United fans to protest at increased prices

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The Independent Online

Manchester United's annual shareholders meeting today is primed to be another stormy, emotional affair with hundreds of supporters set to descend on the city's Armitage Centre to protest about the club's inflation-busting price increases.

News of the planned protest yesterday drew a terse response from Martin Edwards, who faced plenty of flak over prices at last year's meeting. "We would argue we are not dear. We are not trying to price supporters out of the stadium," he said.

Edwards also hinted that prices in the new stand, which will boost capacity to 55,000 and opens next year, could be cheaper. "We are aware that prices have gone up, and when we set prices next year when the stand is open we will take that into consideration." However, Chris Robinson, chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, said long- serving supporters could no longer afford to attend matches.

"We have a couple of hundred people who have managed to buy a small number of shares. We know that is not enough to shake Martin Edwards in terms of his holding, but the latest price increase is the straw that broke the camel's back," he said. He added that his season ticket for this year cost pounds 304 for 19 games, compared with pounds 108 in 1990 for 21 games.

n A Legal Network for Fans was launched in London yesterday. The network aims to provide adequate legal representation for supporters by putting them in touch with solicitors with football backgrounds.