Last updated : 15 July 2007 By Editor


Manchester United are being taken to court by one of their own supporters amid the argument over their controversial `automatic cup scheme'.

The scheme, which has been in operation for almost a decade, now makes the purchase of tickets for all cup matches compulsory for all season-ticket holders.

Ironically, it was initially introduced on a voluntary basis to aid supporters who found it difficult to meet deadlines for ticket applications, which were often arranged at short notice.

However, United's decision to extend the ACS to all remaining season-ticket holders has prompted fierce criticism from many fans' groups.

And now one fan, backed by the Manchester United Supporters Trust, has decided to test the issue legally, issuing papers to the County Court which require a response from the Red Devils by July 19.

The supporter, MUST member John Mayall, argues that United, having originally agreed to the renewal of two season tickets, costing £1,444, then issued a letter saying they would not be supplied unless he joined the ACS.

Mayall argues that it is unfair to expect him to buy tickets for all home matches, at an unspecified cost, as he finds it difficult to attend games in midweek - when the majority of cup matches are played.

'We don't recommend taking legal action against our club lightly but attempts to change minds about this have been brushed off,' said MUST chairman Nick Towle.

``We call on United to return to the status quo now and retain the ACS as a voluntary scheme because it is inherently unfair to force fans to buy tickets they do not want or cannot afford.''

United have declined to respond to the threat in public, although they have acknowledged receipt of Mayall's letter.

However, it almost certain they will defend their actions on two fronts, namely their right to sell tickets at prices and in a manner of their choosing.

Most tellingly, though, in selling within a whisker of their ceiling of 57,000 season tickets already this summer, the Premier League champions can argue the response justifies their ACS policy, which gives them the added benefit of guaranteed revenue.