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Statement from the board re Daisy Hill home match

The Board of FC United of Manchester wishes to address some of the concerns aired by supporters with regards to the difficulties experienced in getting access to Gigg Lane at our home game versus Daisy Hill.

In line with our policy of being open and accountable to our support, we believe it’s important to give the following account of the facts.

The capacity of the Manchester Road End is officially 2200, but due to the unreserved seating policy and the fact that standing within this end has been, to a large degree, allowed the capacity has to be reduced by approximately 10% to 1900. This, along with the fact many supporters prefer to congregate together, explains why to some the far right end of the stand looked empty, despite the turnstiles being closed at approx 14.45.

With 10 minutes to go before kick off it is estimated there was in excess of 700 supporters still making their way to the ground. It is for this reason the referee agreed to delay the kick-off by 10 minutes. (More to follow on that particular policy)

At this stage supporters were directed to turnstiles for the Main Stand. It is accepted that the policy of not allowing supporters entry via those turnstiles marked for ’away supporters’ may appear strange considering the low numbers of those fans, particularly as the policy was reversed part way through the queuing process, but it should be noted that Bury FC employ a fully licensed safety officer, whose sole aim is to get supporters into the ground as safely and as possible. This matter has now been resolved.

The capacity of the MRE and Main Stand together is 4000. The Board had made provisions, including the necessary stewards, for the South Stand to be open should the attendance reach 4000. As it was not, it was felt that the two stands could accommodate all supporters. No supporter was turned away or ’locked out’. We do accept however that ’nearing’ capacity without actually reaching it, as was the case yesterday, still provides complications and with this in mind the South Stand will be open for the next home game. This has extra cost implications and it is hoped that it will not dilute the special atmosphere evident in all our previous games and in particular yesterday, but we hope that it may help alleviate some of yesterday issues.

We also wish to clarify the nature of the middle section of the main stand. This area has been made available to us by Bury as a press, player’s guests, league officials and sponsors area should they wish to use it. There is no suggestion of exclusivity or a wish to differentiate between supporters. Those that choose to sit in this area enjoy no other ’perks’ than be able to have access to their families, press room or sponsors facilities. There are however security issues specific to this area as the stairwell leads directly to the players tunnel. Numbers are restricted but all supporters are allowed access to this area should they wish, if they write to the club in advance The same rule applies to sponsors. No preferential treatment is given to either group. Some supporters did climb into this area on Saturday, understandably just wishing to find a seat, and it was decided that rather than ask those fans to leave, we would allow them to remain, but that the stairwell would have to be stewarded at half-time.

It is hoped that this answers some of the concerns and questions that have arisen. The Board along with Bury FC are learning lessons with every passing match, so it is hoped that as the season progresses that these minor complications can be ironed out. It should be noted however that the kick-off cannot continue to be delayed on a regular basis. Each one has to be reported to the league and the reasons why, fully explained. As supporters ourselves we fully understand the reasons why we often arrive with only a few minutes to kick-off, but we must understand the restrictions placed on us at this level of football and the nature of not fully knowing how many supporters will be in attendance. Provisions have and will continue to be made, and systems can be improved further, so hopefully with supporters help we can eradicate these minor problems.

Thanks as ever for your tremendous support.

The Board of FC United of Manchester.

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First Posted ~ 14:53 Sun 9 Oct 2005
News ID ~ 103
Last Updated ~ 09:19 Sun 26 Feb 2006