Given the sheer number of Manchester United fans that we see all over India, just two “official” fan clubs in the country, seems to be a really low number. One of the barriers may be awareness about how to transform a bunch of informal club junkies into an official fan club.
So if you want to know how you could set up an official supporters club in your city, here are some how-tos from someone closely involved in setting up the fan club. And you don’t have to be a Manchester United supporter to find this useful; there’s valuable inputs here for fans of all clubs.
A. Supporters clubs are an excellent way of meeting like-minded people devoted to following the same club. There are more than 200 officially recognized branches of the MUSC in 24 countries. Your club will be added to that list.
There is quite a lot of pride involved with getting the official status. You get to see your club listed on the Manchester United website. To add to it, your club will get letter officially signed by the manager of the club, congratulating you and welcoming you to the family.
Members of your supporters club are given preference when purchasing match tickets to go and watch Manchester United play live. Perfect, if one or more of them are traveling to England for education, work or on a holiday.
Trophy tours and player visits! [In the picture below] Members from MUSC Mumbai were greeted by ex-United player Dwight Yorke and the Premier League Trophy as part of the Asian leg of the trophy tour.
- Firstly, you need to form a club. A group of people, friends and acquaintances who regularly get together to watch games or talk about matters at the club through social media or in person. A Facebook page is a good place to start.
- You need to get 50 of your group members to become One United Members. OUM is a paid membership that costs INR 4500/- per head and can be signed up to on the Man Utd website.
- As your group increases in size it is advisable that you start assigning people responsibilities, for example, nominate a president, have a social media manager, etc. This will come in handy because a requirement from the club is that you need to have an organized working committee with a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer when you apply for an official status.
- Once you have all this in place, you will need to send an email to the club requesting them to consider your application to become official. As part of the application, a written portfolio needs to be drafted and sent to the Ticketing & Membership Service
The portfolio should include: the history behind your club, details on your committee and the committee members, and why you want to become an official club.
After a week or two the club should get back to you and you will be assigned a point of contact with the football club. He/she will be the person you will have any further dialogues with, and they will guide you through the process until the end.
- We tied up with a pub to have a place for screening the games regularly. That has been key in helping us build and grow the community.
- I would also recommend having working members to help out. We have a PR Head, Event Coordinator, and a Social Media Manager.
A. The ground work took 8 months to complete. But two weeks after the application was sent, our official status was confirmed via email from Manchester United. Our club was then added to the list of official supporters clubs across the world on the Man Utd website.
A. It started as group of friends watching a United game together in a pub. We knew that there were a number of Manchester United fan groups spread across every corner of Bangalore who gathered in separate places to watch the match.
So we connected with other fellow Red Devils through Whatsapp Groups, Twitter and Facebook. “Manchester United Fans Club Bangalore” group was founded with a single motto, to unite all Manchester United fans in Bangalore under a single banner.
A. Getting all United fans under one roof itself was a huge challenge. We started off with a Facebook page, then we searched for a place to screen games regularly. This was the main challenge, because we had to try out with lot of pubs and sports bars in Bangalore. After a many token screenings at different locations, we found a place — Vapour in Indira Nagar, that gave us the opportunity to screen games permanently.
We have college students, single working people, and family men coming with their wives and children. If I were to split them it would be 40 college students, 40 single working people and about 20 married people.
If you are from Bangalore and didn’t know about MUSCB, register on their website www.manutdbangalore.com, and check them out on Facebook and Twitter.