The chaos during Manchester United’s Easter travels leads to anger over the change to Brentford’s kick-off

Furious Manchester United supporters have criticized the controversial scheduling of Saturday’s match at Brentford as they face travel problems this weekend.

Erik ten Hag’s team is scheduled to kick off against Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium at 8 p.m.

It is the fourth time this season that United have moved a match to 8pm on Saturday – the most of any team in the Premier League – and all of those games have been away from home, with the Brentford trip following visits to Burnley. , Sheffield United and Newcastle.

The match starts two minutes before the last scheduled service from London St Pancras International to Manchester Piccadilly departs and there will be no trains running to and from London Euston over the Easter weekend while Network Rail carries out engineering work. It means that there are no direct trains to Manchester on Sunday.

Trailers who rely on trains are at risk of being stuck in London until Monday due to the Easter shutdown and incurring significant hotel and living costs.

Others preparing for the 410-mile round trip by road are unlikely to get home until the early hours of Sunday, with the match likely to finish around 10pm barring any kick-off delays.

United have been allocated 1,725 ​​tickets for the match, including 14 pairs for wheelchair users, and the scheduling has been condemned by angry fans who accuse broadcasters and authorities of treating them with contempt.

A spokesperson for Manchester United Supporters’ Trust told Telegraph Sport: “Unfortunately, supporters attending matches are all too used to the fact that we appear to be the last people in line when kick-off times are set.

“For the fourth time this season, United are away from home at 8pm on Saturday, which only shows the blatant disregard that the TV companies and football authorities have for match fans.

“During Covid they said football without fans is nothing – it’s time for the football authorities to show they mean it.”

A survey of more than 17,000 season ticket holders and members this month by The 1958, another United fans group, found that almost 95 percent of supporters did not feel their voices were heard or represented at the right level.

“The recent match changes for Brentford and Chelsea are just further evidence of the contempt shown for traveling match fans in search of greed,” the 1958 said in a statement.

“Our recent survey results support this, with more than 17,000 Reds participating. It’s also a damning indictment of the lack of true fan representation. This will change and must change.”

Saturday’s controversial kick-off could cause further headaches for disabled supporters wanting to attend the match. Chas Banks, secretary of the Manchester United Disabled Supporters’ Association, claimed this was the latest example of the authorities ‘screwing’ fans.

“It feels like they’re doing everything they can to keep disabled fans from watching.”

“I don’t travel to away games anymore,” Banks told Telegraph Sport. “After years of watching United home and away, it all became too much as the years went by – I’m now in my 70s and a disabled wheelchair user – and the football authorities clearly didn’t care about the problems it caused. fans as they plan kick-offs at crazy times.

“They sit safe in the knowledge that whatever crazy changes they make to the fixture list, United’s away fans will find a way to get there one way or another.

“The planned kickoff changes seem even crazier when, like me, it takes three hours to get out of bed and actually leave the house to start your journey. As time went on, it really started to feel like they were going out of their way to stop me and other disabled United fans from seeing my club play away from home.”

Banks said the 8pm kick-off against Brentford would hit fans even harder as there are no trains running.

“It’s just become the norm for the TV companies to do whatever they want,” he said. “If they want Newcastle to play Fulham at 12.30 then they will do that.

“No one thinks for a minute about the impact the changes have on the fans. It wouldn’t be so bad if the railroads worked, but they are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

“We, older fans, keep waiting for the bubble to burst, but I’m struggling to see any sign of that and as long as the fans keep coming, the authorities will keep screwing them.”

The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) is said to fear that such a situation will continue in the future.

The FSA has campaigned successfully in the past on issues surrounding away prizes and safe status.

But getting a critical mass of supporters behind the kick-off times issue has proven more difficult as it does not always affect all away fans.

It is understood the FSA is campaigning to get travel costs reimbursed for away fans who have booked travel alone for a match that is being rescheduled for a second time at short notice.

Move to end the singing of tragedies

Meanwhile, the United and Liverpool Foundations have joined forces to create an education program aimed at ending the chants of tragedy that have marred matches between the sides.

Two United fans have been arrested in connection with singing tragedies during the 4-3 FA Cup win over Liverpool at Old Trafford this month.

With the teams meeting again in the Premier League at Anfield on April 7, the two foundations invited schoolchildren from Manchester and Liverpool to Lord Derby School in Huyton for an afternoon to learn about the impact of the Hillsborough and Munich disasters had at the two clubs. , their fans and the cities.

Wes Brown and Phil Thompson, former United and Liverpool players respectively, joined the session and spoke to students. The two foundations are developing a program in partnership with the Premier League and plan to make it an annual part of their commitment.

At the same time, both clubs remain fully committed to eradicating such behavior in stadiums and online.

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