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Friday, September 11, 1998 Published at 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK

Sport: Football

Manchester United TV goes on air

MUTV: No Premiership games

BBC Correspondent Torin Douglas: "Football and television increasingly closely entwined"
Manchester United is launching its own TV channel on Thursday amid rising opposition to BSkyB's acquisition of the club.

MUTV is the world's first TV channel dedicated to a single football club, broadcasting all things Manchester United for six hours a day - from 1800 until midnight.

Chief Executive of MUTV, Paul Ridley, said: "The concept of MUTV is something that every United fan has dreamed of.

"Now it is a reality and will give fans the most amazing access to Manchester United Football Club."

The service, which is intially only available on Sky's new digital service, is a joint venture between the club, Sky and Granada Television.

Aerobics and cookery

MUTV will not, however, be showing any Premiership matches

A monthly subscription of £4.99 gives fans access to live coverage of Manchester United's reserve and youth games, regular news broadcasts about the club and live coverage of manager Alex Ferguson's pre-match press conferences.

The Old Trafford-based studios will also broadcast Manchester United cookery programmes, aerobics classes, football tips for children and classic matches.

[ image: Anti-takeover protests have been low-key]
Anti-takeover protests have been low-key
The launch of the new TV channel has been almost completely overshadowed by BSkyB's controversial £623.4m takeover bid for the club.

The expected demonstrations by fans opposing the deal were quiet and largely limited to outside the Old Trafford stadium as United thrashed Premiership newcomers Charlton Athletic 4-1 in the club's first game since the takeover was agreed on Wednesday.

On two occasions, sections of the crowd hurled abuse and accusations of greed at Manchester United's chief executive Martin Edwards, who stands to net £88m from the deal.

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