"Gone are the days, at Old Trafford in any case, when supporters could regard cup games as optional extras. Now you either undertake to pay for every game of the season, at considerable extra cost when United can play half a dozen Champions League ties as well as whatever comes along in the domestic knockouts, or risk losing your season-ticket entitlement to someone with deeper pockets."
I also today note this piece, written by opinionated Five Live eejit Alan Green. Pillock he may be, but his point is (I believe) a good one.
"You see, a new scheme is in operation that suggests the Glazers could hardly care less about United supporters. If you're fortunate enough to have a season ticket, you are now FORCED to buy a seat at all home cup ties. It doesn't matter if you don't want to or if you're on holiday or if you're in prison, you MUST buy a ticket or your season ticket will be revoked.
This is some distance from the situation that pertains at some other clubs where a season ticket 'entitles' you to buy a cup ticket for your regular seat. There is no compulsion.
And, not unreasonably, many United fans are absolutely livid. The principle itself stinks. And what of those people - many of the club's supporters are unfairly castigated because they happen to live a long distance away from Old Trafford - who chose to put up with the 'forced sale' but refused to pay the additional, sometimes considerable, expense of actually attending? Hence, the empty seats.
It gets worse. I chuckled last year hearing Sir Alex Ferguson say, after United won the Carling Cup, how he'd always respected the competition. No, Alex, that 'respect' isn't always reflected in your team selections.
The competition clearly ranks fourth in your priorities, as it should. But how does making 11 changes from the Chelsea game and putting in an awful performance, losing at home to a team from the Championship, square with doing your duty to fans that have had little option but to pay for a ticket to a game many didn't want to see?Fergie was "flabbergasted". I doubt that was the first word on the lips of disgusted United supporters."
I am glad this is now getting the press it deserves. And not because I am a whining United fan that probably should have seen it coming, but because of the resigned inevitability shown by fans of many many other clubs who can see their own owners moving inextricably towards the same sort of money-making scheme.