Thursday, July 26, 2007

Patrice Evra (for Manchester United) v FC Seoul, 20 July 2007

Taking up the excellent point made by United 113 in the last comments, I have today received an update from the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) about the ongoing fight with the club over their controversial "Automatic Cup Ticket Scheme" (ACS).

United are clearly having difficulties because of the number of Season Ticket (ST) holders who have not renewed or who refuse to join the ACS. Numbers are hard to confirm, but we have it on good authority that over 6,000 ST holders have not renewed (and that more will give up their ST by refusing to join the ACS before the deadline imposed by the club). We don't doubt that there will shortly be an announcement of record sales and that all STs have sold out but the fact is that anyone can ring up the ticket office today (we've checked) and buy a Season Ticket while United have been claiming they have a huge waiting list.

Having claimed to have a waiting list of around 13-14,000 - in itself a 'stick' with which to threaten ST holders that if they didn't renew, others would be clambering over them to take up their ticket – we are now seeing the reality. The fabled waiting list a phantom one. United has already resorted to offering ST to all-comers on its website and even giving away free tickets in draws. As soon as supporters realise that there is not a huge excess demand for STs, and that it becomes easier to obtain matchday tickets, the whole carefully-nurtured edifice of exclusivity and unattainability comes crashing down. If that happens it should be welcomed by all supporters as it will bring some balance back to the currently exploitative power relationship between the owners of the club and its supporters."

United have now set a deadline of 27th July for ST holders to join the scheme otherwise their ST will be invalidated/cancelled. Interestingly, this is before the date of 2nd August when the club have to respond to the court claim made against them by disillusioned ST holder John Mayall.

What to do? Under the terms and conditions, the club reserve the right to charge for my season ticket, cancel it and refuse to refund me my £722 if I fail to join the ACS before the deadline. The more likely route is for them to cancel it on 28th July and refund me my money. Clearly I'd rather not do that, and so my remaining option is to sign up for this ridiculous scheme and continue to lobby with the thousands of other fans to get this decision overturned.

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