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By ESPN Staff

Old Trafford money men hike ticket prices

Manchester United have confirmed they will increase season ticket prices by £1 a game next term.

While many clubs have reduced prices to attract more cash-strapped fans at a time of a global economic crisis, United once again feel confident about bucking the trend because they are still turning away an average of almost 5,500 fans per game.

Fans' groups are not too impressed with the rises, which take the cost of a ticket to a top-price £49. The cheapest ticket at Old Trafford will be £27.

However, United feel the continued clamour to watch Sir Alex Ferguson's men - average Premier League attendances this season are 75,299 - is justified.

"We are still turning away over 5,000 people per game on average and we believe it represents good value for money," said a United spokesman.

Earlier this month, the Glazer family revealed debts of £650million.

Since then the OFT have refused to ask United to scrap their automatic cup scheme, meaning fans who do decide to purchase a season ticket - which will be reduced in number - are again committed to purchasing tickets for all cup games, apart from the Carling Cup.

In addition, the decision of the Treasury to refuse to acknowledge tickets purchased last year should be reduced because of the mid-season cut in VAT has effectively meant supporters have felt no benefit, other than with their cup purchases.

United claim they are 'highly unlikely' to add the additional 59 pence to a £27 ticket when VAT returns to its previous 17.5% level on December 31, although supporters' groups remain unimpressed.

"It has been said in the past that the owners of the club will squeeze United supporters until the pips squeak and this is clearly the case," said Sean Bones, vice-chairman of the Manchester United Supporters Trust.

"Earlier in the year, the government gave a 2.5% reduction on the price of VAT on tickets.

"The Glazers have absorbed this benefit and added more increases on top."

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