That was the weekend that was: United splash out to join the eco- warriors

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The Independent Online
ANOTHER MATCH, another 55,000 spectators through the Old Trafford gates and another sackful of money to be emptied into Manchester United's already overflowing coffers. Regardless of the result of yesterday's visit of Leeds, United emerged as winners in financial terms, as they do after every home game.

Now, with thousands more potential customers metaphorically queuing for the chance of a glimpse inside, United want to expand their "theatre of dreams", happily aware that the pounds 30m they plan to spend on 12,400 extra seats will soon be recouped. And then they'll simply get richer still...

After the controversy over the proposed BSkyB takeover deal, United cannot wonder that they are perceived as blinkered money-grabbers without a care for anyone else's interests. However, this is not entirely a true picture.

Amid much less publicity, United last week agreed to spend pounds 1m on a "good neighbour grant" to finance the extra cost of street cleaning, parking enforcement and residents-only parking schemes near the stadium on match days. They are also launching a scheme to encourage fans to use public transport, with park-and-ride facilities.

Cynics point out that the cost is less than a tenth of the fee they paid for Dwight Yorke and could almost be financed out of petty cash. But it represents the largest contribution any club has made to the environmental costs of staging football - and you cannot knock them for that.

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