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Out of the red, into the read...

You may notice a few changes in tomorrow’s matchday programme and we would like to explain them.

We’re very proud of the publication we put out. Everyone involved, from the writers to the sellers, works very hard to ensure FC United has the best programme in non-league football.

It’s something that marks us out as ’different’ to many of the clubs at our level. We have the advantage of a bigger fan-base than most and a wealth of experience borne from the high quality fanzines produced by Manchester United fans over the years. Those fanzines, and the writers of them, were instrumental in the formation of FC United and consequently the production of the matchday programme.

As you will have noticed on your travels, other clubs don’t have our resources and therefore their programmes are generally not to the same standard. The programme also doubles up as a great advert for the club. First time fans, visitors, sponsors and partnership agencies are always impressed and cite the programme as a big plus point to being involved with FC United.

Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons, sales have dropped this season and we are seriously in danger of losing this particular jewel in our crown and we may be left with no choice but to turn out similar ’standard’ programmes to other clubs next season.

Due to matches being postponed and the amount of midweek home matches we have been forced to play, we have been selling up to 200 less programmes per match.
For the same reasons crowds have been lower, overall, which obviously hits sales. But it also appears that less people are buying the programme when they do attend - we used to sell to one in two attendees, whereas this season it is closer to one in three (which is still better than most clubs, even at Premier League level). Subsequently, for the first time in the club’s history we are losing money on the matchday publication.

We have recently carried out a survey, with one aim being to find out why people are no longer buying it. One of the biggest reasons appears to be apathy. Many supporters have simply got out of the habit, or just forget. Of course, we have all experienced tough times financially and this has also left fans with less disposable income. Many prefer to buy a fair share ticket instead, if they have any change rattling round.

Today we appeal to you to help save our programme. You might regularly buy one, so we may be preaching to the converted, but do you buy one every match and do your friends?

Maybe buy a couple for mates who can no longer, or chose not to, attend games. Or take out a subscription if you can’t get to every game yourself - it’s a great way to stay in touch (see the club’s website or ask a seller how).

Why not alternate between a fair share ticket and a programme? The money going to the club is the same after-all and there’s a lot more to read in the latter.
If you think the standard has gone down, then contact us and let us know why. Or better still put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and contribute yourself. Everyone is welcome. See the contact details on the contents page and get in touch.

In the meantime, the programme team has come up with a plan for clawing back some of the deficit during the rest of the season, hence the changes. Following a very productive meeting before last weekend’s game, our excellent matchday sellers have also made a few adjustments to the way they sell, so no one can use the excuse that they can’t see them.

From now on we will be producing a 28-page programme with some black and white pages. The editors have worked out ways to provide the same amount of content, yet with four less pages being printed we will save money.

Sections of the programme, like Margy’s notes and the away team write up, will be reduced to one page to make room for other articles. We are confident we can still produce the best matchday publication at our level.

If supporters do their bit and support their programme, then we will offset our losses and continue to have a tome we can be proud of, but if people don’t buy it then we will be faced with a very sad need to reduce standards and take backward steps towards being the same as everyone else.

In Manchester we have a history for being different, radical and forward thinking, so let’s carry on in that vein and continue to do things the United way. Support the programme.

Tomorrow’s programme contains articles from Dave Boyle of Supporters Direct, a piece about a Blue and Gold campaign (not green) and an interview with new centre half Mark Ayres, where he reveals why he played at Old Trafford and how he’s got a sore gob. There’s also an opinion piece on politics in football, using Italian ultras as a backdrop. It’s a good read and a bargain at £2, which goes to your club.

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First Posted ~ 10:50 Fri 19 Mar 2010
News ID ~ 2778
Last Updated ~ 12:36 Mon 21 May 2018