Manchester United tighten up security around Old Trafford as heavy police presence deters protesters ahead of game with Leicester just 10 days after Liverpool clash was called off due to stadium invasion
- Man United tighten up security around Old Trafford ahead of their clash vs Foxes
- A heavy police presence was seen around the ground hours before kick-off
- It comes a week after fans broke into Old Trafford to protest the Glazer family
- Angry supporters broke into the ground and set off flares and smoke-bombs
- The protest before a clash with Liverpool led to the game’s postponement
Manchester United have beefed up security ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash with Leicester after a heavy police presence was seen outside of Old Trafford ahead of the 6pm kick-off.
It is the first game back at Old Trafford since angry United supporters broke into the ground to protest the owners, the Glazers, which led to the club’s Premier League clash with Liverpool to be called off as a result.
Campaigners have warned that more demonstrations could be planned, and United are taking no chances after a number of ugly incidents last week which violent clashes with police officers and unrest outside the Lowry Hotel where the players were staying.
A heavy police presence is seen outside of Old Trafford ahead of Manchester United’s Premier League clash against Leicester City
Police patrol the stadium just 10 days after a peaceful protest by fans was marred by violence
United have called on extra security to deter protesters from gathering outside the ground
And in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the violent demonstrations 10 days ago, United have called on extra security to deter protesters from gathering again tonight.
A 10ft high red wall has also been erected at the south-east corner of the stadium – where protesters twice broke in and got onto the pitch – as well the north forecourt in front of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. Additional steel barriers have also been put in place as part of the heightened security operation.
Having prepared for a peaceful protest last time out which then descended into violence, the club are now trying to ensure that their three remaining home games of the season go ahead safely.
A steward stands by one of the many steel barriers outside Old Trafford in place to deter fans
Police from Wales were called upon to help prevent disorder ahead of tonight’s game
Police and stewards stand by temporary barriers surrounding Old Trafford on Tuesday evening
Just hours before kicking off against Leicester, police were seen patrolling outside the ground while extra steel barriers were put in place to prevent disorder.
It comes as a result of furious fans expressing their rage against owners the Glazers who became incensed by the announcement of the European Super League last month, which included United as one of the founding members.
Hundreds of supporters forced their way inside the historic stadium and made their way onto the turf and across the stands in a show of rebellion against the way they feel the club is being run.
Greater Manchester Police, who had the final say on the postponement of the game, later confirmed that two officers had been injured in the surrounding protests, with one being ‘attacked with a bottle and sustaining a significant slash wound to his face, requiring emergency hospital treatment.’
Multiple police vans are parked inside the stadium’s carpark ahead of tonight’s kick-off
The mob of intruders at the stadium are thought to have gained access to Old Trafford through the Munich Tunnel, pushing down barriers despite security guards’ attempts to stop them.
Some of the crowd kicked footballs that had been set up for the game while wearing green and gold scarves, which have become emblematic of the anti-Glazer movement as the colours of Newton Heath – the predecessor club to United.
There were clashes as the angry protestors tried to break police lines outside the stadium, with officers drawing batons to keep the crowds back and bottles and other projectiles thrown.
Supporters and police clashed in violent scenes outside Old Trafford in the build up to United’s Premier League clash with Liverpool earlier in May
Hundreds of Manchester United fans stormed the pitch ahead of the match against Liverpool
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called for calm following the ugly scenes at the start of the month, asking fans to keep the peace if they are to protest and make their voices heard once again.
The United boss said: ‘Security measures are being looked at, of course, and I hope that we can keep the protests – if there are protests – down to loud voices, nothing violent.
‘We want to listen. The players want to play the game. We play Liverpool. Of course we want to beat Liverpool, we want to beat Leicester.
‘So, we’re going to do everything we can for our fans to celebrate what we’re doing on the pitch.’
The Glazer family, United’s owners, signed the club up to the European Super League in April
The crowd breached the Old Trafford perimeter before lighting smoke flares and chanting
Invaders waved banners against the Glazers and seized footballs and corner flags from the turf
United were one of six Premier League clubs enlisted in the doomed Super League project last month, withdrawing 48 hours later following a furious backlash from the public, including club legends such as Gary Neville.
Joel Glazer subsequently apologised, but the many placards visibly criticising him during the day of turmoil were a clear display that those words fell on deaf ears.
United are also due to face Fulham in their final Premier League home game of the season on May 18.
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