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Why the Automatic Cup Ticket Scheme Stinks

The Glazers’ controversial Automatic Cup Ticket scheme has apparently reached a tipping point for some as a supporter has decided to sue the club over the unfairness of the scheme.

Over 100 more have joined in to support this disgruntled fan.

Before I get into it let me give a brief idea for those not aware of the scheme.

The Automatic cup ticket scheme is something offered to season ticket holders where fans are expected to buy tickets of cup games too, in addition to the Premiership ones, whether they want it or not.

Now here’s why the whole scheme stinks:

  1. The scheme expects fans to pay for cup games they wouldn’t be interested to attend
  2. While that may seem good for some, the point is, you have to pay even for games you don’t attend. Say, games like the ones in midweek where you might be busy with your regular lives or something like that.
  3. You could choose to sell those tickets, but you can do it only through Viagogo, which is a United approved dealer. And yes, they get a 25% cut.
  4. All this means an extra £500 that you could have otherwise saved.
  5. Even those who were on the waiting list and were approved to get the tickets were asked shell out those extra bucks to join the ACS or risk losing season tickets.
  6. Last but not the least, while the idea of the TV deal was meant to keep ticket prices to manageable levels, the Glazers have gone ahead and jacked up the prices by a staggering 14%!

The deal is clearly unfair and blatantly toys with fan loyalty. All the owners need at the moment is money to service the debts, and it doesn’t really matter if it is some rich bloke who buys off the tickets out of a whim and attends the odd game in suits while celebrating goals with passive claps, occasionally standing up, or a really passionate fan who is willing to scream his lungs out from the Stretford End.

The insane part of the whole deal is forcing people into buying something they either don’t want to buy or have no idea how much it’s going to cost them. That kind of a purchase is completely unethical from a business point of view. While ethics may not be in the Glazers’ dictionary, this still is an act that is totally devoid of what one may call ‘reasonable business practice’, and borders on ransom. The Glazers have bought the club with the main idea that with such a vast fan base and loyalty, it doesn’t matter how much they charge, the fans will pay for it anyway. In the process, now, the Glazers are driving away even the middle class hard core support that spend some of their hard earned money on season tickets.

More saddening is the fact that – court case, or no court case – the Glazers might even get away by presenting facts that tickets have been sold out and people are in waiting. Yes, tickets will sell out to outside support and what-not. But things will become noticeable on the pitch sooner or later. Already, last year, Fergie had once remarked that the fans have been rather quiet in the Champions’ League. It will be a waste of 75000+ seats if we cannot make noise as loud as a 35000+ stadium. And it will be a shame, as at the end of the day, it’s the atmosphere that plays a big part in raising team spirit. In crunch games, that could be telling.

While the emotions that accompany things, like spending big in the transfer market and winning the league title, maybe temporary feelings that lift the general mood, the pinch would be felt most to the person who pays money for a games that he doesn’t go to.

Modern economics and free markets teach us that the consumer is king, and a highly priced product might lose out to a lower priced one, with not much difference in quality. Unfortunately as 200percent says in his piece, football and modern free markets don’t always agree. If that was the case then fans would stop supporting United and move over to clubs that have cheaper season tickets.

And that’s what really gets my goat. The Automatic cup ticket scheme seeks to punish those fans who own season tickets by forcing them to pay more. Their only crime is their loyalty. Something the Glazers know fully well. Now, what business would punish a loyal customer? I would think loyal customers to be prize assets of a flourishing business and their likes and dislikes would be taken very seriously. Bad reviews from loyal customers would hurt future prospective customers, meaning bad PR.

But this seems to be the exact opposite with our club. Ticket prices continue to rise, the hardcore fanatics keep getting alienated. We can never say if the blokes suing the club would win or not, but if they do lose, it might set a dangerous precedent to other clubs owners like those of Liverpool, who might be tempted to follow in the footsteps of the Glazers. This could set off a chain in other clubs too and hence render the new TV package ridiculous.

At the end of the day, it’s the sheer number of fans that make up United which might prove to be in the Glazers’ favour and this will see a further rise in prices. Surely, something has got to give, and it is the chilling silence, of the Glazer family on any matters concerning United, that seem to have a bigger voice than the angry fans from MUST.

And that, my friends, is the tragic story of the modern disenfranchised fan. Not just that of United. It is indeed an irony to see television revolutionize football like never before, but stadium atmosphere and the fans that make up that atmosphere will forever remain an integral part of football.

And it is sad that the Glazers don’t realize that.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. panks

    July 14, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    i tell u these fucking shitty arseholes called the glazers are greedy pigs.they first put the richest club in d world under a lot of debt and now they want to repay that debt with the hard earned money of the supporters.why in the world did the board accept their takeover offer with borrowed money?if these greedy leeches continue to suck the supporters’ blood then i’m sure that in a couple of years time they’ll struggle to fill the stadium.a club runs on its supporters and they r shooting themselves in the foot by hurting those supporters.look at real and barca they r there because of their huge fan base.why do united want to blow away this chance.isn’t there any chance of someone( like abramovic) to buy our club or the club to become a PLC again.oh god please get my beloved united rid of these fucking greedy yanks.

  2. Liam O'Kelly

    July 15, 2007 at 12:54 am

    The Glazers have reportedly been offered 1bn pounds+ for the club but declined because they “are in it for the long run” as for the debt situation they have split the debt in that “refinancing” thing that happened last year which means that half of the borrowed money is in debt to the Glazers and half to the club. I agree that it would be better if they just sold to a rich person and left with the profits but with the debt incresing every year due to interest that means that someone would have to pay the Glazers their money and reimburse the club with the outstanding debt which would be an astronomical figure. Still I hear Bill Gates isn’t involved in any sports teams maybe he could help us out 🙂

  3. panks

    July 15, 2007 at 3:37 am

    or may be L.N. Mittal the indian steel tycoon could help us out.it was rumoured that he wanted to buy birmingham city.why not divert his attention to united.afterall we r still one of the biggest clubs in terms of revenue generated and fan base.we also have the biggest fan base in india and in asia.may be this could interest him as mittal is asian.moreover united would be more suited to his reputation than birmingham city and the club can come back under british ownership.it’ll also remove our debts.

  4. Indian Devil

    July 15, 2007 at 7:30 am

    Absolutely i agree wit u panks L.N. Mittal being the fifth richest man in the world can do more than birmingham city. Also an indian buying one of the biggest club s in the world would have a huge impact on Man U’s asian market which could see the revenue gained by the club to be more than ever from all over asia.

  5. JK

    July 16, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Greedy cunts. It’s crazy because the fans are taking all the hits, and all the shit for the Glazers. If the mid-class fans can’t support a club, it’s over. Who knows,, someday fans might even consider a strike.

  6. Paul Davies

    August 7, 2007 at 3:38 am

    Once I my season ticket
    lands on my doorstep I am cancelling my direct debit for the ACS
    and will wait and see what they do, take me to court??? cancel my
    ST?? Everyone should do it, fuck em over I say

  7. dave c

    March 5, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Cup scheme sucks ass!! Ive recently had my season tickets cancelled do two missin payment for 2 cup games.I wanted to go but there was a problem with payment by the time i read the email off man u they’d sold my seats.They only had the odd seat left not sat next to each other so didnt buy any.when i rang about the lyon game the fuckers said they’d cancelled the tickets but i could appeal.Appealed got fuckin know where! i was told there not in a postion to reinstate my tickets so im fucked.been going for 15yrs but what the fuck does that matter!

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