Saturday 14 December 2019

Manchester United executives to meet with fans over concerns about atmosphere at Old Trafford

Old Trafford
Old Trafford

Ben Rumsby

Manchester United executives will meet supporters this month to discuss Jose Mourinho's complaints about the atmosphere at Old Trafford.

The issue has been placed on the agenda at the next fans' forum, which is routinely attended by senior figures at the club, including managing director Richard Arnold.

Mourinho complained after Saturday's 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town that the home crowd had been "quiet", as well as drawing unfavourable comparisons with the atmosphere at Portsmouth, whose ground boasts barely a quarter of the capacity of United's.

That prompted a response from the Manchester United Supporters' Trust, which pinned most of the blame on the lack of "supporter ownership and engagement" under the Glazer regime.

It also revealed it had recently met with directors to discuss changes that could improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford, including the introduction of safe standing.

It said in a statement: "The decline in atmosphere is by no means limited to Old Trafford.

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"It's an issue affecting clubs throughout the country. And it's certainly not an issue specific to Manchester United supporters - our away support is widely acknowledged, by fair-minded fans, as the best in the country.

"We believe that atmosphere is primarily dependent on the perceived relationship between fans and club - including the degree of supporter ownership and engagement.

"In the absence of any imminent changes in the former, we therefore concentrate on other areas where we can have an impact in the short to medium term.

"To that end, last week we met with directors (both board and venue) to explore what can be done. We will be reporting on that meeting in the coming days.

"These were the items on the agenda: atmosphere; capacity expansion; reclaim the Stretford End; seat relocations; safe standing; expanding youth support; ticket pricing; supporter facilities in the stadium."

United's ticketing and marketing strategy operations manager, Chris Moss, admitted at a fans' meeting in November that the atmosphere at Old Trafford "could be improved".

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