Disabled fans upset by Sheffield United move

Some of the members of the Sheffield United Disabled Supporters' Club.
Some of the members of the Sheffield United Disabled Supporters' Club.
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DISABLED Sheffield United supporters claim they are being snubbed by the club they love.

The fans are angry after being told by the club they can no longer have the use of a room at Bramall Lane on matchdays, although the club said it had offered an alternative venue.

Members of the Blades United Disabled Supporters’ Club and the Sheffield United Disabled Supporters Club have used the same room, in the rear of the John Street Stand, rent-free for the past nine years – about 75 disabled people and their carers meet there every matchday.

However, the groups have now been told the room is being leased to another party – and the news has led to accusations the club is putting profits before people.

John Johnson, BUDS spokesman, who has been supporting the Blades for 63 years, said the decision has caused members of the club great distress.

He said: “These people are some of the most dedicated supporters Sheffield United has, yet have been informed they are being pushed to one side for commercial purposes.

“There was no notice given, no alternative discussed, just a case of you can get out.

“The news left fans, some of whom are very vulnerable, visibly upset. We realise the club needs money, but they could have talked to us.”

But Dave McCarthy, Blades operations director, said the club were doing all they could to accommodate their disabled fans.

He said: “We have alternative plans for the community hall which is currently underused, apart from the three hours on a home matchday when it is utilised by disabled fans.

“As part of our discussions and dialogue, we have offered members of the disabled supporters’ groups an alternative venue, just 50 yards away at the S2 bar.

“And our supporters liaison officer is working on how they can continue to enjoy the benefits we have offered them for the past nine years, which has included reduced priced tickets, donation of merchandise for fundraising and supporting annual events.

“Sheffield United has a healthy relationship with our disabled supporters, which has included helping to raise £15,000 to ensure SUDS member Karl Darby could return to live at home, and we intend to maintain the rapport with our disabled fanbase.”