Man United score huge PR own goal as free coach offer for fans backfires
Manchester United appear to have scored a huge PR own goal after it emerged their offer to lay on free coach travel for their supporters attending this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Everton has back fired.
United received a wave of positive publicity when they confirmed they would lay on coaches for their supporters making the trip to London, with engineering works making train travel virtually impossible for the 5.15pm kick-off on Friday.
Yet it has now emerged that the coaches the club will pay all costs to cover accommodate only a fraction of the fans planning to make the trip to the national stadium, with a reported 57 coaches laid on free of charge.
United supporters were invited to click on a link to book their coach travel, but many have now discovered that their hopes of securing a free coach seat was in vain due to the lack of space failing to cope with demand.
One frustrated United supporters contacted Independent.ie to express his frustrations that the story suggesting the club would ensure all supporters would be given free transport to Wembley was, in fact, not accurate.
“This offer covers approx 2,000 fans out of 31,000,” the United fan told us. “All places had gone by the time I received an email telling me I had been successful in the ticket ballot.
“So their statement that they are offering free travel to fans is disingenuous to say the least. I have contacted the ticket office at United and they are not interested. I was told it doesn't matter as they were free anyway.
“I don't see why United should enjoy the good publicity for this story when to all intents and purposes they have lied.”
United supporters who are not fortunate have a ticket on the club’s free buses will now have a dilemma getting back from Wembley, with the notion of staying overnight in the capital an expensive option in a weekend when most rooms have been taken ahead of Sunday’s London marathon.
It may well ensure traffic chaos on Saturday morning, with United fans trying to get to Wembley via road, which is a challenging prospect on motorways that have long-term road work projects in place.