and your home address]]

 

 [[Dear YOUR MP's NAME]]

I wonder if you are aware of, or hopefully already attending, the Labour policy event next Monday 17th June detailed below?

"One Nation Football – Owning and Belonging", Monday 17 June 2013, 4.30pm – 6pm, Committee Room 8 

This event is being run by the Labour Party Policy Group, as part of its current ‘One Nation’ policy review, and is designed to encourage ideas about how the Labour Party can encourage and develop supporter and community ownership in football. 

The event is being chaired by Clive Efford, the Shadow Sports Minister.

He will be joined by the Chief Executive of Supporters’ Direct, David Lampitt, Guardian Sports Writer, David Conn, and the Chair of Labour Friends of Football, Alison McGovern MP.

This is a policy area that I am extremely passionate about, and as my local Member of Parliament I would be grateful if you would consider attending the event.

If you are able to attend please email onenationregister@gmail.com to confirm your intention to attend.

 

EDM 157: ISSUES OF TRANSPARENCY IN ENGLISH FOOTBALL

Please may I also ask you to consider supporting EDM 157 relating to transparency in football? It is an issue that I feel very strongly about and I hope you do too.

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/157

I'd be most grateful if you could let me know if you have signed it? 

 

Many Thanks.

 

Yours sincerely

 

[[YOUR NAME AND FULL ADDRESS]] 

 

 

 

 

 

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Response from Sports’ Minister Hugh Robertson to CMS report calling for football governance reform

23 05 2013

The following letter was published today setting out the Sports' Minister's response to the CMS Select Committee follow-up report on football governance.

This sounds particularly encouraging:

"I have already been given drafting authority by the Parliamentary Counsel, and my officials have started working up a draft Bill and supporting documentation, should football fail to deliver. This Bill will reflect the conclusions of your report." 

 

Letter from Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport and Tourism, dated 30 April 2013

I am grateful to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for carrying out its follow-up inquiry into football governance, and its report, published on 29 January 2013.

I share the Select Committee's frustration at the football authorities' slow progress in implementing long promised, and much needed, reforms to the game. I also share your analysis that there are three key areas where we need to see real progress made. In particular, the licensing system for clubs, the introduction of a representative and balanced Board, and improved supporter engagement at club level. I agree with your recommendation, that in the absence of significant progress with these by the beginning of next season, we should seek to introduce legislation as soon as practically possible.

I have already been given drafting authority by the Parliamentary Counsel, and my officials have started working up a draft Bill and supporting documentation, should football fail to deliver. This Bill will reflect the conclusions of your report.

While most of the Committee's recommendations are directed towards the football authorities, I thought it might be useful to re-iterate the Government position on some of the Committee's key conclusions and recommendations.

REFORM OF THE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE

I agree with the Committee, that the FA should provide strategic leadership for all levels of the game, representing the interests of the professional and national game equally. I welcome the football authorities' proposal, therefore, to require all committees to report to the main FA Board. The FA Board should act on the recommendations of its advisory game boards, but not be subject to them.

I agree, also, with the Committee that the FA decision-making bodies should be representative of the modern game and its diverse stakeholders, and should be equipped with the right balance of skills, experience and independent expertise to be able to meet the challenges that arise in the game. While I have previously made clear that I think a representative and balanced Board is the first priority, I still expect the FA to deliver its undertaking to have a Board of between 8-12 members, by the start of the 2013-14 season.

CLUB OWNERSHIP AND SUPPORTERS

My Department continues to urge the football authorities to make full transparency of club ownership, a key condition of the new licensing system for clubs. The licensing system should set out stricter criteria, in terms of owners being both fit and proper, and around the requirement to have clearly defined business plans for how they will safeguard the club's future. Taken together, these would provide greater transparency to clubs' supporters. In this context, work is also underway across Government to strengthen the requirements on all companies around ultimate beneficial ownership disclosure.

I also agree that more needs to be done to ensure that supporters' interests are given due consideration in any decision making. I agree with the Committee, that more detail is needed on how clubs will engage with their supporter groups, and expect this to be laid out clearly, in the new licensing system. At the same time, I believe the football authorities should continue to consider ways to actively encourage and incentivise the inclusion of supporter representatives on the boards of clubs. I support the recommendation of the Committee that a long term funding solution for Supporters Direct is needed. The organisation continues to provide a valuable service to supporter groups, particularly those that seek to rescue clubs that have fallen into financial difficulty.

I will be meeting with representatives of Supporter Direct shortly, with a view to working with them to set up the working group as recommended by the Committee.

FINANCIAL MATTERS

I agree with the Committee that the new club licensing system, and the financial rules that underpin this, will be key to ensuring the long term sustainability of clubs. However, further detail is required from the football authorities on the content of the licence, and the role that the new FA Regulatory Authority (FARA) will have in monitoring and enforcing FA Rules and Regulations.

I join with the Committee in welcoming the recent progress made by the football authorities and all 92 professional clubs, in agreeing to adopt Financial Fair Play (FFP) principles. The implementation of FFP should gradually lead to clubs reducing their spending, and as a result, see fewer incidents of club insolvencies. I hope that the FFP, should, in turn, negate the need for football to rely on the Football Creditors Rule in cases of club insolvencies. However, we will monitor the effect this self-regulation has on the financial discipline and solvency of clubs, and, if necessary, will re-consider whether legislation is needed to address this issue.

My Department will continue its dialogue with the football authorities in the coming months, to ensure that necessary action is taken to deliver these important governance reforms.

A copy of this letter has been sent to David Bernstein, Chair of the FA.

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MUST response to news of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement

08 05 2013

In response to the news that Sir Alex Ferguson has announced his intention to retire a spokesperson for MUST, the Manchester United Supporters Trust, said:

"Like United fans all over the world we will be sad to see Sir Alex go. Simply he is a one-off and irreplaceable. Our first reaction is an overwhelming feeling of immense gratitude towards Sir Alex for the truly outstanding contribution he has made to our football club. 

Though his decision will no doubt be greeted with universal dismay amongst United supporters it was inevitable at some point and though we'd selfishly love to see him to carry on there is a point where he has to think about himself and his family.

We are sure his influence will continue to be felt directly at Old Trafford, in the dressing room and in the stands, for some time to come and his legacy will last forever.  

There will be so many tributes made to him over the coming weeks and we'll be giving our own consideration about how MUST and our members will want to mark this historic occasion in a fitting way but at this stage our message to Sir Alex - is heartfelt but short and sweet - 'Thank you' "

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Last chance today (Tues 30th April) to take part in away ticket distribution consultation

29 04 2013

If you're a season ticket holder and haven't already responded and you are interested in MUFC away ticket distribution proposals today (Tuesday 30th April) is your last chance to respond. Details from the club below and you might also wish to view the discussion in the comments section at RedsAway at the foot of this information.

Please read the proposals below. You may also want to think about these questions suggested by members. Obviously we want to create the best outcome for the club (support/atmosphere and allocations) and all fans who wish to attend aways rewarding loyalty while also allowing new fans to get into the regular away habit and especially to include young fans to bring through the next generation considering the ageing population of our support. This isn't about each supporter looking at it selfishly to work out how they can increase their own chances but rather doing what is fair and what is right for fans and the club.

 

Please explain the reasoning for your answer in terms of what effect you think it will have and why this is beneficial?

 

Responses should be sent to mailbox awaygamefeedback@manutd.co.uk by 30th April.  Final proposals will be confirmed at the May Forum meeting. 

 

1. Should new season-ticket holders be prohibited from applying for domestic away tickets for three seasons?

2. Should right to apply for away tickets be governed by not only by how many home games you buy tickets for but rather how many home games you actually attend in person (and support the team)?

3.  Should a limited number of domestic away tickets be set aside for adults wanting to go with juniors to promote the next generation of away fans? 

4. Would you be in favour of the club taking action to improve fan behaviour at domestic away games, for example, to stop people blocking aisles? What action would you like to see taken?

5. To clampdown on ticket touting and ensure the person who was assigned the ticket for domestic away games actually attends, should the club introduce an ID check system? If so, what system would you favour?

6. 
Do you think the Loyalty Pot should remain as it is with no new members admitted, be changed (if so how?) or be removed (if so why?)

7. In addition to domestic home game attendance and away game applications as a measure of loyatly should the number of European away games applied for/attended also add to loyalty points to increase chances for those ultra loyal fans?

 

Official message from Manchester United to season ticket holders.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  

Responses should be sent to mailbox awaygamefeedback@manutd.co.uk by 30th April.  Final proposals will be confirmed at the May Forum meeting. 

 

Away Ballots Final Proposals

 

Following an extensive review over the last few months, the Fans’ Forum is proposing a number of improvements to the process of Away ticket balloting

We are asking for specific feedback on these proposals.

 

 

The proposals are summarised in this note.

 

LOYALTY POT (LP) LONGER TERM

 

Both the Forum and the Club endorse the continuing principle of a Loyalty scheme based on long-term attendance/application for domestic away games. But it needs to be redesigned to make it more open and dynamic.  Currently, to qualify for the Loyalty Pot, a fan had to have applied for every away game during a particular period during the 2002/03 season.  We want to allow fans who have shown great loyalty since then to enjoy the benefits of the Loyalty Pot.

 

This degree of change is beyond the scope of what we initially agreed to look at so we can’t introduce a new scheme for next season as it needs more analysis & design, consultation and notice of change. We should aim for it to be in place for 2014/15.

 

MEASURES FOR NEXT SEASON

 

1             Redistribution of Current Allocations

 

Ballot processes so far this season have reduced LP success rates by about 9% to around 78% (in part due to a run of lower allocation games). This has resulted in a small benefit to ST applicants (now around 15% success rate). Distribution will have to be reviewed further as part of the new Loyalty scheme from 2014/15.

For 2013/14 we should keep LP success at 80% which equates to an average of 750 per game. This percentage should be retained even if LP applicants fall further during next season.

 

 

2          Qualifying Period for New Season Ticket Holders

 

From next season, no new Season ticket holder will be able to apply for away games until they reach Silver level which has reduced from 5 years tenure to 3 years.  All existing Red ST holders will be able to continue to apply.

 

3          Application and allocation controls

 

We want to ensure that, as far as possible, tickets are allocated to and used by those who are actually applying - but we do not want to prevent informal exchange trading between regular applicants, or create unreasonable demands on applicants or the Club.

 

Proposed measures could lead to fewer applications (increasing success rates for those applying genuinely), help to ‘audit’ the current applications base in advance of a new loyalty scheme, and tackle ticket touting (including all sources of premium price tickets).

 

Some or all of the following may be used during 2013/14:

 

1.    Identity and match going status of all current LP members to be re-validated (method may include some form of ID ticket collection for a few selected games, which may include presenting Season Tickets as proof of identity)

2.    Club exercise due diligence with club allocated tickets (player, sponsors etc) on conditions of ticket use.

3.    Discourage multiple and proxy applications in the ST pot – may include validating secondary applicants and/or tickets sent out separately to grouped applications.

4.    Discourage Execs from applying on behalf of others as this impacts on success rates of fellow execs

5.    Sustained Club follow up on all premium ticket sale sources

 

 

4          Addressing Reduced Allocation Issues

 

Actions to improve success rates of ST applicants will be wiped out by continued reduced allocations imposed by clubs or local Safety Advisory Groups.

Incidents have occurred at several games this season. Multiple incidents at Chelsea Capital One Cup (flare, bottle, pitch encroachment) led to a renewed reduction at Spurs. There were further incidents at Swansea (flare) and West Ham (seat on pitch). Other matches have reported issues of major aisle encroachment and steward abuse.

 

The Forum recognises the efforts of club officials and of supporter groups in negotiating with clubs and authorities and encouraging appropriate behaviour. This was particularly successful for the Anfield game following the Hillsborough report. But, we need ideas and commitment to do more in the interest of the core away fan base.

 

MEASURES FOR CONSIDERATION BUT NOT FOR 2013/14

 

1          Possible Registration Scheme for Away Applicants

 

Club officials have suggested that a registration scheme could help to persuade clubs and authorities not to reduce allocations. The suggested scheme would require both a ticket (notindividually named) and personal photo ID card to enter a ground. It might also discourage occasional applicants (eg for popular games). But there would be costs for the club and applicants and some may have civil liberty concerns.

 

A compromise idea would be for ticket holders to show the Season Ticket of the supporter in whose name the away ticket was issued.  This would have the benefit of allowing genuine fans to swap tickets in the event that the original supporter cannot attend the game but with the proviso that the applicant has to give the fan attending the game something of value (ie his or her United Season Ticket) in order to prove they legitimately hold the ticket.

 

Neither the Club nor fan members of the forum are committed at this stage but we agreed to seek initial views from fans on the concept and principles.

 

 

2          Possible Separate (limited) Allocation for Family Stand (FS) Applicants

 

There has been a suggestion that there should be a limited scheme to provide dedicated tickets (located together in appropriate seating) for Family Stand applicants - ie an adult accompanied by a junior.

 

Proposed 25-30 pairs (50-60 seats) per game. For a few games this might be negotiable in the opposing team family area. FS applicants would not be able to apply additionally in the ST pot.  Any net ‘loss’ to be borne by ST Pot (offsetting some gain from LP)

 

 

FEEDBACK REQUEST

 

Although we have sought earlier feedback that generated the ideas that now form the basis of our proposals, we would like your view on the final proposals and other key questions.

 

The Club is committed to an updated Loyalty Pot and the three year qualification period, but we would like any views on the following:

 

1.    Initial views on how the Loyalty pot could be altered to incorporate the principle of ‘recent loyalty’

2.    Proposal for limited Adult & Junior allocation

3.    Other proposals to control applications and allocations

4.    Further potential actions to address minority fan behaviour/reduced allocation issues

5.    Views on the principles of a registration scheme and/ or the use of home Season Tickets to prove identity.

 

Responses should be sent to mailbox awaygamefeedback@manutd.co.uk by 30th April.  Final proposals will be confirmed at the May Forum meeting.

 

Fans’ Forum

April 2013

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>   

 

REDSAWAY: How to take part in away ticket distribution consultation http://bit.ly/17tYk4I

 

 

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Secretary of State responds to MUST’s nomination of Old Trafford as an Asset of Community Value

27 04 2013

MUST - the Manchester United Supporters Trust today (Saturday 27/04/2013) welcomed the comments from the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in response to the news that Old Trafford and Anfield have been nominated as Assets of Community Value by their respective supporters' trusts (MUST & Liverpool Supporters' Union) 

The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said:

"Football stadiums are not only the heart and soul of every team, they are rooted in and loved by the neighbourhoods that surround them."

"Thanks to the new rights we've created, today football fans are exercising their community right to keep the beautiful game at their team's spiritual home by protecting their stadium's future."

"These rights are being used to back many more community ventures from local sports clubs, pubs, village shops and even a pier." 


MUST welcomed the response from the Secretary of State:

"We're delighted to see recognition of our nomination coming right from the top with these supportive words coming from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government."

"We anticipate fan groups at clubs across the country will be exploring nomination of their own stadia both to enhance their protection and offer the future opportunity to take them into supporter ownership, perhaps as a stepping stone towards a significant ownership stake in the clubs themselves."


Contacts:

Department for Communities and Local Government

Media enquiries

030 3444 1201

contactus@communities.gsi.gov.uk


NOTES TO EDITORS

 

The Locality guide: Community Right to Bid – the Implications for Supporters Trusts can be downloaded from this page:
http://bit.ly/11npdDb

 

To contact Trafford Council Communications team: 
communications@trafford.gov.uk 
0161 912 4080 

 

Trafford Council Mayor's Office

mayors.office@trafford.gov.uk

0161 912 4221

 

Leader of Trafford Council

Matthew Colledge

matthew.colledge@trafford.gov.uk

0161 980 1792

 

 

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MUST has nominated Old Trafford to be listed as an ‘Asset of Community Value’

26 04 2013

PRESS RELEASE

EMBARGOED UNTIL 13:00, FRIDAY APRIL 26th, 2013

The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust has nominated Old Trafford to be listed as an 'Asset of Community Value'

MUST paves way for fans to have a say in Old Trafford’s future

MUST, the independent Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, announced today that it has submitted a nomination to TraffordCouncil for Old Trafford Football Stadium, the home of Manchester United Football Club, to be registered as an 'Asset of Community Value' under the "Assets of Community Value Regulations of the Localism Act (2011)". 

The listing of Old Trafford Football Stadium as a ‘Community Asset’ by the council would mean that in any circumstance where the stadium’s current owner were to look to dispose of it, the Manchester United fan community – led by the ManchesterUnited Supporters’ Trust - would have the opportunity to secure Old Trafford’s future.

 MUST believes that the listing will:

·  Reduce the chance that, without prior notice to the local council and community, Manchester United Football Club could move to another location

·  Protect the stadium’s viable use as venue for Manchester United Football Club for current and future generations

·  Ensure it continues as a site for delivering social benefit and community value, both through the continued hosting of Manchester United’s matches, and through the associated community activities Manchester United undertakes

·  Help ensure a sustainable future for Manchester United within the community, with the community potentially owning a stake in the stadium

·  Provide the opportunity to use the non-football revenues generated by the stadium to support Manchester Unitedand its sporting and community activities

·  Ensure that Trafford Borough continues to receive the economic benefits associated with match day activities and the value derived by providing the home to a truly global brand

In its nomination to Trafford Council, MUST set out a number of reasons why Old Trafford Football Stadium qualifies as an Asset of Community Value. Manchester United delivers both social value and community benefit to TraffordManchesterand Salford, and more broadly as an integral part of the local area. The Club’s history in Manchester goes back to its founding in 1878 as Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Football Club.

MUST has sought specialist legal advice on this application and we’ve been advised our nomination is very strong, meets the criteria set out within the legislation and furthermore that there would be the option to take this to Judicial Review should the nomination fail to proceed.

The application by MUST now resides with Trafford Council to consider and they will have up to 8 weeks to make that decision. Should the owning Glazer Family (majority shareholders) wish to appeal against a successful nomination on the basis that OldTrafford is not an Asset of Community Value this would clearly represent a rather odd position given the Club’s longstanding statements on this matter including in its own charter and the website of its community engagement arm – The ManchesterUnited Foundation.

Following a successful listing should the owner of the asset wish to sell they will be required to notify the Council and MUSTwill then have six weeks to lodge a non-binding expression of interest, in which case a window of opportunity of a further four and half months, (making six months in total), will come into effect to delay the sale. The full moratorium period exists to afford community interest groups sufficient time to prepare and raise money to bid for the property, potentially in competition with other interested parties.

MUST is grateful to the Department for Local Government and Communities for its invaluable support and assistance with the application process. We understand Liverpool Supporters’ Union are also in the process of submitting a similar application and expect many more supporters’ trusts will nominate their stadia as Assets of Community Value over the coming months.  We look forward to Government building on this initiative to further encourage co-operative ownership of football clubs.

Quotes

1. A spokesperson for MUST said:

“It is important to understand that a successful listing gives us the ‘right to bid’ rather than the ‘right to buy’. However a listing reduces the chances that Old Trafford could be secretly sold off and worse still Manchester United FC move to a new location, as we’ve seen with such disastrous effects at several other English clubs – perhaps the worst example being Wimbledon/MK Dons.

We don’t have any reason to assume the Glazers currently have any plans to sell Old Trafford and we’d anticipate denials to that effect should they respond to such questions at this time. However if that truly is the case they should have no reason to oppose this application.  On the contrary they should welcome the emergence of any potential bidder as it simply provides an option but no obligation to accept any bid.

We invite Manchester United fans in the community to contact their local Councillor to express support for this nomination and we will also be encouraging supporters to join the trust through our website so that they can be part of the preparations we are putting in place to create a future ownership vehicle for Old Trafford should an intention to sell be notified to us.

We have a number of fundraising activities planned, including a local lottery, to raise funds as seed capital for a future bid vehicle. We anticipate that the vast majority of funds would only be raised in the six months following notification of an intention to sell and we will be exploring the potential opportunity to launch a Community Shares issue in this event. However these preparations and fundraising activities must be started immediately to maximise our chances of success if/when the opportunity arises and furthermore such funds could quickly be diverted into a fans’ share purchase fund in the event that a meaningful stake in the football club itself becomes available.”

 

2. Supporters Direct, the national body for supporters’ trusts, said

“We fully support MUST's application to designate Old Trafford as an Asset of Community Value. If it's possible to protect a work of art, then surely a football stadium deserves similar protection. We hope that the wider game acknowledges the importance of this move.”

 -           ENDS – 

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Locality guide: Community Right to Bid – the Implications for Supporters Trusts can be downloaded from this page:
http://bit.ly/11npdDb

To contact Trafford Council Communications team: 
communications@trafford.gov.uk 
0161 912 4080

Department for Communities and Local Government

Media enquiries

030 3444 1201

contactus@communities.gsi.gov.uk

 

Trafford Council Mayor's Office

mayors.office@trafford.gov.uk

0161 912 4221

 

Leader of Trafford Council

Matthew Colledge

matthew.colledge@trafford.gov.uk

0161 980 1792

 

Deputy Leader of Trafford Council

Alex Williams

alex.williams@trafford.gov.uk

0161 980 3967

 

--
MUST - the Manchester United Supporters Trust
www.joinmust.org

MUST is the independent Manchester United SupportersTrust, a not-for-profit organisation with 180,000 members stretching around the world

Our Inspirational Dream 
Manchester United FC owned by the fans and run for the fans.

Our Greatest Imaginable Challenge 
To create the opportunity for all United fans to share in the ownership of their club, inspiring the participation of at least one million supporters.

MUST is the independent Manchester United SupportersTrust, a not-for-profit organisation and an Industrial and Provident Society registered with the Financial Services Authority (30024R) under the name I-MUST Limited with offices at MUSTTrafford House, Chester Road, Stretford, MANCHESTER M32 0RS

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PRESS RELEASE: MUST response to the news that David Gill is to stand down

20 02 2013


In response to the news that David Gill is to stand down as Chief Executive of Manchester United on 30th June, MUST Chief Executive, Duncan Drasdo said:

"While opinion is split among United fans on David Gill, you can’t argue with the fact that his period as CEO has coincided with our greatest period of success on the pitch. The manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has in large part driven that, but we have to commend the work of the commercial team off the pitch too and of course the all too often overlooked role of the support of loyal Manchester United fans."

"We've had a long relationship with David Gill although for the last 8 years, regrettably, there has been no direct dialogue. Prior to the Glazers' takeover MUST had a very good working relationship and on a personal level we liked and respected him but despite his initial strong resistance when the crunch came we ended up on opposite sides of the takeover barricade."

"Undoubtedly many fans were unhappy that he didn't stand down on principle and appeared to make a u-turn on his previously vehement opposition to loading debt onto our club. Presumably he balanced up principle versus pragmatism and then made his decision and whether we agreed with that or not it should not prevent proper recognition of his major contribution to Manchester United Football Club."

"However we also can't ignore the frustrations we've had as supporters under the Glazers’ ownership following a takeover that has cost our club well over £500m. That is a huge sum of money, lost through payments related to their debt and also directly to Glazer family members, while at the same time ticket prices rocketed and net player investment fell dramatically, relative to turnover.  But perhaps the major frustration has been the lack of dialogue between the independent democratic fans groups and the club’s senior management and owners."

"So while it would be easy to draw up a list of grievances, there is little point in looking back now at what could or should have been. We know that with any change an opportunity may present itself, provided you are open to it, so our position must be to look forward in the best interests of our members, Manchester United supporters, and the club."

"The new CEO, Edward Woodward, is clearly a very capable operator and perhaps he will be less encumbered by baggage from past events and thus find it easier to seek out the win-win opportunities that could be unearthed if the club (and its owners) properly respect and communicate with their fans. "


--
Duncan Drasdo
Chief Executive, MUST
Twitter: @Drasdo
MUST - the Manchester United Supporters Trust

MUST is the independent Manchester United Supporters' Trust, a not-for-profit organisation with 180,000 members stretching around the world

Our Inspirational Dream 
Manchester United FC owned by the fans and run for the fans.

Our Greatest Imaginable Challenge 
To create the opportunity for all United fans to share in the ownership of their club, inspiring the participation of at least one million supporters.

MUST is the independent Manchester United Supporters' Trust, a not-for-profit organisation and an Industrial and Provident Society registered with the Financial Services Authority (30024R) under the name I-MUST Limited with offices at MUST, Trafford House, Chester Road, Stretford, MANCHESTER M32 0RS


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PRESS RELEASE: No festive season cheer for Manchester United away fans

28 12 2012

No festive season cheer for Manchester United away fans

- West Ham reduce FA Cup allocation and won't say why.

- Wigan take away more than 1000 tickets in away end to sell as corporate packages.

- Thomas Cook sell off Madrid tickets first-come first-served over the heads of loyal fans who travelled to group stages.

- Communication with fans reaches an all time low over these decisions.

- MUST, along with the editor of Redsaway.com, call for councils, safety advisory groups and clubs to have to consult fan groups on key decisions.


Manchester United fans have been incensed by a number of recent decisions affecting allocations and pricing at away games around the festive period.

First, the allocation for the FA Cup match on January 5th at West Ham should be set at around 5,300, the same as it was for the Carling Cup game in the same stadium a few seasons ago. While West Ham, Newham Council or Manchester United have not formally announced what the allocation is, we believe it to be under 4,500. No reason has been given by any party for the reduction and no liaison with fan groups was sought by any party in advance of the decision being made. Minutes from the local safety group will not appear online, and amazingly a request under The Freedom of Information Act to tell us the allocation does not need to be answered until weeks after the match is played!

Secondly, Wigan Athletic have decided (not for the first time) to treat Manchester United fans differently to those of all other clubs. Instead of offering the usual away allocation of over 5,000 tickets behind one goal, the club has decided to lower this allocation to less than 4000 and then fill the rest via their own website (rather than via Manchester United) to away fans paying £125 each to have a meal and ticket combined. We believe this to be unjustifiable and believe that any away fan in the stadium, let alone in the away stand without segregation between them and the official visitors section, should be ticketed directly by Manchester United. It is a precedent that is now being copied by other clubs when Manchester United visit, as seen at Bolton and Fulham last season too.

Thirdly, the exciting tie with Real Madrid has caused more ticketing issues. The club's official travel partner, Thomas Cook Sport, have already put five plane loads of tickets on offer to be bought by any member or season ticket holder of Manchester United on a first-come first-served basis. These expensive trips do not give priority to fans with loyalty credits from previous games in the Champions League, unlike the club's own ticket ballot which will prioritise fans who made the long trips to support United in the group stage games in Cluj, Braga and Istanbul. Thomas Cook and Manchester United have always refused to share information on how many tickets Thomas Cook are entitled to, sometimes leading to bizarre and unfair policies such as members getting a Champions League final ticket for Wembley in 2011 by buying a package, whilst over 20,000 season ticket holders were not even permitted to apply for a ticket via the club. It is time that Manchester United and Thomas Cook agreed to have a coherent and transparent system of allocating tickets, so that Thomas Cook can still fill up their trips but giving priority first to those who have accrued loyalty credits recognised by the club.

MUST CEO Duncan Drasdo said:
"The theme that remains constant through many away ticketing decisions is the lack of transparency and information given to fans. We are rarely part of the decision making process on away ticketing issues, despite being the people most affected by decisions. More safety groups, councils and football clubs need to change their stance and liaise with supporter groups when discussing safety, allocations and policies. We are calling on the FA and Premier League to help set up a new framework for away ticketing decisions that ensures fans are consulted in the future. Evidence suggests that, when fan groups are consulted, the problems that safety authorities have raised are far more likely to be solved."

FSF caseworker Amanda Jacks said:
"The FAs Crowd Management Good Practice Guide states that there is plenty of evidence to suggest fans behave better when they feel included. Supporter groups all over the country are keen to be included as part of the solution rather than just seen as the problem. Fans are the largest stakeholders in the game and wed like to see more proactive communication between the authorities and fans."

Ends


MUST - the Manchester United Supporters Trust

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The FSF
 
 
MUST is the independent Manchester United Supporters' Trust, a not-for-profit organisation with 180,000 members stretching around the world

Our Inspirational Dream
Manchester United FC owned by the fans and run for the fans.

Our Greatest Imaginable Challenge
To create the opportunity for all United fans to share in the ownership of their club, inspiring the participation of at least one million supporters.

MUST is the independent Manchester United Supporters' Trust, a not-for-profit organisation and an Industrial and Provident Society registered with the Financial Services Authority (30024R) under the name I-MUST Limited with offices at MUST, Trafford House, Chester Road, Stretford, MANCHESTER M32 0RS

MUST - www.joinmust.org

 

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Happy Xmas - Fergie dancing Gangnam Style #OppaFergieStyle

25 12 2012

Thanks to @AntonAlfy for this special festive MUFC greeting from Fergie

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