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By ESPN Staff

Man Utd announce huge season-ticket sales

Manchester United have defied their critics by recording massive season-ticket sales for the coming campaign.

With the Sunday evening deadline for sales fast approaching, the Red Devils claim the existing number of tickets sold, including those in executive areas at Old Trafford, has now reached 64,000.

When the normal allocation reserved for away supporters is included, it would take the club to within touching distance of the 67,500 capacity of previous campaigns. Capacity now stands at 76,000 with the opening of new quadrants.

The impressive sales figure, way in excess of any other Premiership club's ground capacity, has come in the face of continued opposition among more militant groups of United fans to the ownership of Malcolm Glazer.

Chants against Glazer have been heard at most United pre-season games since they returned from last month's tour of South Africa, although the feeling inside Old Trafford is that the worst is now over and the club can start to move forward with increasing confidence under their new owners.

'This is fantastic news,' said a club spokesman.

'We have almost sold as many tickets for every game before the start of the season than we had as an entire capacity last year.

'It is a record figure, not just for us but for English football as a whole and something we are very proud of.

'It shows that United fans are continuing to support the team at Old Trafford in huge numbers.'

Supporters who want season tickets but fail to meet Sunday's deadline will be placed on the waiting list created by the club when they confirmed they were launching a special one-year season ticket earlier in the summer.

However, it seems doubtful such hefty support will translates into a healthy gate for Saturday's friendly with Sevilla.

Having tried, and failed, to attract Barcelona and Real Madrid for the game, which officially opens the new quadrants, and with Italian football in chaos following the match-fixing scandal, United were forced to plump for last season's UEFA Cup winners as their `big-name' opposition.

But it appears the United support have been unimpressed by the choice of opponent and, like most clubs, Old Trafford's capacity is not likely to be tested.