A section of Manchester United fans are unhappy with the club after tablets and laptops were banned from being brought into the stadium in an airport-style security clampdown.
An official statement from United cited security reasons as the cause for the ban on the electronic devices last Wednesday.
The statement read: “In line with UK airports we are reacting to the latest security intelligence. These actions are designed to ensure the continued safety and security of all spectators.”
But some fans believe this is not the real reason and have questioned why the club has not been more open about its intentions.
“It just doesn’t seem to add up,” Manchester United Supporters Trust vice-chair Ian Stirling told MM.
“From what they say the devices and reason why they have banned them is they pose a security risk for supporters.
“But I rather suspect this isn’t the reason because I can’t see what that risk would be.”
The 48-year-old believes that the ban could also centre on some fans possible filming large portions of the game on the internet or that the devices may interfere with fans’ views while at the game.
“There are three issues, maybe it is a security issue or maybe it is to protect their image rights and I can understand them but this is not the right way to go about it,” added Mr Stirling.
“It might also be because it interferes with how fans view the game but it just doesn’t seem to add up.”
The Old Trafford club have become the first Premier League side to initiate a ban of this kind.
Other items such as water bottles in excess of 500ml, baby buggies, camcorders, large umbrellas, flags or banners greater than 2m x 1m and telescopic or long-lens cameras are also banned from being brought into the stadium.
However, smartphones are still permitted as long as their dimensions are smaller than 15cm by 10cm (5.9in by 3.9in).
The move comes as the Premier League have announced they will be cracking down on fans posting unofficial videos of goals online this season.
Thousands of uploads were posted onto social media during the World Cup but the Premier League have warned fans not to do this as it is copyrighted material and therefore illegal.
Mr Stirling believes that the ban at United could only be the start as other clubs could also do the same as stadium restrictions become ever tighter.
“Other clubs could put it in place but it all depends on what effect this has on the fans going to the match,” he said.
“We started on the slippery slope a long time ago with restrictions in stadiums such as by ejecting people if they stand up, which happens quite a bit.
“This is actually only a small part of it in general by not allowing people to film on devices in the ground.”
In 2010, the New York Yankees banned iPads from their stadium but they reversed the decision two years later.
The ban has not involved the Premier League or Greater Manchester Police.
Some fans took to social media about their disappointment at the decision.
One user, Mike Curtis, posted: “Bloody stupid by the club.
“I think this change in policy is not only ridiculous but is actually making me consider me handing back my season ticket in protest at the completely idiotic change that had not been discussed or commented on prior to the season ticket renewals.”
Another user said: “Manchester United ban tablets. They must be going intravenous.”
Manchester United ban tablets. They must be going intravenous
— Mike Adams (@vayerism) August 14, 2014
Strange tech ban @ManUtd do realise that smartphones are getting bigger & bet it doesn’t apply to corporate hospitality
— Paresh (@Dapper_p) August 13, 2014
However some fans were in support of the ban, with one user posting: “Manchester United are absolutely right to ban tablets and laptops from Old Trafford, can’t believe some people have been taking them in.”
@ManUtd absolutely right to ban tablets and laptops from Old Trafford, can’t believe some people have been taking them in!
— Ben Crooks (@liverpoolrover) August 13, 2014
been reading about the tablet ban at @ManUtd It puzzles me why people use them to film/record when the quailty is really rubbish
— Shadow Razor (@Shadowrazor2) August 14, 2014
Mr Stirling added that he didn’t have a direct problem with the ban, so long as the convenience of fans and match day experience was not compromised.
“I wouldn’t say it isn’t a loss to the game but it is what inconvenience it might place on supporters,” he said.
“We don’t know if there is going to be anywhere for them to store the devices if they bring them, as a lot of people might travel straight from work and need to bring them.
“We also don’t know how this will affect how quickly people can get into the ground.
“Then there is the question of, if they are a security risk, how will that pose a threat to staff at the stadium if they are stored?”
Main image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks.