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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April, 2005, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Man Utd fans angry at ticket rise
Old Trafford
Manchester United have suffered heavy media losses
A prominent Manchester United supporter group has criticised the club's decision to raise season-ticket prices.

The increases average out at 10% across Old Trafford's 67,500-capacity stadium.

And the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association believes the next generation of fans will now be prevented from going to United games.

"Future generations of fans are finding it more and more difficult to attend matches on a regular basis," IMUSA chairman Jules Spencer told BBC GMR.

"When I was a teenager in the 1980s I could afford to attend every week. I'm pretty sure that is not the case for teenagers these days.

These price rises are announced at a time when the club's media revenues are under a pressure that is unlikely to ease in the next couple of years
Manchester United statement

"It's not only kids. It's becoming harder for me and my peers to find five or six hundred quid for a season ticket.

"We'll be asked to stump up for our new season ticket as soon as this season is over and it's becoming harder and harder to do."

The rise is a bid to claw back a 14m loss in media revenues and stave off a takeover bid by United States billionaire Malcolm Glazer's.

"The club realises that no price rise will ever be welcomed and that many fans would like to see ticket prices cut," said a United statement.

"These price rises are announced at a time when the club's media revenues are under a pressure that is unlikely to ease in the next couple of years."

The statement added that this leaves the club "facing a significant challenge in increasing its income to make up for that loss".

And it went on: "The impact of these proposals will increase the Premier League match-day gate receipts by around 4m next season but the amount raised is still significantly below the loss of over 14m of media revenues this season."

The club estimate that the increases will net them an extra 4million per season and insist that their prices remain among the lowest in the Barclays Premiership.

The shadow of a takeover from Glazer still hangs over Old Trafford, although the business tycoon has still to make his move, despite completing the due diligence process.

Malcolm Glazer
Glazer is still being linked with Old Trafford takeover

No formal offer is anticipated for several more days at least, so United chief executive David Gill and finance director Nick Humby will hope the move, confirmed to a scheduled Fans Forum meeting on Friday evening, finds favour in financial circles.

Fans currently occupying seats in the North and South Stands, which run down the touchline, will bear the brunt of the rises after United introduced a wider "stretch" of prices.

From next season, a seat in the first tier of the North Stand and those occupying central positions in the higher section of the South Stand will cost 684.

It is also estimated that 5% of supporters face a 17% increase, again those who sit in the north and south sides of England's biggest club ground, which will hold 76,000 at the start of the 2006-07 campaign once the north-east and north-west quadrants have been filled in.

United have limited rises in certain sections of the Stretford End and East Stand to just 19, with Family Stand tickets going up by the same amount, but prices for other parts of those areas have gone up by 66.50.

They have also scrapped the 3% levy for credit and debit card payments.

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