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Club send reply after Newcastle supporter group raised concerns over Manchester United fans

1 year ago
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Supporters group Toon For Change wrote (see below) to Newcastle United regarding Manchester United fans buying tickets in the home areas.

The two clubs set to meet on Sunday 6 October and thousands of tickets still unsold, as many Newcastle fans are staying away due to Mike Ashley’s way of running the football club.

The club have now replied, stating their position.

The tickets are now on sale to anybody, you don’t need to be a season ticket holder or member.

I particularly like the big plan to stop Manchester United fans getting into normal (non-corporate) home areas.

The club say they have staff monitoring closely sales of tickets in the North West.

Hmmm, I can’t see where that can go wrong…considering that Manchester United fans are renowned for coming from pretty much everywhere else, as well as/instead of the North West/Manchester.

Toon For Change response to the club’s reply:

‘While we appreciate the club’s response to our letter regarding ticketing for Manchester United at home on 6 October, we are concerned that effectively, the club is unwilling to rule out selling tickets in hospitality areas to away fans.

Earlier this year the club sold Liverpool supporters dozens of tables in hospitality, which essentially turned the area into and  extension of the away end. A Liverpool fan who was at the game suggested Newcastle United “deliberately put profit first and sold corporate tickets with no thought to the likely consequences.”

A Newcastle fan who attended the match said “Unbelievably the club allowed Liverpool fans to purchase tickets for a section of the Platinum Club. I understand that some families left as they felt intimidated by a large group of away fans in the most expensive part of the ground other than the boxes.”

It is currently possible for large groups of Manchester United fans to purchase tickets in the hospitality areas, which could cause tension between supporters of both clubs in this part of the stadium and potentially other areas too.

We strongly urge the club to restrict the sale of tickets to Manchester United fans to the away section of the stadium.’

Toon For Change

The Mag – 24 September 2019:

One of the many Newcastle United supporters who regularly writes for us, Sam Hepworth, last week brought up the issue of thousands of unsold seats and Manchester United fans.

Like every game this season, there remains thousands and thousands of empty seats left for the game which is now in only 12 days time.

That article raised the concern that many Manchester United fans could end up amongst Newcastle supporters in home sections, due to the club seemingly happy to sell tickets to anybody for the game.

This in stark contrast to what happened for the Liverpool game in May, a fanbase that historically there has been far less friction with in recent decades than the Man Utd one.

Now fans group Toon For Change have followed up on this and proactively written to the club (see below).

Interesting to see if they get any response…

The Toon For Change letter to Newcastle United, raising the issue of the Manchester United fans match:

23 September 2019

Mr Stephen Tickle, Box Office Manager

Box Office

Newcastle United Football Club

St James’ Park

Strawberry Place

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

NE1 4ST

Manchester United fans purchasing tickets in home areas for match on 6 October

Dear Mr Tickle,

Following the ugly scenes in May during the match between Newcastle United and Liverpool, as a result of away supporters getting tickets in home seating areas, we are seeking clarification from the club on what steps are being taken to prevent Manchester United fans doing the same ahead of the game on 6 October.

The match against Liverpool earlier this year saw 22 supporters ejected and seven arrests following numerous violent incidents, after away supporters managed to acquire tickets in home areas.

Following the Liverpool match, the club released a statement saying that it “restricted match ticket sales to existing [NUFC] members” and that “no general admission tickets were sold to Liverpool supporters by Newcastle United beyond the visitors’ usual allocation.”

Despite this, there were large numbers of Liverpool fans in home areas, which led to an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous environment for Newcastle United supporters.

The attendance at the Brighton match was the lowest at St James’ Park for a Premier League match since August 2011 and some Manchester United might see the game in October as an opportunity to buy tickets in home areas, which currently, they can do with ease.

Tickets for the Manchester United match are on public sale, meaning that non-members and therefore potentially, Manchester United supporters can purchase tickets, even in areas such as block D of Level 7 Leazes West Corner, the block next to the areas where Manchester United fans will be seated.

At time of writing block D of Level 7 has just over 50 tickets available, compared to block A, which has over 300 seats available.

We would suggest that there will be a temptation for Manchester United supporters to buy tickets in these blocks, where they will be close to fellow fans. It’s likely that many may already have done so and we are concerned that on the day, these areas will not only become an extension of the away end – but could be flashpoints for conflict between fans.

Our group would appreciate urgent clarification on what steps the club is taking to prevent Manchester United supporters purchasing tickets in home areas and what action will be taken towards away match-goers who do so.

Yours faithfully,
Joe Halliday, member of Toon For Change

Sam Hepworth writing on The Mag – 19 September 2019:

Manchester United fans will be descending on St James Park in two weeks time.

The game on Sunday 6 October to be shown live on Sky Sports at 4.30pm.

With so many season tickets unsold we have already seen the crowd fall to 44,000 against Watford, with Brighton on Saturday set to see a new season low with currently over 10,000 seats unsold.

However, just to show how deep reaching the discontent of Newcastle fans is, what many regard as the most attractive home match of the season has more unsold seats currently than ever before.

Tickets for the Man Utd game went on sale to members and season ticket holders a week ago (12 September 2019) and then on sale to the general public yesterday (18 September 2019) and yet this has had minimal effect.

Newcastle United’s online ticketing site shows there are still over 7,500 tickets still unsold, which doesn’t include the unsold seats amongst the approximately 4,000 corporate seats. On this occasion we can take for granted the away end is sold out, as whatever we might think about them, the Manchester United fans always do that.

With Mike Ashley raising season ticket prices and individual ticket prices yet again this season, it means that normal (not family enclosure) tickets start at £43 for the general public in the Leazes and Gallowgate, whilst the higher level ones (East Stand etc) are well over £50.

Not exactly must have priced tickets for a struggling team playing in a match live on TV, with so many Newcastle supporters desperate to not give Mike Ashley any more money.

Bottom line, the NUFC owner is happily relying on Manchester United fans to try and fill St James Park.

It is very ironic that Man Utd fans are free now to buy as many tickets as they want in the home areas, when you consider what happened in April/May this year.

The Liverpool home game, the last of the season, was always going to quickly sell out anyway to Newcastle fans and yet the club went to such great lengths to try and stop Liverpool fans buying tickets that they even banned some NUFC fans who had bought memberships from buying tickets (see below), whilst at the same time happily selling tickets in the corporate sections to massive groups of Liverpool fans.

It is also ironic that there has been far more ‘friction’ between Newcastle United supporters and Manchester United fans over the years than with the scousers, yet Mike Ashley is happy to potentially have thousands of extra Man Utd supporters sitting amongst Newcastle fans.

Ashley only took those actions in April/May because he knew the Liverpool would sell out regardless.

However, rather than restrict sales of tickets to Newcastle United members and season ticket holders to try and ensure as few Manchester United fans as possible are in the home sections, the NUFC owner doesn’t care a less so long as the Mancs are filling some of the thousands of seats he has no chance of selling to Newcastle fans.

Newcastle United announcement – Thursday 25 April 2019:

‘Tickets will only be sold to NUFC members with a recent purchase history, at a maximum of two tickets per person.

In order to buy tickets, members must have a valid 2018/19 season card or membership, and members must have made a ticket purchase during the 2018/19 season.’

It isn’t difficult to imagine why they have done this, as in the possibility  of Liverpool fans recently buying NUFC memberships in order to get hold of tickets BUT what about Newcastle fans who have paid the club for a membership and are now being told they can’t buy tickets?

Whilst most members will have been to previous matches this season, some won’t have, possibly targeting this match for a special trip.

People specifically buying a membership have wasted their money this season anyway, with the exception of this Liverpool match. Every single other NUFC home game has gone to a public sale, with this Liverpool game the only one where it won’t go beyond a members sale.

I’m guessing that Newcastle United will be duty bound (legally as well as morally?) to now refund every single person, Newcastle or Liverpool fan, who has bought a 2018/19 NUFC membership but who hadn’t bought a ticket so far…

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