Wednesday, April 21

United to scrap Loyalty Pot?

The club's 15-member fans forum is set to meet this week to discuss the possibility of the Loyalty Pot being scrapped.

As revealed on Red News on March 31, United are considering changing part two of the Club Charter.
It states that away tickets are divided between season ticket holders in the Loyalty Pot and season ticket holders in the Standard Pot.

The logic behind it is this:

- The LP discriminates against young people who, by definition can't get into because they haven't been going long enough. It's not their fault they weren't alive when LP members began 'earning their stripes'.

- Scrapping of the LP would actually benefit fans because, at the moment, clubs including Spurs, Sunderland, Bolton and Villa are, season by season, decreasing the size of United's away allocation due to persistent standing. Getting rid of standers would mean more tickets, in theory at least.

In 2006, the club suspended the LP for the match at Bolton in a bid to stop fans standing.

Though their publicity at the time stopped short of blaming LP members for standing, club representatives might hold the possibly shortsighted view that 'LP members are at away games a lot and because standing happens at away games, they must be to blame'.

Of course, that does not take into account that, LP member or otherwise, individual fans can't exactly persuade a 3,000-strong crowd to sit down on his own.

And even if he then sat down during the entire game, the club would have no proof he did so or joined in with the persistent standers.

In short, there's no proof that getting rid of the LP would reduce persistent standing.

So what other motive could United have for scrapping the LP? Money, perhaps?

There is talk that, a season after launching the European Travel Club, United would seek to do the same for domestic away games.

Each executive members, season ticket holder and One United member would have to join an Away Travel Club for the privilege of applying for away games.

Whether a joining fee would be involved is unclear.

But the aim of such a club might be to use it to introduce devices to stop persistent standing.

For example, putting names on all away-end tickets and threatening to ban supporters who do not sit in their designated seats.

That could be followed up by recording the names and addresses of the fans who sit on the back row of the away stand and working with stewards to ensure anyone who does not sit down when asked will be ejected and possibly banned from future games.

One possibly development could be United stewards and security officials usually seen at home games managing the away end, in a similar way to European away games when they sometimes operate at the turnstiles.

Whatever happens, the discussion of these issues at this week's fans forum meeting is set to unsettle members of the LP and all fans who attend away games, who will surely be fearful that the one pleasure reds have left - daring to enjoy away games - could be snatched from their grasp.

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