Controversy surrounds away support numbers at Ashton Gate
2,641 MUFC fans
December 4 2017
2,641 Manchester United supporters will watch the hotly-anticipated League Cup clash with Bristol City at Ashton Gate, following a controversial decision by the home side to segregate the Atyeo Stand.
The Championship club has opted not to offer the entirety of the Atyeo Stand, where away support is usually housed, to travelling United fans. Red Devils supporters have instead been given an allocation of 2,641 tickets for the game.
Such an allocation meets Football League requirements to provide ten per cent of a stadium's capacity for away supporters – but will see the ground’s usual away end carved up to allow more home fans to watch the contest.
Robins' chief executive Mark Ashton confirmed the club had opted "not fill the whole of the Atyeo Stand with away fans", in order to provide "an extra 1,100 tickets to home fans".
The cut allocation means tickets proved yet scarcer for the Red Army, many of whom are eager to see United’s first game at Ashton Gate in almost three decades. It is understood 6,034 United fans applied for a ticket to the game.
Bristol City’s move has elicited a furious reaction from the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST), who – in the lead-up to the game - urged the promotion hopefuls to re-consider ticketing arrangements.
A MUST statement read: “It is disappointing that Bristol City have taken the unusual step, for their club, of segregating the away stand in order to reduce the normal away allocation and admit over 1000 home fans to that stand in the place of Manchester United fans.
“While we understand the increased demand for home tickets due to United being in town, the measure not only appears unfair to our large travelling support but also poses security issues. The Bristol City CEO appeared to crow about the away allocation being so heavily reduced. That only serves to make this issue more aggravating.
“Taking away 1,100 from the away end and giving them to people who are not regular Bristol City supporters (attendances throughout this competition to date have been much lower) will likely result in touting, more away fans in the home sections and more fans travelling ticketless. These outcomes fly in the face of the obvious logic that having away fans safely segregated in one away stand is the best approach to policing fixtures.
“We urge Bristol City to reconsider this decision and ask Manchester United to continue their efforts to support increased allocations, which have proved successful recently in seeing allocations increased at grounds such as Chelsea and Benfica.”
The two sides last met at Ashton Gate in October 1979, and played out a 1-1 draw.
Bristol City are enjoying an impressive season, and currently sit third in the Football League Championship. However, they are likely to be under-dogs for the visit of competition holders United, ahead of an intriguing tie in the Carabao-sponsored cup tournament.
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