Season ticket price freeze – Enough for rebel red’s fans?
Manchester United yesterday announced they are to freeze season ticket prices for next season. The news comes as the fan’s Green and Gold campaign comes to a crescendo, with visual and vocal displeasure at the current regime evident each time United play.
It is obviously more welcome than a price increase for the 55,000 season ticket holders at Old Trafford but this freeze will not make all things rosy in the club’s current turbulent relationship with it’s fans.
It should not be forgotten that United were the only club in the whole of the Premier League, to increase season ticket prices just a year ago. Last year’s increase of £1 per game, riled United fans but it was something they had become accustomed to, with prices on average increased by 50% since 2005.
The conductor of the Green and Gold campaign is the Manchester United Supporters Trust who have their roots entrenched in stopping Rupert Murdoch’s takeover bid back in 1998. Their vision is simple, they want a board that they believe has the best interests of the club at heart, if that means themselves, then great, because they would argue no one wants better for their club than it’s fans.
MUST have been avidly against the Glazer’s ownership since they began their takeover but it was not until this January when they would maybe say ‘the penny dropped’ for the wider section of United fans. When the usually so profitable club announced it would have actually made a loss of £31.8 million, if they had not sold Christiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80 million.
This was coupled with news that the club had to issue a bond sale to service it’s mammoth debt, a debt only created because the Glazer family borrowed against the club’s assets in order to take it over in the leveraged buyout.
This news kick-started the Green and Gold campaign which has burst out of the traps, in fact since the start of the campaign MUST has trebled it’s number of members to currently nearing 150,000.
Manchester United’s chief executive David Gill has however stood in defence of the current regime, rushing to ease United fans concerns after the club signed another lucrative sponsorship deal 2 weeks ago.
“We have a sound business model and Telekom Malaysia is partnering one of the best teams in world football. That will always be the case.
The owners thought we were doing very well on the commercial front but that there were other opportunities out there. This is the insight they have brought in.
It doesn’t get much media coverage but the very fact they have come in and are able to do these deals benefits us. We can reinvest that money back into the team.”
David Gill, Manchester United Chief Executive.
He is of course employed by the Glazers, whether that effects his judgement or not is up for debate. The price freeze does go against the grain of the Glazer’s tenure though and so it appears the Green and Gold campaign is not falling on deaf ears inside Old Trafford.
The worry for MUST would be that Manchester United have here offered a sweetener to many fans, in a strange way it may have benefited the Green and Gold campaign if the club had announced an increase in price.
From a business perspective, you could argue that the product on the pitch is the best in world and so prices should reflect that. Of course this is football though and not as simple as most businesses, indeed when I interviewed South Manchester MP John Leech last year he echoed those sentiments.
“We have to start treating football clubs differently to other businesses.”
John Leech MP
In that interview we discussed the likes of Wimbledon’s move to Milton Keynes and there is certainly a case that many fans of other clubs could offer a sense of perspective to United fans.
To be honest I think its funny! Man United are top of the league, still in with a chance of winning the champions league and have some of the best players in the world, and yet the fans still think they are hard done by.
I also find the whole “yellow and green” campaign rather weak. Im guessing the Glazers really wont worry too much about people paying £40 to watch their club whilst wearing a yellow and green scarf. The only TRUE protest would be to stop going and go and support FCUM.
We were wound up for about £35K and we have been run by a very dodgy owner for many years, the FA, League etc must have known what was going on, but because we are only a small club they turned a blind eye. I’m sure if something simular happened at United that the FA etc would soon have a plan to get things sorted.
Therefore I would say to the United fans, if you really think it’s that bad then stop giving your money to the Glazers and really protest, in the mean time enjoy your cucumber sandwiches and continue to enjoy the success on the pitch.”
Ben, Chester fan.
Despite Ben’s damming verdict on United fans campaign another Chester supporter I spoke to offered a little more support.
“It’s a step along the way of returning football to the fans in my opinion. A small one, just like ours.” Canadian Exile, Chester fan.
Here at Football-talk.co.uk, we want to hear from all perspectives on this subject, perhaps you’re a happy season ticket holder? Perhaps your still fuming with the current regime? A fan of another club offering perspective or support for United fans? One of the millions of reds around the world that if they lived in England they would pay hundreds for a ticket and cant see what the fuss is all about?
Everyone has an opinion on this subject, let your’s be known in the comments box below…
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