Manchester United fan groups have backed the club’s announcement about making major changes to the Stretford End in order to enhance the atmosphere.
The club announced a new ‘atmospheric area’ will be introduced in the Stretford End for the first time since it was changed into the Family Stand back in the early 2000s.
Former club chairman Martin Edwards made the decision to create the family stand and introduce an area of executive seating in a part of the stadium which housed some of United’s most vocal supporters. The move has been heavily criticised since and Edwards has admitted his decision has affected the atmopshere.
However, after hard work from fan groups the fans are finally getting what they want and an ‘atmospheric area’ will be introduced next season.
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust wrote an open letter to the club earlier in the year with proposals to ‘reclaim the Stretford End’ and since then fan group The Red Army have also been working with the club to improve the atmopshere.
The groups have welcomed the proposed changes and MUST believe it can benefit the teams performances on the pitch.
“These extensive changes to stadium configuration will benefit supporters as a whole as well as the team,” a spokesman said. “But, they do have an impact on individual supporters whose current seats are affected.
“Mandatory moves to different areas of the stadium should be avoided, although the aims could be met by an incentivised voluntary approach.
“However we do urge supporters to acknowledge the need for seat specific moves within a section so that groups of friends and like minded supporters can be accommodated to maximise stadium atmosphere and 75,000 supporters can watch and support the team in line with their different needs and preferences.”
The changes have come about off the back of a successful trial in United Road in the East Stand where The Red Army group have been given an allocation of seats to help to improve atmosphere.
The trial has been a resounding success and as of next season 1,200 seats will be released in the current family stand which will be given to fans who want to be part of a dedicated ‘atmosphere area.’
It is understood the allocation will be a mix of season ticket holders and member tickets and applications will open next year for fans who want to move in the section.
The hope behind the new section is to recreate the Stretford End right side. Back in the 1980s the Stretford End was divided into left and right siders and the hope is that by bringing back the right side it can be one step closer to recreating the famous atmosphere that used to exist at Old Trafford.
The club will consult all families currently within the area before the seats are reallocated and all fans will be given the option to either remain in the Family Stand, which is being moved, or moved to alternative seating within the stadium.