United set to increase prices to help fight off Glazer

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The Independent Football

Manchester United are likely to take another step towards staving off the threat of a takeover by Malcolm Glazer by raising ticket prices to increase revenue tomorrow, when next season's prices are due to be confirmed at a scheduled meeting of the Manchester United fans' forum.

Manchester United are likely to take another step towards staving off the threat of a takeover by Malcolm Glazer by raising ticket prices to increase revenue tomorrow, when next season's prices are due to be confirmed at a scheduled meeting of the Manchester United fans' forum.

Aside from trying to minimise the recent impact of a 50 per cent drop in half-year profits, the club's chief executive, David Gill, must also show shareholders, in particular the Cubic Expression partners John Magnier and J P McManus, that the club is being run to maximum financial potential.

With United recording capacity 67,000 crowds for every home game this season, apart from three European ties against Dinamo Bucharest, Sparta Prague and Lyon, and the club confident of filling the extra 7,900 seats created by next year's stadium expansion, the scope for increases is obvious.

"We believe there is a good opportunity to increase the yield from the stadium while still maintaining very competitive prices," the club's finance director, Nick Humby, confirmed. "We can improve the stretch of those prices and look at various areas of the ground where we can increase prices appropriately."

United's plans should find favour with financial institutions and also reinforce the position of the club's board against Glazer, who is adamant that even greater profits can be generated by the world's richest club.

However, they are less likely to appease supporters' groups, who are already unhappy at the club's refusal last month to consider an extensive list of proposals aiming to reconfigure the stadium once the expansion project is completed.

Although the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association was asked for observations by senior club officials, a source said that its plans had been "dismissed out of hand" even though they would increase revenue.

The association's major aim is to "reclaim the Stretford End" by moving the singing section of the stand from the second tier to the first and relocating the executives who occupy the middle of the stand.

"We spent a lot of time on these proposals," added the source. "We truly felt we had addressed all the needs of the club and the bottom line is revenue would have increased by over £1m a year. For the club to dismiss them out of hand was extremely disappointing."

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