Financial situation as of 09/05/19
Breakdown of estimated costs per season
These are viewed as essential to running TRA each season:
£3000 Software development and maintenance (includes new Ticket Exchange system)
£3600 Communication (primarily SMS – the most effective communication method)
£250 Website/Forum development + hosting
£500 Venue Hire (estimated 5 times per season)
£1000 Legal (accounts, solicitor)
Introducing a membership fee seems to be the fairest method of financing TRA going forward. Currently we rely entirely on donations and whilst these will still be very welcome, it is unreasonable to expect a minority to be effectively supporting the majority of TRA members.
Our estimated annual costs are approximately £8350 (known costs) and we currently have £6454 available meaning that we have a projected deficit of £1896.
However, we would naturally prefer to leave the donations that have been made aside for use with any additional costs as they present themselves.
£8350 Estimated annual costs
1600 Paid up members
£5 Required membership fee to cover costs
Who should pay
We would like to keep this fee as low as possible and make it free for anyone under the age of 16.
TRA are making every effort to provide special consideration for young fans and we want to encourage them to be the next generation of Reds who inherit a loud and vibrant Old Trafford. This is why we believe under 16s should not have to pay a TRA membership fee.
At the end of each season we intend to publish the current balance and spend. In addition, any balance in excess of £1000 will be considered for use in other areas and all paid up TRA members will be able to vote on how this money is used (flags, end of season do etc.)
We asked all 3500 TRA members to provide feedback to us on whether they would be comfortable paying a membership fee to help with running costs, these are the results:
765 Total number of responses
737 (96%) Number of TRA members in favour of a membership fee
28 (4%) Number of TRA members against a membership fee
£20 (244 times) Most common suggested membership fee
£2 Lowest suggested membership fee
£120 Highest suggested membership fee
765 is a large number of responses and can be judged as representative of TRA membership overall.
Clearly the vast majority of members are in favour or at least comfortable with the idea of an annual, paid membership. However, in the interest of fairness below are the comments from those members who stated they were against a membership fee. We have attempted to answer their comments as fairly as possible:
"Younger fans like myself already struggle to pay for season tickets/away matches, any more costs may turn people away"
This is one of the reasons that we would like it to be free for under 16s. Our membership fee would most likely cost roughly the price of a pint, hopefully this is affordable to everyone when spread over an entire season.
"Whilst I understand funding is needed to help maintain your site I believe the fan should not have to stump up. This should be the club. Alternatively rather than pay a fee you could do fundraising events. This in my opinion will alienate some fans who maybe cannot afford to pay, we already pay enough to watch Utd as it is."
Asking Utd to pay or to accept sponsorship would remove our independence and leave us open to potential accountability to Utd/3rd party sponsors.
Relying on fundraising is unfair on those who donate as can be clearly demonstrated with our last donation request where only 16% of members donated, meaning 84% of members were relying on their generosity to apply for & use Utd Rd/L-Stand this season.
"We pay enough for our tickets"
Everyone is in the same boat and we feel that the membership fee would be small enough to be affordable for everyone.
"Unsure where my money is actually going"
Hopefully this will clear that up for everyone.
"The TRA is a great idea and has done excellently so far but with everyone agreeing football is already expensive enough, asking for a membership fee doesn’t seem appropriate or right. A voluntary donation towards running costs is perfectly acceptable but a mandatory fee is not. We all care about the club, probably too much, hence the feeling that the club has us by the balls. I would hate for anyone to accuse the TRA of similar actions."
We’ve hopefully already explained why relying on donations is unworkable & unfair and by maintaining our independence from the Club & Sponsors we can remain entirely self-funded & independent.
This next one is a long one so we’ll answer one point at a time:
"This is a ridiculous idea. If you require funds then raise them on a donation basis for a specific event. I don't think there's enough trust in TRA for people not to question how the money is being spent."
Hopefully those questions have been answered already.
"More than one ST per family, means more subs to pay, maybe one per family?"
We did consider a Group membership fee but it proved unworkable due to differing group sizes, however under 16s will be free.
"I already pay enough to the club in season ticket fees. The game already takes enough out of fan’s pockets. For the fan groups to also then start taking from the fans...where does the paying out stop? Even for something (like yourselves) that’s at the better end of the ‘honest cause’ spectrum, it just feels like the sport is always looking for the next way it can exploit fans. Surely there’s more legwork to be put in looking for ways you can continue to do such an excellent job without having the people you represent supplement TRA?"
We don’t see this as any form of exploitation, we’re merely asking for anyone who is benefiting from using TRA’s system to pay their own small contribution towards the running of it.
"Happy to take part in trials or move to a vocal section, but not interested in other service"
The trials & vocal sections are precisely the services a membership fee would be required for.
"Because its currently already an exclusive club for members without a pay wall. You'll be excluding new and young members."
We don’t think so, £5 is the cost of a pint and under 16s will be free. Hopefully that will actually encourage new & particularly young Reds to join TRA.