Manchester United's innovative attempts to improve Old Trafford atmosphere a step in the right direction
The Theatre of Dreams.
It's always had a mystique to it. Yes, the Theatre of Dreams. For fans of a certain vintage, Old Trafford really was the place where dreams were realised. Premier League titles, the Class of '92 and all that.
Recently, though, since the Old Trafford kingdom lost its ruler in 2013, the theatre's productions have not captured the fans' imaginations quite in the same way.
Not by a long shot.
David Moyes brought his tragicomedy to town after Alex Ferguson pulled the curtain down on his 27-year reign. Moyes' freakshow lasted eight months before a famous actor from the halcyon 90s era made a brief cameo.
Passing Ryan Giggs over, the United hierarchy instead placed their faith in Louis van Gaal, the curious Dutchman being anointed as the man to make the Theatre of Dreams a happy place once again.
It didn't quite work out and, despite the extravagant amount of funds pumped into the squad under Jose Mourinho, Old Trafford is still in need of a facelift, a jolt to the system, something at least.
But rejoice, United fans, as the club has listened.
According to The Telegraph, United will try to improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford by introducing heavily discounted season ticket prices for 18-25 year-olds.
Moving the singing section to where away fans are usually placed has worked wonders for the atmosphere in Old Trafford.
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James Ducker writes that "fans in that age category sat in what is traditionally regarded as the loudest section of the ground will pay £285 for a season ticket, almost half the cost of the cheapest adult season ticket."
£285 for a season ticket at Old Trafford? That is most reasonable. Especially when you see how much some of the adult season tickets can set you back.
In another piece of welcome news, United have chosen to freeze season ticket prices for the seventh year in a row.
It comes following criticism from Mourinho, who unflatteringly compared Old Trafford to Portsmouth's Fratton Park, a small stadium renowned for comfortably putting its big cousins to shame with the volume generated from the club's passionate supporters.
But this is definitely a good thing for United fans. The club's hierarchy has listened to the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) and identified a way in which they can raise the decibels inside one of the world's most iconic sporting arenas.
“We welcome the precedent of a new 18-25 ticket price," MUST said in a statement. "While this is only available in a small area for now, it starts to demonstrate an understanding that groups of young adults have felt priced out in the past, particularly at the transition point from youth to full adult pricing.”
It is a step in the right direction but it is just that: a step. MUST are hoping that their other requests will be granted, including the relocation of executive fans and part of the family stand to make room for extra seats in the Stretford End.
With a capacity of 75,000, Old Trafford is up there with the mightiest of footballing coliseums. However, the contrast between recent matches there and somewhere like Borussia Dortmund's breathtaking Signal Iduna Park has been undeniably stark.
While it would be fantasy to suggest that Old Trafford will match up to Europe's loudest merely by lowering the price of season tickets for the younger folk, this is an encouraging and long overdue measure.
Such progressive thinking has to be married with a more attractive product on the pitch, of course. The most effective way to bring the noise to Old Trafford is by playing better football. Let's hope that starts on Saturday afternoon when United welcome Swansea City.