On March 26, Sunderland City Council’s regulatory committee set the allocation at 1,700, due to persistent standing.
Reds Away editor Dale Haslam attending the meeting in Sunderland and United should get 2,700 tickets.
Now, the Sunderland AFC and the council has had a rethink after considering the submissions of Reds Away, MUST and IMUSA and speaking to United officials.
The committee will meet on April 30 to consider a recommendation to set the allocation at 2,282.
The committee has gone along with every single allocation recommendation put before it in the last 10 years, so it would be a major shock if it did not on this occassion.
But there are conditions:
- 1,064 of those tickets must be sold to those in the loyalty pot and the other 1,218 must be sold to those in the standard port.
- Those in the loyalty pot who get tickets will be on rows 1 to 15
- 100 United stewards “will be put at (Sunderland’s) disposal during the game, to monitor the away end
- police will be helping stewards make sure fans sit down and, if not, helping them eject fans from the stadium
- two seats from the end of each row of the away end will be left empty to prevent aisle blocking
- rows of seats will be kept empty “to allow stewards and police into the heart of the crowd if necessary’
A council report explaining the change of heart says: “The revised safety management plan intends that priority be given to a well established “loyalty pot” which exists within the Manchester United fan database and informs that just short of 50 per cent of tickets will be made available to that group.
“As the name suggests, these fans have been long term supporters of the club and as a result attract benefits.
“Clearly the loyalty-pot status is cherished by those fans which fall within its category and as a result it is felt that the selling of a significant proportion of tickets to that group will attract a more compliant crowd than perhaps received in the past.”
Reds Away editor Dale Haslam said: “We strongly welcome these measures and are grateful that the council and Sunderland AFC officials have listened to fans’ concerns.
“This is a great victory for reds and it shows that football fans can win if they fight against unfair bureaucracy.
“However, we still have concerns about the proposed police operation for this game and are working with MUST, IMUSA, United and the Football Supporters’ Federation to ensure fans are treated well on the day.”