Half a century of blogs on football governance and ownership issues but this 50th blog will look at how the club deals with the fans. It’s not only just the two issues of ownership and governance which are important to me. It’s the whole football experience, a change of ownership could improve allocations, standing and the general football experience. Currently that’s impossible to get across.
One issue which keeps popping up is tickets and allocations. In the modern game you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem but it’s a massive problem. The standard Premier League allocation for league games for each away team is either 3,000 tickets or 10% of the capacity. It is very rare these days that United see a full allocation of tickets. The main reason that does the rounds is normally persistent standing but it seems this isn’t the case. Each stadium, club and council has it’s own way of dealing with these things and normally the fan visiting has no involvement and isn’t contacted by anyone. When an allocation is cut such as away at Tottenham or Sunderland the reasoning is kept behind closed doors. The club ‘Manchester United’, don’t investigate or publish why the allocation is as it is. When a letter is sent out from the club with the tickets the only word ever used is ‘persistent standing’ but if you ever contract Tottenham Football Club or the local council, the word ‘standing’ is unlikely to the used. The words ‘Health and Safety’ are more likely to be used and the real reason isn’t clear.
Manchester United as a club fail time and time again on behalf of the fans to deal with the issue. There is also a group called ‘the fans forum’ and what they do? I have no idea. Since the club don’t allow criticism of anything they do anymore, there isn’t really much point in the group. Allocations are still dropping, drinks and tickets prices are still going up. Those are the three things most fans are interested in. IMUSA in the past was that group, they called for lower ticket prices and worked with the club on controlling standing and allocations. There is no group like this anymore which challenges the club. It still exists externally but now it has no role within the club.
The club should be challenging standing and allocations. It’s rumoured the standing it’s self isn’t the problem. Keeping the fans informed should be number one and if there is an issue which has affected an allocation it’s best to advise the fans what the issue is. If the real issue isn’t made known it can’t be fixed and it cannot be challenged in the future.
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