Manchester United fans have been left outraged after the club launched their new ‘forwarding membership’: a tier that basically charges you for the sole privilege of receiving tickets from others.
As confirmed via email on Saturday, United announced that they have now ‘sold out’ of official memberships for the first time in their history which, according to their own estimates, makes them the most subscribed team in world sport.
With over 350,000 official members now on board, the club have taken the decision to close the scheme for both Lite and Full Memberships in order “to protect ticket availability at future games” for existing members, but which will fundamentally prevent others from joining the queue to buy their own ticket.
Notably, however, the club waited to stop the sale of new memberships until after they broke the world record and now, to add insult to injury, the club intend to charge fans who simply want to be able to receive a spare ticket from family or friends through this new United membership tier.
The news has gone down exactly as you’d expect, with fans rightly pointing out that should you be fortunate enough to receive a ticket from someone who cannot attend the game for whatever reason, that should be down to them as the ticket has already been paid for. No skin off United’s nose.
Given the busy season, with the club regularly competing in four competitions a year, it can sometimes be hard for fans to make every single match, so many regulars have to pass on their tickets from time to time. Sadly, it seems United are now trying to spin an extra bit of profit from that transaction as well.
Season tickets already set fans back anywhere between £532 and £950 a year (excluding the additional cost of cup games), but whether or not supporters charge mates rates for their spare ticket — again, their discretion — or kindly pass it on for free, the outcome is the same: the seat is filled.
However, the forwarding membership scheme is the club, essentially, trying to re-insert itself as the middleman after having already charged for the ticket once, hoping to squeeze out even more money from an already angry fan base who believes the owners are only driven by money. Wonder why?
Moreover, as explained in @Daytrippingred‘s lengthy thread, despite fans already having to pay a £100 deposit to get ‘priority’ in the extremely long waiting list for a season ticket, they will now have to acquire an even more expensive Premium Membership to stand a chance, with no guarantee you’ll ever get one.
As for those who could never feasibly afford a full season ticket or even regularly throw in for the odd game on top of their Lite membership (£20 just be entered into the ballot to try and secure a ticket), they will now have to pay a 75% of that price just in the hope that a spare ticket comes their way.
Not to ram the point home too hard, but this means if your Dad wants to give you his already paid-for ticket that he’s owned since before you were born — something that you have always been able to do and cost absolutely nothing as recently as last week — you will now have to pay at least £15 a year.
It seemed as though the administration made at least some small but positive steps following the recent fan consultation, encouraging more communication with supporters’ groups, greenlighting the Fan Advisory Board (FAB), as well as allowing both opt-out and ticket buy-back schemes.
However, it now looks as though it’s one step forward and two steps back, with the new forwarding membership outrage just the latest in a long line of controversies under the Glazer family ownership.
With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that fans are once again staging not one but two coordinated protests ahead of the Manchester derby on Saturday, 14 January.
With the Glazers having now hinted at being ‘open’ to the prospect of selling the club, it’s possible that this forwarding membership stunt could be one last attempt at eking out every last penny before they finally call it quits. Reds can only hope.
The five-a-side app that’s helping people find pick-up football games in Manchester and all over the UK
Having a kick about is one of life’s simple pleasures. Just grab a ball, your boots, some mates and you’re good to go, right? That is until the inevitable excuses pop up on WhatsApp with an hour to go and suddenly you’re scrambling for a ringer to keep your so-called ‘weekly’ five-a-side match alive.
Another night is followed by the usual “Sorry, maybe next week” message and you’re left wondering why getting a footy game going with few friends isn’t as easy as it was when you were younger. If only there was an app for that…
For those in the know, there is one name that’s actually helping make sorting a regular five-a-side night or even a quick pick-up game in and around Greater Manchester that little bit easier and more social than ever.
Footy Addicts, the football-based social networking platform, are on a mission to make the beautiful game easier and more inclusive across the region and the UK at large.
The app, founded by self-proclaimed footy addicts Konstantinos Gkortsilas, Danny Taeidy and Jonathan Suarez, aims to make quality football matches — be it a straight-forward five/seven-a-side game or a bigger affair — happen across Great Britain and, if they carry on how they’re going, the world.
When you sit and think about it, it’s one of these ideas where you wonder, ‘How hasn’t this been thought of before?’ From the first unofficial pick-up game back in 2010 to what has now grown to a community of over 210,000 users across 140 active locations, the proof is in the pudding.
Not only is the demand obviously there but it just goes to show how important opportunity and accessibility are when it comes to playing the game so many of us love.
Footy Addicts’ biggest goal is ensuring that wherever you are, you’ll only be a button away from a game — and the stats don’t lie. Now growing by a rate of more than 5,000 new users each month with players from over 200 different countries, it just goes to show how a simple kickabout can help enrich diverse communities a game at a time.
Whether you are a first-timer, Sunday league Messi or ‘could’ve gone pro if it wasn’t for my knee’, there’s a spot on the team sheet for all abilities.
Just to highlight some of the regulars in the Manchester scene, this could be your squad lining up alongside you next time you stick a bib on under the lights: lifelong Burnley supporter James is still going strong at 70 and nutmegging students. You can’t drag him away from the pitch.
Marc used to ply his trade in the Premier League but now gets his football fix in a more casual setting and Nadia is a semi-pro female footballer who’ll happily show up the best of them.
The importance of running around after a ball for an hour or so is far more than the scoreline; it’s like therapy for the mind and body. The escapism, confidence and community that blossoms when you step on a pitch is what keeps the world hooked on the beautiful game. And, that’s not to mention the obvious physical benefits.
Available to download from the Google Play and Apple App Store, or by simply using their website, it’s not quite as easy as clicking your fingers but it’s close enough.
It goes without saying that Footy Addicts organise games all over Manchester. Just whack in your postcode and see if there is a place and time that suits you. It’s also pay-as-you-play, with no monthly subscriptions or signing-on fees, just dust off your boots and head down.
Prices start at only £3.50 a game with the average price of around a fiver, which in this day and age is great value for footy.
See you on a pitch in Greater Manchester sometime soon.
André Onana’s emotional reaction at full-time turns fan frustration into sympathy after another Man United UCL collapse
André Onana has had a rocky start to life at Manchester United and while supporters have been left swearing from the stands and at their TV screens several times already this season, his reaction at full-time following his latest howler has seen much of that frustration turn to sympathy.
The Cameroonian goalkeeper made yet another costly error on Wednesday night when his lack of concentration saw Man United’s 2-0 lead, thanks to two very fine finishes from Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes, somehow turn to 3-1 and eventually 3-3 — two of which were very preventable.
Onana was left unsighted by the wall and wrong-footed for the first goal which was whipped in from a Hakim Ziyech free-kick, but was left blushing even more when an almost identical delivery was fired at him in the second half, only to effectively push it into his own net and reduce the Red Devil’s two-goal cushion to one.
As commentator Darren Fletcher and pretty much everyone watching said at the time, “What on Earth is the Manchester United keeper doing there?!”. It really doesn’t make for great viewing…
Although mistakes like these could be forgiven in isolation, as one-offs or more widely spread out over a longer period of — many Reds had grown accustomed to watching their previous number one, David de Gea, making a gaffe or two in his time — for all of them to happen in the space of just a few months doesn’t help.
In the Champions League alone, Onana has seven individual unforced errors leading to goals (four more than any other player) and in a knockout competition against the best teams in Europe, you simply don’t have enough games to make up for mistakes like that.
That being said, as opposed to the usual reaction from supporters on social media that we have seen so far this season, a large proportion of fans and neutrals alike weren’t berating him but were instead expressing their sympathy — especially after seeing Onana‘s visibly upset reaction after full-time:
On the other hand, not everyone was so forgiving and to further sum up how things are going for the United keeper, both in terms of his bad luck and the pity plenty are now starting to feel for him, there were countless posts online dubbing him “the new [Harry] Maguire”, who had previously been a scapegoat and a target of abuse at both club and international level.
In contrast, while the England centre-backs’s performances have started to improve, a goalkeeper’s mistakes are always going to be even more highlighted as although defenders usually have the man between the sticks as a last stand, when it goes wrong it usually results in conceding a goal.