Flares and anger filled Manchester skies as United fans staged another protest ahead of the rescheduled game with Liverpool in which at least two arrests were made, with Gary Neville claiming that security arrangements had turned Old Trafford into a “prison”.
The club erected barricades to protect the land and there was a visibly heavier police and security presence that ensured that those who gathered to voice their opposition to the Glazer family property were kept at arm’s length and channeled as they moved through the venue.
Neville, a former United captain who was inside Old Trafford as a Sky Sports expert, was scathing about the arrangements. “Let’s be clear, what we have seen before on that esplanade is that Manchester United was effectively turned into a prison, it is a devastating image for the Manchester United football club brand around the world, just notice that,” he said. “You have to build prison walls around your land and have hundreds and hundreds of police officers in a game where the fans don’t attend; something has gone very wrong. “
Those who gathered on the esplanade outside the stadium and tried to intercept the team’s coaches on the way hoped to stop the game again after the original match was called off on Sunday, May 2 after some people stormed the stadium and they will enter the field. , with a police officer being stabbed amid an outbreak of violence.
However, as flares were extinguished and what may have been a Liverpool team decoy bus was portrayed after being stopped, each side arrived at Old Trafford just before 7pm. The protesters had initially arrived at 6 p.m. on the esplanade outside the East Stand and then, 45 minutes later, moved to the rear of the stadium to try to prevent coaches from entering the John Gilbert Way. There was a police cordon that detained the protesters who were released when the United and Liverpool teams were safely inside.
Roy Keane, another former United captain who also participated in the game as a Sky Sports expert, believes the protests will continue. Manchester United fans are not done with this. We saw some protests a few weeks ago but I think there is still a lot to come, ”he said. “The concern is that when the fans can return to the stadium, there may be 70,000 fans showing up at Old Trafford, frustrated by what happened. Things can get a lot worse. “
Greater Manchester Police stated that two arrests related to public order offenses had been made and Chris Sykes, GMP’s Assistant Police Chief, issued a statement.
“We have been working closely with Manchester United and our partners to ensure that attendees outside the stadium are kept safe while exercising their right to a peaceful protest,” he said. “The safety of all stakeholders remains GMP’s top priority. We encourage everyone to remember that we are still living under restrictions due to the pandemic and we have a collective responsibility to remain safe and protect each other. Law enforcement remains our last resort, but anyone whose behavior crosses the line and becomes a crime must expect to be prosecuted. “
Protesters the Guardian spoke to expressed frustration at the Glazers, whose leveraged buyout in 2005 saddled United with £ 455 million in debt. Adam Ali, 24, of Oldham, said: “We want to make it clear that they can’t come here, put our club in debt and get away with it. The Glazers need to leave our club now. I don’t support violence, but it would be great if they canceled the game. It’s the only way they’ll listen. “
Many of the attendees wore green and gold, the colors of Newton Heath, the original club from which United emerged. Margaret Wallis, 81, of Salford, said: “The green and gold is about getting United back to where we were. It’s a message to the Glazers: ‘Sell out and get out of my club.’
As chants of “We want Glazers out” and “Love United, I hate Glazers” ran through, the crowd was notably depressed at the news that the game was taking place.
Mark Slater, 69, of Rochdale, said: “We are here to resist the start as it is taking our club’s heartbeat away. I was part of the campaign in 2005. [when the Glazers took over]. We have protested politely and politely ever since, but enough is enough. Owners like the Glazers despise the fans, the lifeblood of the club. It is time for us to get our club back. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism