General

20/12/2018

December Update

 



The Manchester United Supporters Trust
 
December Update
 
 
 

M.U.S.T has gone into overdrive during the last three months, which sadly is more than can be said for the team on the pitch. We have taken up, and made progress on, some big supporter issues and also launched our new Independent Supporter Liaison Officer (ISLO) service, as well as ramping up our community and charity work. You can read more about all of these activities in this bulletin, following which, if you are not already a member of MUST, we would like you to consider giving us your support by taking up our new Membership offer.
 
 
  1. New M.U.S.T Membership
  2. Stadium Development Announcements
  3. UEFA Away Tickets
  4. Everton Fixture Change
  5. Community & Charity
  6. New National Supporters Assocation
  7. Ole & Jose
 
 
 
1. Introducing a NEW M.U.S.T Membership
 
Welcome To Manchester - 20 times
 
Why have we launched this?
While the optimum ownership model involving supporters remains a key objective our mission also includes supporting the needs of match-going supporters and this is an area where we can have more impact currently. Consequently this is the focus of much of our efforts in the short term. Since we re-established a dialogue with the new Executive Board in 2014 we have significantly and successfully ramped up our work on supporter issues, focussing particularly on ticket prices, away match issues (including ballots, the club’s disciplinary policy and travel issues) and stadium atmosphere. At a national level we work with the Football Supporters Federation and follow PL Supporter Trusts to campaign for a better deal for supporters including safe standing, issues around fixture changes for TV and away ticket prices - the £30 away ticket cap was a major achievement, delivered by coordinated supporter group action.

But we recognise that many match going supporters do not have a real interest in supporter ownership and may not have considered joining MUST for that reason. It is important to appreciate that we are asked about our membership numbers when we meet with board members so they clearly view this as a measure of our legitimacy as representatives. So every member who joins or renews as a Full or Match Going Member strengthens our ’negotiating position’.
 
What does Match Going membership give you?
We will give you the opportunity to input to regular surveys, based on your match-going profile, and will use their findings to inform our dialogue and lobbying with the club and where necessary the Premier League and the FA, and will feedback to you regularly.

We will provide helpful information on home and away matches including ballots, travel and anything else related to attending matches.

We will provide personal support and advice including a specific support for those in trouble with access to legal advice if required.

We also want to build a match-going fans community including match screenings and local events. We are exploring a number of new communication and engagement channels to connect our match going fans.
 
Our own MUST Independent Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO)
We are committed to provide the best and broadest possible service for our match going fans so we have created a dedicated MUST Supporter Liaison Officer role to lead it. Our Vice Chair, Ian Stirling, who has years of experience with MUST and previously with the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA), has taken on this new and highly demanding role.
 
What does it cost and how do I join?
The new ISLO service is a major commitment and we have also invested in new systems to support communication and engagement with our members. In order to remove any financial barrier to entry we have set the Match Going Membership Fee at just £5 per year as a contribution to our running costs.

Of course, we hope most supporters also embrace our longer term vision and choose to support us further by joining as a Full Member which costs £15 per year. Full members can, of course, also benefit from our new MGM services in addition to rights and benefits reserved for Full members only.

You can Sign Up or read more about both MGM and Full Membership here

 
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2. Stadium Development Announcements
 
Old Trafford Stadium Development
 
In February this year MUST wrote to the club setting out a number of ideas for improving match atmosphere and developing the stadium. You can read what we said here

We made some radical proposals to Reclaim the Stretford End primarily by relocating part of the Family Stand and the Executive (International) Suite, and using the freed space to accommodate vocal, more youthful supporters with lower ticket prices and the opportunity for friends to be grouped together.

The club’s announcement this week of New Plans to Enhance Stadium Atmosphere, providing a new vocal section initially comprising 1200 seats is a significant step towards that vision and we welcome it warmly, as we did the earlier announcement of the introduction of cheaper young adult seats in West Lower as seats become available.

Dedicated family areas are key to building the next generation of our support, although the current facility is outdated. Creating improved relocated facilities for families, while releasing current capacity in the Stretford End through age related churn and limited seat moves within the section is a real win-win. The extension of youth season ticket prices to areas outside of the family stand that MUST previously lobbied successfully for will also help.

We also acknowledge the great work of MUFC Red Army in rejuvenating J Stand/United Road and will continue to work with them, and any other groups, in partnership with the club to finalise plans for delivering this further step change and its subsequent expansion in the best and fairest way.

We also proposed Reclaiming the Scoreboard (East Lower), in part facilitated by the relocation of disabled seating to better locations in the stadium, recognising that this may need to be a longer term design solution. So we also welcome this week’s separate announcement on Revised Accessibility Plans. It is regrettable that a number of supporters have already been moved from their lowest price East Lower seats, and we call for the Club to consult affected fans and for those who may now want to return to be given the opportunity where/when possible. Prior to that their price subsidy should be retained.

These extensive changes to stadium configuration will benefit supporters as a whole as well as the team, but they do have an impact on individual supporters whose current seats are affected. Mandatory moves to different areas of the stadium should be avoided, although the aims could be met by an incentivised voluntary approach. However, we do urge supporters to acknowledge the need for seat specific moves within a section so that groups of friends and like minded supporters can be accommodated to maximise stadium atmosphere and 75,000 supporters can watch and support the team in line with their different needs and preferences.

Stadium development is an ongoing project and MUST will continue to lobby and engage for further changes as opportunities arise, but this week’s announcements are a huge step forward, and are testament to the benefits of dialogue and engagement with supporters for which the club should be complemented.

 
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3. UEFA To Consider Price Cap for Away Supporter Tickets
 
European Away ticket prices
 
The issue of excessive and discriminatory pricing of away tickets for Champions League and Europa League matches finally took a huge step forward earlier this month when UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin publicly acknowledged that:
“We know about the problem. It would be good to do something to cap prices. It’s absolutely not correct that away fans are being charged five times more than the local ones. The clubs are using tricks to go around the regulations. So maybe the solution is to say what is the highest prices that can be charged to away fans. Football is played for the fans if the fans are treated improperly or not the same as the home fans, that’s simply wrong.”

Our supporters have been subjected to excessive pricing more than any other club and MUST has been at the forefront of supporter campaigning on this issue. We have engaged with the club (who took robust reciprocal action with both Sevilla and Valencia, and lobbied UEFA). We have worked with Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and other Supporter Trusts in England and Europe who have also been targeted with excessive prices to issue a public challenge to UEFA in September. We have also encouraged high profile media coverage. This long overdue progress is the result of these collective concerted actions.
 
UEFA’s long awaited acknowledgement now needs to be turned into new rules that deliver unequivocally. MUST will continue to work with FSE, our club and others to ensure that President Ceferin’s commitment now happens.

 
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4. MUST Challenges Supporters Impact of 2nd Everton Fixture Change
 
Fixture reschedules
 
On 3rd September, four weeks after confirming their October televised fixtures that included United v Everton on Saturday 26th at 12:30pm, Sky announced an unprecedented further change to Sunday 28th October at 4pm to protect their Super Sunday programme that had been compromised by their rescheduling of Spurs v City to the Monday night. That commercial decision failed to acknowledge, let alone take account of, the implication for United (and some Everton) fans who had booked travel based on the originally confirmed date and time.

We immediately issued a strong statement through the media condemning this action and asking for compensation. You can read that statement, which was widely covered, here.

We then conducted a survey of affected supporters and this confirmed the significant scale of both individual and aggregate impacts. We opened discussions with Sky following which we wrote formally making a strong case for financial compensation for those who had incurred unrecoverable losses or extra costs. Sky took some time to respond but finally did so earlier last week. Regrettably, while being ‘sympathetic’ to the supporter issues, despite acknowledging that the change to our match was for their own commercial reasons, they have concluded that this should be a matter for the Premier League and the clubs.

We rejected this response and wrote back to Sky, The Premier League, Manchester United and The Football Supporters Federation asking for a further joint discussion with all parties to reach an equitable solution. In the meantime, to coincide with the fixture itself, we issued a further statement that you can read here.

We will continue to pursue this, both as an exceptional case that needs to be resolved now, and as part of the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) campaign to provide a longer term solution to support fans who are most impacted by TV fixture changes, particularly for long distance away matches

 
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5. Community & Charity
 
MUST in the Community
 
We have been stepping up our community and charitable work - something that forms part of our constitution which was a little neglected in previous years. In April we launched the MUST matchday foodbank and this is now open for donations every home game via the match day stall at 18 Sir Matt Busby Way.

We have also carried out numerous charity fundraisers with the most recent example being with David de Gea for personalised signed shirts. This has now been extended into the New Year as David is unable to do this before early January. You can order one here but there are only a small number remaining.

The signing with David is perhaps the most high profile, as a current player and perhaps the most popular in the squad, but we’ve previously done similar charity shirt signings in conjunction with their respective charities with Juan Mata, Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg and you can still purchase the remaining shirts from our online shop. Funds raised are split between charity and MUST.

 
David-De-Gea-Name-Personalised-Hand-Signed-ShirtJuan Mata Hand Signed ShirtSir Bobby Charlton Hand Signed 1968 European Cup Final ShirtHarry Gregg Signed Shirt
 David de GeaJuan Mata Sir Bobby
Charlton
 Harry Gregg


In the New Year we will be making a very special announcement relating to Common Goal, the social football movement co-founded by our very own Juan Mata and we hope it will be a very proud moment for our members to become part of this global movement through MUST.

 
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6. New National Football Supporters Organisation
 
New National Football Supporters Organisation
 
For many years MUST has affiliated to, and taken an active role in, two separate organisations that represent football supporters in England & Wales. The Football Supporters Federation (FSF) led mainly on match going issues and Supporters Direct (SD) led on ownership issues including supporter owned clubs. Both have been valuable to us in the past. SD helped MUST to set up as a Trust in 2005. National campaigns coordinated by FSF have led to the £30 Away Price Cap and slow but significant progress on Safe Standing.

However, the two organisations overlapped on key issues and have been much less effective on them. MUST and other Trusts lobbied hard for their merger and over the last year this was brokered and voted through, creating a new single body - the Unified Football Supporters Organisation - that will operate formally from 1st January. The new body will campaign on match-going fan issues and on underlying legislation, regulation and governance of football including ownership of clubs, supporter stakes in clubs, and the responsibilities of owners and club boards.

Through our long term involvement, MUST is well regarded by other Trusts and the national bodies, and we will continue to input into all key national campaigns. MUST Vice-Chair, Dave Pennington, has already been elected both to new body’s National Council (as one of three representatives for Premier League clubs) and to its overall Board. In his PL role Dave will have a key role in dialogue with the Premier League and the FA, and, through our links with Football Supporters Europe (FSE), with UEFA. Of course, none of those will be easy or quick wins, but new opportunities are there with each of them as their own respective leadership regimes change.

 
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7. Ole & Jose
 
Ole and Jose
 
A momentous few days for United with the departure of Jose and the arrival of Ole. We were inundated with requests from media and issued brief statements linked below

MUST comment on Jose Mourinho sacking

MUST response to appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
 
Solskjaer Keyring1999 Champions League Final shirt signed by the goalscorers Sheringham & Solskjaer - MUSTLIMITED EDITION SIGNED OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER PRINT - MUSTBarcelona 1999 Programme fridge Magnet - MUST
 Solskjaer
Keyring
 £3
1999 UCL Final 
£295.00 - £585.00
 Solskjaer
Signed print
 £40 - £110
 Fridge Magnet £3
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