Friday, March 26

Time to stand up to Sunderland!

Yes, it's that time of year again!

United are playing Sunderland away, and those nice old councillors at Sunderland Town Hall are about to reduce the number of away-end tickets.

Last season United got 1,700 tickets and councillors will meet on Monday to discuss "the possibility of restricting the number of seats available to Manchester United as a sanction for persistent standing at the corresponding fixture in the 2008/09 season."

However, it's not too late to influence the decision.

Our view at Reds Away - as it is at Stretford End Flags - is that, rather than improving fans' safety, reducing the allocation would actually endanger it because thousands of United fans would, rightly or wrongly, try to get in the home end.

This is Sunderland AFC's view on the subject.

Responding to an email from Stretford End Flags, Sunderland's safety manager, Paul Weir, said: "We are duty bound to encourage people to sit in our all seater stadium in consideration of spectator safety and comfort.

"Your view regarding standing is exactly that, your view.

"I have complaints from other supporters complaining that they and their children could not see the game due to people standing for long periods."

And, quite provocatively, he added: "One way of ensuring an increased allocation is to comply with the ground regulations, and not to consider yourself above them."

But luckily for us, it's not Paul who makes the final decision.

Sunderland City Council's regulatory committee will meet on Monday afternoon.

Here is the report they will consider.

You can make your views known on the issue to the people making the decision.

Email the committee's chairman at
and the other committee members can be contacted at:

Here is some sample wording to inspire you.
Finaly, the councillors only have to consider the views of people who live in Sunderland, though, should someone email them and simply say they were from Sunderland, they would have no reason to suggest they were lying.

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