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27/11/2016

Some recent activity by M.U.S.T on behalf of match going fans

We know we've often not communicated very effectively what we've been working on for match going fans in the past but we intend to improve in this area as well as better consultation with supporters, official branches and other groups. This is a brief, but by no means comprehensive, summary listing of some of the activities M.U.S.T has been involved in recently. 


Home ticketing: 

- While M.U.S.T has not succeeded in reducing home pricing overall we have lobbied hard for, at minimum, ticket prices to be frozen and have successfully pushed for some tickets to be discounted (e.g. Europa League). We also persuaded the Club to allow more flexibility in lending Season Tickets to friends and family - a practice which used to be prohibited in the rules

- M.U.S.T intervened when fans contacted us about forced relocations (e.g. Singing Section and new TV cameras) and we ensured supporters had better outcomes wherever possible - e.g. those supporters who wished to, were able to remain elsewhere in the North East corner despite the singing section or else chose to accept compensation and move. It was a far from perfect outcome but a lot better than that offered prior to our intervention

- M.U.S.T continues to push hard for more discounted youth season tickets to be made available in other parts of the ground and we believe we have every chance of succeeding on this for next season. We are also lobbying to extend the youth ticket upper age range to above 16 years old


Personalised autographed shirt hand signed by Eric CantonaOrder here: http://bit.ly/Cantona2016-12

 

Domestic aways:

- M.U.S.T pushed the Club to remove away booking fees and to also discount tickets by £5 last season when many other clubs did not use the Premier League away fund to subsidise ticket prices. This discount has now been replaced by the current £30 cap which M.U.S.T played a crucial role in securing as a leading member of the Premier League Trusts group. 

- M.U.S.T has constantly warned the Club that season ticket holders should receive a fairer deal in ballots and this has helped lead to a situation where success rates for standard pot season ticket holders have increased significantly. We continue to monitor this

- M.U.S.T has pushed for increased transparency meaning the Club now publishes a full breakdown of each ballot, how tickets were allocated and success rates. We have also sought information on where returns/ cancelled tickets end up and have received feedback from supporters that random callbacks they receive have drastically increased

- M.U.S.T has reviewed the current collections system with the Club (note that this system was not approved by M.U.S.T - this has been misunderstood by some) and has submitted proposals for improvements while seeking further views from supporters. The Club has accepted in principle that an away ticket exchange (between qualifying ST holders) can be put in place from next season as a result. The Club has also listened to our feedback on bans from non-collections and has agreed that a supporter not collecting a ticket should not immediately receive a 12 month ban as has been the case to date this season

- M.U.S.T has listened to extremely mixed views on this season's away collections varying from those who want checks to end immediately to those who are seeing increased success rates and are happy to see large numbers of touts banned. Finding solutions which please everyone is extremely difficult but we will continue to listen and look to seek compromises which benefit genuine United fans and our much valued, and envied, away support culture

- The Club has committed to working with M.U.S.T to look at new away ticketing processes to ensure longer term loyalty is rewarded. The delay on this is because the Club maintain they need to know who is attending games first (rather than applying) to know who to reward. M.U.S.T will consult widely with fans.

- M.U.S.T intervened when almost 2000 supporters on maximum home credits did not receive FA Cup Final tickets last season. After a period of negotiation, with various solutions suggested by M.U.S.T, all these fans were offered tickets to the match

- M.U.S.T has successfully asked the Club to lay on free coaches to games such as the semi-final and final at Wembley last season.

MUST continues to have regular dialogue with officials at all Premier League opponent clubs before and after each away game to push for higher ticket allocations. This work has also led to United officials becoming much more proactively involved with some valuable allocation gains.


European aways:

- for the last year, for every game after Bruges away, questions and concerns about each fixture have been submitted to the Club by M.U.S.T in advance of their planning visits. A few examples of what this has led to:

  • buses and/or trains being laid on for virtually every fixture
  • a biometric visa machine being made available at Old Trafford ahead of the fixture in Moscow
  • more convenient collection points

- M.U.S.T lobbied the Club regarding the resentment caused by Thomas Cook Sports overriding the credits system for European aways and their ballots now follow the independent travel ballot/credit system.

- M.U.S.T has urged the Club not to impose collection systems where they may be too inconvenient or dangerous; including at Anfield and Moscow as examples.

- After speaking to many regular Euro away fans, M.U.S.T lobbied the Club to change the credit system so it now takes into account matches attended over a rolling last three seasons rather than just one.


Pre-season and friendlies

MUST made representations to the club after the game in China was canceled after fans had traveled. The club offered those fans signed shirts and tickets to a home game of their choice. A small gesture but a good one given it was outside MUFC control.

 

Case work:

- M.U.S.T receives a lot of communication about individual fan concerns which we seek to represent them on (a shame they don’t all choose to join as full members first as it is resource intensive work and membership fee funding helps) 

- last summer alone we spoke to the Club about more than 100 relocation requests for season ticket holders and and more than 90% were resolved successfully

- M.U.S.T (often with special expert help via the FSF) has helped many supporters with banning appeals and have managed to get a lot reversed where they were considered unduly harsh or outright mistakes. We remain committed to improving the official MUFC Ticketing & Membership Sanctions document which we know many fans have issues with and we are consulting supporters on this through surveys


Safe Standing (Rail Seats)

- M.U.S.T have worked on the Safe Standing campaign since it’s inception in the late 90s being members of the FSF team as well as campaigning independently at Club, local and national level with Government, safety groups, Premier League and media . It’s fair to say that no other club fan group has done more on this.

- We have engaged with the Club over the last two years on the case for safe standing. Our advice along with demonstrations we have facilitated for Board Members and senior Club officials at Old Trafford (with the Safe Standing Roadshow), Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Celtic has helped to position them as strong advocates for change as soon as is possible within the political climate.

- We have lobbied the Premier League on this issue at meetings with Richard Scudamore over several years and most recently got assurances, in direct response to our question, that they would consider approaching Government on Safe Standing if member clubs asked them to. That resulted in it appearing on the agenda of the PL AGM and is now being actively explored by the PL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twenty’s Plenty - but Thirty’s not bad 

M.U.S.T provide a strong presence and a leading role in both the FSF and Supporters Direct PL Trust networks that have collectively secured major gains for supporters in the last two years notably away tickets capped at £30. We now need to work to ensure allocations are not cut and indeed ideally we can secure larger away allocations in future.

 

Structured Dialogue between clubs and fan groups 

M.U.S.T has also taken a leading role in engaging with government to introduce mandatory structured dialogue between Club boards and supporter groups on key strategic and financial issues. We were twice invited to present evidence to the Government Expert Working Group on Supporter Ownership and Engagement and we continue to pursue this through the extensive network of supporters we've built up within Westminster - MPs, Lords, Civil Servants, media, lobbyists etc

We continue to advocate for reform of Football Club ownership and governance with specific proposals on independent directors on Football Club boards and all directors having a legal obligation to put the long term interests of the Football Club before that of the shareholders in the event of a conflcit of interests. We are also continuing to argue for protection of minority (fan/trust) shareholders as well as other mechanisms which will encourage supporter participation in owenership and reduce the chance of majority owners exploiting football clubs for their own benefit.

 

Other national campaigns

Other national campaigns include lower tier away sections at all grounds from next season, improved youth ticket pricing for away fans as well as home,  engaging train companies on services for supporters and a new dialogue established with Sky on kick off times


JOIN US, SUPPORT US

So we have lots to do and only limited resources. However we can be far more effective with the backing of supporters. If you want to help firstly please join as a full member and then, if you are able to, please consider donating your time, expertise or financial support to help power your supporters' Trust


 

 
 
 
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