United fans demand cut in ticket prices

Old Trafford
Old Trafford Photo: ITV Granada

A Manchester United fans' group has demanded a reduction in season ticket prices next term.

Two years ago, United pegged prices and only raised them this year due to an increase in VAT.

It is anticipated the club will announce next season's prices later this month.

However, it seems unlikely the Manchester United Supporters' Trust will get their wish for a cut.

With the Red Devils steamrollering their way towards a 20th league title - and a fifth in six seasons - demand at Old Trafford remains high, with 52,000 season ticket holders.

In addition, while the commercial department are having to work hard to sell their executive seats, the club have managed to reach 8,000 capacity for the first time.

Under such circumstances, and with revenue falling in the second half of this season due to an early exit from Europe, it is hard to see why the Glazer family would feel it necessary to cut prices, even if MUST chief executive Duncan Drasdo believes that is what should happen.

"We are throwing down a challenge to (joint-chairman) Joel Glazer to cut United fans` season ticket prices next season," said Drasdo.

"Given the lack of squad investment while huge revenues are coming in and the Glazers' constantly dipping into the club's bank account, it is long overdue that the loyal supporters received a cut in their ticket prices."

The amount of money spent on players in recent seasons has been the subject of intense scrutiny by some sections of the United support.

It is undeniable rivals clubs have spent more, but the Red Devils hierarchy counter this claim by pointing to Chelsea's purchase of Fernando Torres for a British record £50million and Andy Carroll's arrival at Liverpool for £35million as proof money does not necessarily buy success.

Indeed, two of the more notable purchases of Sir Alex Ferguson's time in charge, £28million for Juan Sebastian Veron and a club record £30.75million on Dimitar Berbatov, have been qualified successes at best and, to some, a complete waste of money.

In addition, United's stunning recent successes - a direct response to Jose Mourinho "raising the bar" at Chelsea and the massive influx of Abu Dhabi-backed cash at Manchester City - suggest Ferguson's preference to invest in youth is working, even if this season's group stage exit from the Champions League was a significant setback.

"The Glazers have been responsible for more than £500million flowing out of Manchester United in fees, charges and other payments relating to their hostile takeover of our club," claimed Drasdo.

"Meanwhile the club has actually spent less in net transfer fees than not only our main rivals in Europe and the Premier League (City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs) but also had a lower net spend since 2006 than Villa, Sunderland and Stoke.

"It's worse than that though, in the last three years United's net transfer spend has been less than Hull, Blackpool and Burnley.

"Only the incredible efforts of Sir Alex Ferguson have allowed us to remain competitive in the Premier League - at times it feels like he is dragging the team towards a 20th League title by sheer willpower alone.

"However even Sir Alex's magical touch couldn't bridge that gap in Europe and despite his incredible feats it comes as a huge slap in the face for fans that for all the immense revenues flowing into the club there have been huge ticket price hikes for loyal fans since the Glazers' 2005 takeover."