The J-stand singing section has now been in place for 2 seasons and has helped to increase the volume and noise inside Old Trafford, especially at the Scoreboard End, grouping vocal fans together. Since its inception, the section has been monitored to see how well it is working and what can be improved. It was always the intention, that the section would be allowed to develop and to allow new supporters and younger supporters the opportunity to locate in the section each season.
Throughout last season, we received feedback from numerous United fans in and around J Stand, which lead us to ask for fans feedback on what they thought was working well and what could be done to make the section better. Common themes developed from this feedback and as such, the following proposals where submitted to Manchester United, with the aim of making the section better for the 2016/17 season.
What we would like to see, is some of these issues addressed and ways in which the section can be promoted and revitalised for next season.
- How are seats vacated in the section during season ticket renewals advertised so that fans wanting to move into the section can move in? Is there a waiting list for the section? How many non renewals did the section have last summer?
- There are large numbers of fans within the section who clearly have no intention of being part of the section, many of these choose to sit during the games an and don't join in with the songs. Are these people aware what the section is? How can they be made aware of the aims of the section?
- Each game sees a large number of new faces within the seats. Clearly season ticket holders are passing on tickets for the section and passing them onto anyone, rather than fans who want to be in the area. How can this be addressed? Can a ticket exchange system be put In place for vocal fans who want to be in the section?
- How many none season ticket seats are within the section? Are there member or branch seats within the section?
- How can younger fans, Eg those who turn 16 join the section? This is key, as youth needs to be integrated into the area to keep it younger and fresh.
- We have had a lot of complaints from fans in the adjacent K-stand. Before the section was in place, they would stand all game and sing. Since the section has come in, they are now being forced to sit down. You can clearly see the divide between the J stand and K stand by those sitting and standing. Can there be a voluntary reconfiguration within K stand, so that those wishing to stand and sing, can be located next to J stand? This is clearly impacting on the overall atmosphere.
- Can the section be increased in size? Can the lower section as the front of the stand be used? Many feel the section is too small in numbers.
- For the FC Midtylland game there are large number of seats available within the singing section (almost half the section is was on general sale), which indicates season ticket holders have chosen not to attend this game. How can these be promoted as part of the section to get vocal fans into the area?
These are just some of the main issues raised. The danger is that the section doesn't remain unique and simply fades away. The key is keeping the section fresh and ensuring it is promoted. With season ticket renewals already active, we need to ensure that any non-renewals are replaced by vocal supporters who are aware that the area is a singing section.
Whilst there is a group of representatives who act for those within the section, it is imperative that others also have an interaction and a voice, especially for future fans who want to be part of the section.
These proposals were also submitted to the club by the fans forum at their May 2016 meeting and the club responded by saying they will look into the suggestions with regards to promoting the section and ticketing. (Forum minutes will be uploaded onto the official United website soon).
Following the FA Cup victory at Wembley, we have been contacted by some supporters who praised the Crystal Palace supporters for their organised display. SEF put some proposals to Manchester United with regards to installing a designated singing section for United fans at Wembley, but due to the ticket ballot process and the number of applications this was not possible. Crystal Palace supporters did not have these issues.
Supporters have also enquired about making the J Stand area more of a an Ultras section and this is something that we support. Displays such as what Crystal Palace fans produced with their flags and banners were funded by the fans themselves. SEF would be willing to help fund such displays in J-stand for selected home games next season.
SEF is an independent supporters group, If you would like to get involved in helping SEF as a group, then please send an email to JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING as we are looking for season ticket holders to become part of the group and help take SEF forward.
THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT
The 25th November marks the 10th year anniversary of the passing of George Best, one of Manchester United's greatest ever players. George was a shining example of the trust in youth that Sir Matt Busby has instilled on the club and his genius lit up football stadia whenever he played.
On the 25th November, Manchester United are at home to PSV in the Champions league. Several weeks ago (Before the Boro cup game), SEF were approached by a friend of the Best family and asked to support a tribute to George to mark this anniversary. Just as George lit up Old Trafford through his dazzling football, supporters are being called upon to light up Old Trafford. As the clock ticks onto the 7th Minute, we are asking supporters to turn on their mobile phone torches and light up all of Old Trafford.
Georges sister, Barbara McNarry fully supports this tribute and says "During the darkest days of the troubles in Northern Ireland, George brought a shining light to so many people. It's very humbling to know that this light has never gone out or even dimmed. Fans not just at home, but in Manchester and many other places around the world continue to honour his memory and support him in death as they did in life. Old Trafford will be lit up on the 25th of November in fond memory of an ordinary man with an extraordinary talent. Thank you to the Manchester United supporters for this beautiful gesture."
In 2005 following the death of George, SEF produced a banner that was used on the pitch during the minutes silence and was later on display on the Stretford End. This banner was donated to the Best family, who used the banner during their work with the George Best Foundation. SEF have remade the main design of this banner, replacing the more poignant pictures used on the original, with the iconic images of George Best playing for Manchester United. The banner will be on display in the N/E quadrant on Wednesday.
SEF would like to thank Tom Phelan of Colorset for producing this banner in such a short time frame. Tom and Colorset produced the original tribute banner which they also displayed on the pitch before United's away game at West Ham in 2005.
BRING ON UNITED!
Being through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup is no strange place for us and the lads in red. United have a great history in the cup and it’s been far too long since we went to Wembley in the merry month of May and returned with the famous trophy. During the 70s & 80s, the rounds building up to the final throughout the season were as colourful as our trips to Wembley, with butchers’ coats, 2 stick flags, caps & bar scarves filling the terraces wherever the mighty reds played.
Let’s recreate those scenes in J&K stands for the Arsenal FA Cup game on Monday 9th March, and bring back the feeling of the good old days. You don’t need to dig out old butchers’ coats or spend money on a new flag, but let’s get everyone to bring their bar scarf and make simple 2 metre (W) by 1 metre (H) flags and banners – some classics are in the picture above. These can be homemade flags using a bed sheet & paint, or a flag made of cloth or PVC.
On Monday 9th of March, those who bring in a flag or banner can collect pole(s) from stewards on the way through the turnstiles so you can hold them up. May we ask that these are returned at the end of the match for use again in the future. We are also asking for you to send in photos of your flags, to JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING if you are in K Stand or JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING if you are in J Stand, so we know the location of the flags that we can expect to see at our FA Cup game against Arsenal. We would also like your permission when sending in the pictures to be able to use them on Social Media to help generate and inspire ideas and designs from fellow reds.
Other plans for the game include the large Surfer crest banner in Stretford End Lower. Large bar scarf on pitch (as per Swansea game) & Tifo (large) flags pitchside
We would like to thank everyone in advance for joining in a creating another memorable and inspiring night at Old Trafford full of noise, passion and colour.
Bring on United, Bring on United.......
As the new season is now upon us, those who attended the Swansea game will notice that the tiers around Old Trafford have a few gaps within the banner spacing. We are now seeking to fill these gaps and to move the banners around to fill all available space within Old Trafford. In order to do this, we are seeking MANCHESTER UNITED FANS designs for a new banner or possibly 2 new banners. As with all the banners that are seen at Old Trafford, designs for these come from YOU, the fans. SEF will then gather a shortlist of the best stand out designs and these designs will then be put up for a fan vote to decide which banner gets made.
Ideally we are looking for one long banner design to fill this spacing above J-Stand
and shorter banner designs will also be considered for a 2nd banner to be used on other areas of the Old Trafford tiers.
The maximum height for any banner is 1.2 metres. All banners will be made from a stitched material and as a result any images used will need to be able to be made from stitching, as such silhouettes work best. We want the design to stand out, so designs ideally need to be different than what's already on the Old Trafford tiers, using different fonts or image designs. To ensure banners are clearly visible, reds on blacks and black on reds do not work very well.
Via our twitter page @sef_mufc and our Facebook, we have had many requests to make banners for past and current players. Calls to honour club legends such as Bobby Charlton, Jimmy Murphy and Bryan Robson have all been suggested. All banner ideas will be considered. We want as many Manchester United fans to become involved in the banner design process and in the voting and encourage all fanzine and blog sites to become involved in promoting this.
Banner designs can be uploaded to our Facebook page or emailed to JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING and we will host all designs on our Facebook page. We ideally seek an actual mock up of your design idea.
Once we have a shortlist of quality designs, we will inform you of how fans can vote on what design gets made.
Manchester United have today confirmed that the singing section will become a full time feature at Old Trafford for the start of the 2014/15 season. The section will be housed within blocks N2401 and N2402, the area known as the old J-Stand. Fans United, of which SEF are part of, are delighted that the club have decided to install the section and realise that the decision has not been taken lightly. Fans United have held over 2 years of talks with the club and during that time have been involved in 2 trials of the section during the 2013/14 season. We are all understanding that some long term season ticket holders will be required to move seats and this hasn't been a decision that has been taken without full consideration. MUFC have outlined their reasoning behind the decision here on their official website www.manutd.com
Singing Section displaying their colours at the Fulham game trial
Fans United will now consult fans over giving the section a full time name(Possibly incorporating J-stand) and losing the "singing section" working title and to add our own identity to the section. It is now down to supporters to make the section work and to bring overall acoustic benefits to the whole of Old Trafford. As was shown with the 2nd trial, the section benefited not just the areas around it, but worked in tandem with The Stretford End. For further updates follow @sef_mufc and @fansunitedmufc on twitter.
SEF hope that the section will allow for fans to bring along their own United flags and we will be speaking to MUFC about this, as well as working on ways more flags can ne in place within all of Old Trafford.
Following the success of the initial singing section trial against Real Sociedad in the Champions League, Manchester United have given permission to the fans groups behind the campaign, the go ahead to stage a 2nd trial. Fans United this week met with United officials to discuss the next singing section trial and how to take forward the prospect of a full time section for the start of the 2014/15 season.
For the Fulham Premier League home game on Sunday 9th Feb, the North/East Lower quadrant will be used to house a 2nd singing section trial. The section more affectionately known as J and K stands, will play host to 2,661 vocal United supporters, an increase on the initial 1,431 who took part in the Sociedad game trial. The 2,661 singing section seats will be located within blocks N1401, N2401, N2402 and East 239. Manchester United have been personally telephoning all season ticket holders within those seated areas to explain the circumstances and to facilitate their moves to an alternative seat.
During the study into the most effective areas to house the singing section, Manchester United commissioned an acoustics engineer, who studied the atmosphere, crowd volume and acoustics within Old Trafford. The findings of this study identified that the L-stand quadrant (Current away areas as used for the Sociedad trial) and the J/K stand quadrant were the best suited location to house a singing section. The club committed to trialling a section within both of these identified areas to determine the best possible location for a full time section. During the Sociedad game, the acoustics engineer also recorded the sound levels from the singing section and monitored the impact on other areas within Old Trafford. These sound testing trails will again be in place during the Fulham game, to monitor the impact of the singing section.
As part of our initial singing section proposal which was submitted to Manchester United in Feb 2012, we stated that the section was needed for the more low key regular Premier league games. This trial against Fulham gives the ideal opportunity to test the effectiveness of a full time singing section in improving the Old Trafford atmosphere, not just within the singing section, but within the whole of Old Trafford.
SEF as part of Fans United hope that this trial will again be an outstanding success and that it can pave the way for a full time Old Trafford singing section in time for the 2014/15 season.
United We Stand editor Andy Mitten has written this superb article explaining the singing section and its background which has today been published in the Manchester Evening News, read it HERE
We realise that supporters have several questions with regards to the singing section trial and a Frequently Asked Questions can be found by clicking the heading at the top of this article.