Welcome to November’s MUST newsletter which comes at a pretty low ebb for the Club. The start to the season has been little more than dismal, encapsulated by last Sunday’s depressing affair at Old Trafford and then a repeat on Wednesday. At the same time, the Glazer’s so-called ‘Strategic Review’ inches forward at a glacial pace - covered in more detail below.
How not to sell a football club
Many of you will have heard the BBC podcast about the sale of United, “How to Buy a Football Club”. Well recently we’ve had conclusive proof that it really ought to be retitled as “How not to sell a football club”.
Nearly a year into the Strategic Review (as the Club call it) we appear to be down to a single bidder, with Sheikh Jassim having withdrawn after the Cub concluded that £5bn (which would have been the most expensive sale of a sports club ever) was not enough for them.
As far as we understand, the Club is now in negotiations with Sir Jim Ratcliffe taking a 25% ownership stake, and potentially some form of control over footballing matters. Is this good news? Well, in some sense any change could be positive. But in reality, it really is impossible to know without a lot more information. Is the 25% part of a path to 51%? Does the new money go to the Club or to the Glazers? Do the Glazers maintain their special voting rights? Without knowing all that, it's impossible to take a view. All we can do is continue to express to the Club our enormous frustration at the pace of this process. The Club needs change and it needs investment. It is impossible to be optimistic we will get either with the Glazers in majority control.
Ticketing Q&A video with Sam Kelleher & fan panel
MUST organised a Q&A meeting with Sam Kelleher, Director of Supporter Services & a panel of supporters.
Members were invited to submit questions and we asked a panel of independent supporters, largely not MUST Members, but mostly well known in our fanbase, to participate and bring their own questions.
We had 188 questions submitted so clearly could only cover a fraction in this meeting.
This is the link to the video:
We’ve added the following timestamps which you can find as links in the youtube video description.
00:00 Opening introduction of panel members
05:45 MUSC Branch questions on allocation size, location of seats
09:55 Cup ticket payments - why so early charges, failed payment notification, dates and amounts of card charges
14:25 Galatasaray - away fans in home sections
21:45 ID clamping down on ST holders vs touting
22:44 Passing on a Season Ticket to Friends & Family (non-members); Numbers of tickets and how they are allocated - ST, Members, Exec, Hospitality; Premium priced seats
28:46 Premium priced seats dotted around ground; Numbers will be published after each game
38:40 Can returned or donated tickets be resold as Premium/Hospitality seats
39:55 Member tickets now average 19k per game - where they come from
44:55 Domestic away tickets - more transparency on ballot, rolling credit system or additional loyalty rewards, increased chances for unsuccessful applicants - info here
47:00 Ticketing website issues - timing of ticket release clashes -
48:20 Away ticket returns - how does it work - more transparency - call backs/texts
50:45 ST suspension/appeals - are tickets resold as premium/corporate - appeals
54:25 Euro Aways - ticket distribution process, members tickets for euro aways and for euro finals,
58:12 Returning tickets - possible impact on domestic away application rights - PL game = no impact, for Cup games you lose rights to apply for domestic aways if you resell through the club
01:00:39 ST Cup game ticket transfer to Member - why is there a charge added?
01:01:45 Member ticket availability - ballots, later release of tickets through season
01:03:22 Senior tickets - minimum attendance requirement; change in discount from 50% to 25%
01:09:19 Loss of trust in ticket office; Long standing STs feeling victimised
01:12:30 Concerns over gentrification of fanbase - revenue vs loyalty of ordinary ST holders/members - loyalty and fairness
Manchester United financial results 2022/23
Revenues may have been up, but the main takeaway from United’s 2022/23 results was that debt continues to rise. The club has made extensive use of its “Revolving Credit Facility” (equivalent to an overdraft) which is now £260m drawn, as well as increasing its transfer debt owed to other clubs (£277m). Chuck in the “normal” debt used to buy the club in 2005 and never significantly reduced and the current total has breached the £1bn mark for the first time since the Glazers took over.
The overdraft can’t be drawn again until it's repaid and cash for that transfer debt needs to be found (£116m is due within the next 12 months). All that points to slim budgets for future transfers. United have one of the most expensively assembled squads in the history of world football and little or no cash to improve it. All in all our financial accounts are as depressing as our performances on the pitch.
MUST AGM and new Board & Committee - Chair leads clarion call to invoke the spirit of 1958
Board members and term expiry:
JD Deitch 2024, Andy Green 2024, Phil Barton 2026, David Pennington 2025, David Kidman 2024, Gerald Shamash 2024, Chris Baker 2024, Chris Rumfitt 2024, Mark Southee 2024
Committee members and term expiry:
Tracy Clee 2024, Pete Killeen 2024, James Booth 2024, Amit Basu 2024, Tamas Simon 2024, Philip Brooks 2025, Steve Baxter 2025, Marc Henry 2025, Aidan O'Sullivan 2025, Bernt Hjørnevik 2025, Oli Winton 2026, Jason McGilloway 2026, Adam Mills 2026, Rachel Dalton-Woods 2026, Paul Marshall 2026
WMUFC: Deb Henry
MUDSA: Rick Clement
Rainbow Devils: Najib Armanazi
MUSC Branch: Madelene Stolpe
Local resident rep: Carly Lyes
Statement from the Chair:
Chair's Report - MUST Annual General Meeting - October 29, 2023
Fulham Away - Fulham Fans Protest - United fans invited to show support
Tomorrow at Fulham their fans are protesting against some astonishing ticket price rises they’ve experienced - a feeling we can all relate to in the early years after the takeover.
In the past, Fulham fans have also backed us and some of you might remember them displaying Green & Gold scarves in the away section at Old Trafford back in 2012. It would be great to reciprocate their show of solidarity and so important for rival fans to work together.
We’ve been asked by Fulham Supporters Trust (FST) to publicise this to our supporters who may be attending the match. Outside the ground, they’ll be handing out yellow cards to be held up on the 18th minute of the game. If you want to show your solidarity, please take one and raise it on 18 mins. With us having laboured under the Glazers for 18 years, it feels like an appropriate minute for us too, although our supporters would advocate a straight red.
Those of us lucky (or is that unlucky!) enough to be attending can pick up yellow cards from outside the Putney End away turnstiles entrance on Stevenage Road from Fulham Supporters’ Trust volunteers.
A little more information on the protest below from FST:
The Fulham Supporters’ Trust are organising a protest against Fulham Football Club’s ticket pricing policy before and during tomorrow’s fixture against Manchester United. The Trust, together with our female fans’ group the Fulham Lillies and a coalition of fans’ websites and podcasts, will be walking from the Bishop’s Park Tea House to Stevenage Road at 11.30am over their fears that the club’s ‘completely misguided’ policy will price loyal supporters out of attending matches at Craven Cottage.
The Trust are encouraging Fulham fans to display yellow cards after eighteen minutes of the match as typical general admission season ticket prices increased 18% over the summer – and Fulham now have the most expensive season ticket in the Premier League, priced at £3,000. The yellow cards are a reminder of previously successful supporter-led protests in the past that took Fulham ‘Back to the Cottage’ in 2004.
New book exposes the Glazers - discount offer for MUST members below
Last week a new book was published which tells the story of the Glazers' ownership of the Club, and the 18 years of debt, decay and mismanagement we have suffered. The author, Chris Blackhurst, is a very well respected journalist having edited the Independent and had senior roles at places like the Evening Standard and Sunday Times.
You can read the first 30 pages to get a taster here.
In writing “The World’s Biggest Cash Machine” he spoke to large numbers of Reds as well as City figures and others who understand how Glazernomics really works.
We’ve secured a discount code for MUST members, reducing the cost from £22 to just £16.99, and it's really worth a read to fully understand the story of the last 18 years.
This link currently offers a discount which we understand will remain valid for 7 days:
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