Independent Manchester United Supporters Association

IMUSA AGM 2001

 

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Chair's Report 2000/2001

I believe that as an organisation we have had one of our most successful years, although I realise that next year's ticket price rises would indicate otherwise. It is important that we look at the big picture and the potential long term outcome of this years efforts.

Tier 2

The opening of WT2 must be seen as a major success for IMUSA. We have campaigned since our formation for a popular end at OT and we will continue that campaign until the whole of the Stretford end is back in the hands of those it really belongs to. Whilst by no means perfect, can anyone imagine Edwards sitting up there to hear the views of fans as Kenyon did? The VFG, formerly the TTC, have put in a huge amount of time and effort to make the singing end work.. IMUSA and the VFG met the club recently and they were very receptive to the ideas put forward. People who contacted the VFG will now be able to take their season ticket facilities with them into T2.

The club are also looking at decent cheap ale and food as a way of enticing fans into the ground earlier and there will be an experiment with unreserved seating next season. We are sure that without IMUSA's dialogue with Trafford Borough Council and the club, SPS would have been more heavy handed and areas of the ground could have been closed. We continue to speak to the club to try to minimise SPS's presence, if not eliminate it all together.

Safe Standing

Since I first became involved in the organisation my main motivation has been the return to terracing campaign. IMUSA were driving this campaign for 2 years before Murdoch with limited success. For obvious reasons terracing took a back seat during Murdoch. In the meantime a blue, Phill Gatenby, had started the SAFE (Standing Areas For Eastlands) campaign.

We contacted Phill, offered our support, rebranded as Standing Areas for England and with minimum effort received unprecedented press coverage, had meetings with ministers, got Trafford Borough Council on board and had the government and the Premier League making fools of themselves trying to find a viable argument against. SAFE self funded a fact finding trip to Germany which

prompted the Football Licensing Authority do likewise, both reaching a favourable conclusion despite the misinformation put out by Chris Smith, culture, media and sport head of department.

The Manchester Evening News sent a reporter out to Bremen who came back with a glowing report of not only the standing area, but also the terrace culture it engenders. SAFE now has a web site which is attracting support from clubs large and small around the country. SAFE has had amicable meetings with the newly formed Liverpool ISA and also the Hillsborough families group. Safe are currently awaiting a date for a meeting with the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. I firmly believe that next season, a club will be given the go ahead to run a trial of safe standing, unfortunately it will not be United.

FSA/CoFS

IMUSA has written Euro reports for the last 4 years As a result of these reports we now have greater access to tickets for independent travellers. When we contact the authorities about potential conflict, they listen, hence Athens passing off without a repeat of Porto. When the government decide to set up a working group on football disorder who do they contact? IMUSA. The fact is that IMUSA continue to drive supporter issues at a national level. Both Monica Brady, with the FSA and Roy Williamson, with the Nat Fed have been working towards one single unified national body. This will happen in the summer of 2002 something inconceivable 2 years ago.

More and more clubs are starting to form effective well run ISA's. IMUSA plays an active role in helping these groups get established most recently Bury and Carlisle. These groups are all putting pressure on their clubs and their MP's to get something done about the issues that are fundamental to us.

Fans Forum

IMUSA's participation in the fans forum has led the club to take some steps in the right direction. I am sure that everyone who put in a massive effort to producing our documents will be disappointed with the outcome. Whilst the club have not gone far enough, they seem to have some idea as to which direction they should be going in. We will keep on fighting for a fully democratic forum (as has recently happened at Newcastle). We will continue to strive for 50% discounts for OAP's and juniors and the unemployed as of right in any part of the ground. We would also like to see the junior age raised to 18 with concessions up to 21.

The swap shop is another IMUSA idea that has been adopted by the club. As usual they have made life difficult for themselves by not implementing it properly

Eurofans

We continue to try to build links with supporter activists across Europe and hope to send a team to Venice for an anti racist world cup 5 a side competition where our team can develop relationships with fans from clubs around Europe.

United Fans

We continue to offer assistance and advice to fans who have had difficulties with the club, most notably, Aled Williams who was charged with touting a ticket before Christmas. Aled was determined to clear his name and won his case, which may now lead to a change in the law regarding the sale of tickets. We will keep pressurising the club to implement a match day swap shop or return scheme for season ticket holders.

Conclusion

I had a conversation with a former chair, Andy Walsh, about 4 years ago. We both agreed that IMUSA had another 2 years life span maximum. The fact is, that if IMUSA had not existed, someone would have started it this year. I feel that the new people that have come to the organisation over the last 18 months, the VFG, OTYC, coming under the IMUSA umbrella, can inject fresh impetus and ideas which will ensure that passionate United fans will have a voice into the future.

Mark Longden


1995-2003 IMUSA