In recent months, the Disabled Supporters Association (DSA) has been relaunched here at Manchester City.

The DSA exists to represent and support all disabled Manchester City fans, regardless of their disability or their location.

The group was originally founded in 1999 and the recent relaunch comes ahead of their 25th anniversary this year.

More about our Disabled Supporters Association

As part of the Level Playing Field’s Unite For Access campaign, we sat down with Howard Cohen, Chairman of the DSA, to find out more about the association and his experience leading the group.

Howard, can you tell us about your life as a Manchester City fan?

“I was born into a City-supporting family and have been attending matches, as a Season Ticket Holder, since I was a small child. I was born with a degenerative neuro-muscular condition, which has got steadily worse over the years.

“So, I have been attending as a wheelchair user for the last few seasons. I’m old enough to have seen the great Colin Bell play and to have seen Manchester City at Wembley in 1974, 1976 and 1981, as well as all the more recent successes!

“I have lived all over the country and around the world, including 10 years in Budapest, Hungary, but always kept my season ticket and got to most home games and some away games during that time. 

“In the 1990s I was one of the founders of City’s International Supporters’ Club, bringing together fans from around the world, in the very early days of the internet.

“I have always been actively involved in supporters’ groups and, in 2003, was one of the trustees of the Marc Vivien Foé Memorial Fund, which raised money, in memory of the former City midfielder, for youth sports projects in Cameroon. 

“I met my late partner, Sarah-Liza, through a City fans’ group online too and attended most games with her until she passed away recently. We plan to scatter her ashes in the memorial garden in the spring.”

How have you found the experience of re-establishing the DSA?

“It has been a very rewarding experience, meeting and working with so many amazing people.

“Our secretary, Sandra Valentine, has been immense in the work she has put in to get the whole thing moving again and to keep on top of all the correspondence. We couldn’t have done it without her.”

What have been the highlights of the first 12 months?

“Our members’ meetings are always a highlight, both for the connection with members and the opportunities to meet up with our guest speakers, such as Joe Corrigan, Nedum Onuoha, David White and Les Chapman.

“The biggest highlights have been the changes we have worked with the club on for fans, such as the improvements to matchday parking and the production of a new anti-discrimination video, which now includes disability.”

What is the priority of the DSA going forward?

“The priority now is to grow our membership and increase our connections and communication with disabled fans, so that we can really press on with working to improve facilities and services for disabled fans, both home and away.

“We are conscious that there are thousands of disabled fans who are not aware of our existence.”

How can Manchester City fans get involved with the DSA?

“Membership remains free of charge for the remainder of this season and will only be a small nominal fee next season.

“Just email us on: [email protected] to join our mailing list. We will also be looking for volunteers to join our committee from the start of next season, so please let us know also if you might be interested in that too.”

Level Playing Field is a registered charity in England and Wales, and acts as an advisory organisation to its membership and other parties across all sports.

The organisation is working to remove the barriers that disabled people may currently face.

From 24 February to 10 March, Level Playing Fields is celebrating Unite for Access, an annual period of inspiration and celebration of good access and inclusion at sports venues.

To find out more about all the accessible facilities at Manchester City, you can visit our access portal here.

For more information about the DSA, you can visit our dedicated website link.