Manchester United have announced plans to allocate around 1200 seats within the Stretford End to its more vocal support. It’s a huge commitment from the club and follows years of campaigning from supporters groups to try and bring back the once formidable Old Trafford atmosphere.
Former club chairman Martin Edwards originally made the final decision to put an area of executive seating and to create the family stand in the Stretford End. An area which was the second home of some of United’s most vocal supporters. The decision has been heavily criticized and ridiculed over the years and Edwards himself has since admitted the atmosphere has suffered because of his decision.
These latest plans, finally offer some hope to us United Supporters, that someday, we may be able to re-create or come close to the atmosphere that used to send teams running scared before they even stepped out of the tunnel and onto the famous Old Trafford turf.
The club has made the decision following the success of fan-led initiatives to improve the atmosphere over the last two seasons, which included handing part of United Road in the East Stand Lower to fan group The Red Army. The same group that was allowed to organise a group of around 1500 supporters into the L Stand, which usually houses the away fans, for an FA Cup match against Brighton back in March 2017, which despite the boring game that day, a lot of supporters say (including me) that it was the best atmosphere Old Trafford had witnessed in years.
The trials all involved applying on a game-by-game basis, to be moved to that section, and its safe to say that they have been a resounding success, that not even the Club can deny it any longer. The noise levels for the first game of the season against Leicester were the loudest ever recorded at Old Trafford since records began a few years back and that was with around 600 of us. Next season we will have double that in the Stretford End, as well as having being allocated 1900 tickets in L Stand again for our FA Cup 3rd Round tie with Reading.
Current season ticket holders in the section of the Stretford End that is going to be used will be given the option to stay in their seats or be moved to alternative seating in the stadium.
The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust has been pushing the club for years to bring United’s most vocal supporters back into the Stretford End Lower and a final push from both MUST and The Red Army have finally made it happen.
Earlier in the year, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust penned an open letter to the club’s group managing director Richard Arnold on how to improve the atmosphere and part of those proposals were to ‘reclaim’ the Stretford End.