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WISHING A HAPPY NEW YEAR
TO ALL OF OUR MEMBERS
 
 
 
M.U.S.T Year-End Update
 

Despite the recent run of disappointing results it has still been a successful year on the field for the team and a busy one off the field for M.U.S.T too. We're not going to review the entire year in this email but thought we should update you on some recent activities ahead of a major website and communications relaunch in 2018

While we continue to hold long term objectives of permanent influence through supporter share ownership, most of our work and efforts currently centre on issues that affect our match-going supporters. This has been greatly assisted by the establishment of a more constructive and productive dialogue with the club.

So, to build on this in the New Year we will be launching a new match-going fan's membership option which will help us to better represent your views and influence Club policy as well as providing new activities and services for members.

If you are a Season Ticket holder or match-going fan (or know someone else who is) please do (ask them to) register here and we will supply further information in the New Year. Read more about this in the New Match-Going Membership - item 5 below. 


 

  1. Challenging end to 2017
  2. Supporter Feedback on 2017/18 Euro Aways
  3. Chelsea & Liverpool Chubb Club screenings
  4. M.U.S.T Shirt Signings
  5. New Match-Going Membership
  6. Summary of PL Supporters' Groups meeting
  7. MUST statement on Mourinho Comments & atmosphere
  8. Away Ticketing - Sevilla(A) pricing ...
  9. Fixture Changes for TV Coverage
  10. Safe Standing Campaign
 
 
 
 
 
1. Challenging end to 2017
 
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With the recent run of disappointing results debate has returned to the underlying cause with some sections of the press suggesting fans' blame Mourinho while others are questioning the long term impact of previous investment policy going back to the takeover in 2005. Such debate is nothing new to M.U.S.T of course but it's interesting to see the mainstream press addressing it. Of course we can't turn back the clock but we do think the board and shareholders should understand that fans expect to see Manchester United's profits reinvested into the Club - the playing squad, the stadium and other facilities as well as keeping ticket prices affordable.

Eurosport: The Glazers and Ed Woodward are at the heart of Manchester United's decline

Mail On Sunday: Manchester United's Ed Woodward is about to find out what it's like to be the enemy of Jose Mourinho

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2. Supporter Feedback on 2017/18
Euro Aways
 
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MUST is engaging with Football Supporters Europe - a Europe wide network of supporter organisations that has recently established a formal dialogue with UEFA through which it is able to raise supporter issues and interests. It is currently actively pursuing concerns over Spanish policing (at Sevilla last month and other incidents last season). It has also persuaded UEFA to open a formal enquiry on away ticket pricing at Anderlecht in response to issues raised by Bayern Munich supporters who were charged €100 for their recent Group Stage ECL match. We've asked them to look at the Sevilla(A) pricing too (see 8. Away Ticketing below)

To support this activity FSE have launched an Away Supporter Survey that they are asking supporters to complete for each UEFA away match that they attend this season. This will help build an evidence base to highlight patterns around policing/stewarding, ticket allocation and ticket pricing in particular. To help with this we are asking as many United supporters as possible to complete this. Other Premier League club supporters are being prompted to do the same. We would then hope to see and report a collated picture at the end of the season both for our own matches and across Europe. The survey can be found here

It's a bit clunky but only takes a few mins per match so if you attended a Group Stage away match please do complete the survey. We have had some responses but FSE have asked if we can get more, particularly for the CSKA Moscow match which has not yet had any responses.
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3. Chelsea & Liverpool Chubb Club screenings
 
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Watching games together with fellow United fans and building atmosphere, camaraderie and community is at the heart of what we want to support - both for match going fans and those watching on TV.

So, this season we have brought back the Manchester "Chubb Club" presenting away game screenings against Liverpool and Chelsea at the Bierkeller, Manchester. Attendees enjoyed pre-match entertainment from true United Legends including the original "Scousebuster" Norman Whiteside, and 1968 European Cup winner Alex Stepney.

The atmosphere was great despite the results on the pitch. A shame we can't have more influence but getting to share both the ups and the downs with fellow United fans is what it's all about.

We're planning more for the second half of the season, so if you have any games you would like us to host, just let us know via email, facebook, twitter @MUFC_Chubb_Club etc.

Similarly we're hoping to help coordinate and publicise similar screenings in other locations globally as well as putting on other events on home matchdays. By the way please pencil in to your diary a special event planned in Manchester for the evening of Saturday 12th May - the night before the final home game of the season.

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4. M.U.S.T Shirt Signings
 
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Shirt signings have become a crucial component of income for M.U.S.T without which we would not be able to fund the operation of the organisation. Therefore we are hugely grateful to all members who've supported our shirt signings (and other fundraising activity) throughout the year.

Recent signings include Harry Gregg, Norman Whiteside, Alex Stepney and a joint signing with Jimmy Greenhoff and Stuart Pearson. These items of signed memorabilia are offered to members via our website shop and we will be using them as prizes for forthcoming raffles and online draws. We will also offer them at wholesale prices to branches and clubs (of all kinds) who might wish to purchase them for use in charity auctions or raffles so please get in touch if we can help.

On Friday 15th December we carried out a fundraising shirt signing with Juan Mata. Proceeds will be shared between M.U.S.T and a good cause of Juan's choice. As many will know Juan is a very generous individual who gives up time and money for charitable causes so it was a great pleasure to co-operate with him. Special thanks must go to Bhav Makwana who set this up following his work with Juan on his other charitable projects

We now have an impressive selection of signed shirts (all with certificates of authenticity) which you can find here: http://mustshop.org/categories/Signed-Shirts

Juan Mata Hand Signed Shirt 1977 FA Cup Final replica shirt signed by goalscorers Pearson & Greenhoff Harry Gregg Signed Shirt Alex Stepney hand signed 1968 European Cup Final Goalkeeper shirt
Juan Mata  Pearson &
Greenhoff
 Harry Gregg  Alex Stepney
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5. New Match-Going Membership
 
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As we explained in the opening section of this email we feel it is appropriate to offer a new form of subsidiary membership aimed at match-going fans who haven't already joined as full members. Of course we'd prefer everyone to join as Full Members and we'll continue to promote that as the preferred option.

However we hope this special new membership will help to communicate the major role we play representing match-going fans while appealing to supporters who (at least at this point in time) are less interested in MUFC ownership, governance and supporter shareholding. Furthermore with a cheaper membership option specifically aimed at match-going fans we hope this will allow us to significantly increase our membership base allowing us to better represent this key group of supporters while also increasing our influence and credibility with MUFC and other authorities we deal with.

If you are a Season Ticket holder or match-going fan (or know someone else who is) please do (ask them to) register here and we will supply further information in the New Year. 
 

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6. Summary of PL Supporters' Groups meeting
 
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M.U.S.T attended the latest Premier League meeting along with supporter representatives from every top-flight club with the exception of Manchester City Fans - who appeared to be represented by an empty seat! The Premier League was represented by Chief Executive Richard Scudamore along with other senior PL staff, to discuss a range of issues and update on progress since our last meeting.
 
Although M.U.S.T has held numerous meetings with Scudamore and other PL representatives in previous years this was the third such collective meeting involving fan reps from all PL Clubs following Government recommendations on fan engagement which M.U.S.T lobbied for. (The first such meeting took place in July 2016 and the next meeting is due to take place in March 2018).
 
Amongst the topics covered were Fixture Scheduling and Kick Off Times, Standing, Future Broadcast Contracts, Policing and Security, Matchday Travel Issues, Supporter-Club Dialogue ...
 
The FSF have produced a summary of the meeting here


 
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7. M.U.S.T statement on Mourinho comments & atmosphere
 
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At the beginning of November Jose Mourinho's comments about support from fans resulted in a deluge of requests for comment from the media. In response we issued this short statement offering to work together to address the underlying issues:

"There are differing views amongst supporters on precisely how to interpret the manager's comments. However it's probably fair to say there is a universal desire within the stadium to see atmosphere improved just as there is at other PL clubs. There are a number of factors that have contributed to atmosphere decline over the decades, some of which could be addressed with better co-operation between clubs and supporters.

MUST would certainly appreciate the opportunity to engage with the manager, as part of our existing dialogue with other club officials, on issues around atmosphere and would be more than happy to meet to discuss his concerns"
 

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8. Away Ticketing - Sevilla(A)...
 
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While we can't always influence decisions on allocations and pricing once they have been made, it is important to make our objection clear, not least to put down a marker for future such decisions. Two recent examples are covered below.

BRISTOL CITY(A) TICKET ALLOCATION

This was the statement we issued in response (on this occasion it fell on deaf ears):

"It is disappointing that Bristol City have taken the unusual step, for their club, of segregating the away stand in order to reduce the normal away allocation and admit over 1000 home fans to that stand in the place of Manchester United fans.

While we understand the increased demand for home tickets due to United being in town, the measure not only appears unfair to our large travelling support but also poses security issues. The Bristol City CEO appeared to crow about the away allocation being so heavily reduced. That only serves to make this issue more aggravating.

Taking away 1100 from the away end and giving them to people who are not regular Bristol City supporters (attendances throughout this competition to date have been much lower) will likely result in touting, more away fans in the home sections and more fans travelling ticketless. These outcomes fly in the face of the obvious logic that having away fans safely segregated in one away stand is the best approach to policing fixtures.

We urge Bristol City to reconsider this decision and ask Manchester United to continue their efforts to support increased allocations, which have proved successful recently in seeing allocations increased at grounds such as Chelsea and Benfica."

SEVILLA(A) TICKET PRICING

We were both astonished and appalled to be advised that match tickets for our forthcoming Champions League tie in Sevilla will be priced at £89 (€100) and £133 (€150) for the executive allocation. This is a 65% hike on the prices charged to Liverpool for their recent Group Stage match and exceeds previous rip-off prices in recent seasons at Midjtyland (£70) and Bilbao (£80). As ever we pay the price of our clubs enviable status and popularity.

UEFA's regulations require that Away supporters are charged the same price as Home supporters in an equivalent part of the ground but a few clubs try to get round these by charging a small number of non-season ticket holders a large premium and using that as the comparator. We think this is at best contrary to the spirit and intent of those regulations and at worst not actually lawful. We have raised our concerns with United, who are equally concerned, and they are challenging robustly with their Sevilla counterparts and UEFA.

In parallel we are engaging with Football Supporters Europe (the European level equivalent of our own national Football Supporters Federation). FSE have seized on this having recently taken up a similar issue this season of exploitative €100 tickets at Anderlecht for Bayern and PSG. FSE have persuaded UEFA to open a formal enquiry on that case but will now also take up our Sevilla prices issue with them.

There has already been significant media coverage of the issue and our position. It has also been raised favourably in the Spanish press and Spain's equivalent national supporter body has also messaged in support.

 
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9. Fixture Changes for TV Coverage
 
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The rescheduling of matches for TV coverage is an ongoing issues for supporters, particularly for those who attend away matches or anybody with long travel distances to home matches. Long distance fixtures with very early or late kick-off times limit travel options and limited notice of fixture changes can limit cheap travel deal opportunities. We work together with our fellow Premier League Supporter Trusts and Fan Groups and the Football Supporters Federation to defend supporter interests where these issues occur.

During negotiations between broadcasters and clubs for the December fixtures it became apparent that Sky wanted to screen at least two matches on Christmas Eve including a late afternoon kick off leaving away fans and many home fans (and stadium staff) stranded as public transport shut down. Supporter groups through the FSF lobbied strongly against this both privately with the Premier League and publicly in the media and this action resulted in an unprecedented climbdown by Sky who announced a new schedule with all televised matches on Friday & Saturday.

The downside of that protracted negotiation was a delay in announcing all December fixtures impacting on match travel plans. The broadcasters have since compounded this by delaying both January and February fixture announcements beyond the required six week notice.

Enough is enough here. We have therefore launched a petition calling on the Premier League and the broadcasters to get this sorted. We need as many supporters as possible to support this. Please add your support, sign the petition here
 
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10. Safe Standing Campaign
 
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The supporter campaign to allow some supporters to stand at matches in designated areas goes on. This is another campaign where we work together with other supporter Trusts & fan groups and the national Football Supporters Federation on an issue of common interest. Government is still to be persuaded of the case to make the necessary legal changes, but progress is being made and there have been positive developments in recent months:

MUST continues to engage with United who have now committed publicly to introduce standing section as soon as permitted by government. 

We organised a demonstration of the safe standing system (pictured) for the last Fans Forum to address previous questions that some Forum members had raised about safety.

The FSF Safe Standing sub-group, that MUST is an active member of, recently launched a crowdfunding initiative to pay for the installation of a safe standing section at Shrewsbury FC - standing is permitted at their ground as they have never competed at Premiership or Championship level. Seeing safe standing in place together with Celtic (who are not constrained by England & Wales legislation on this) is another catalyst for change. Through MUST's promotion, United fans contributed the most to the successful crowdfunding and the section is expected to be opened next March.

The Safe Standing Group with FSF support is also engaging with the Premier League whose visible support is essential for a new approach to government. In response the PL have been consulting with their members (clubs) to consider how best to do this.
 
 
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