A wide-ranging protest which saw hundreds of irate Manchester United supports invade Old Trafford in opposition to at the handling of the club by the Glazer family has led to Sunday’s game with Liverpool being called off.
Old Trafford has seen many infamous incidents on its turf over the years, but perhaps nothing quite like this, hours after incredible scenes inside one of the cathedrals of English football saw hundreds of supporters force their way into the stadium as a riposte to the unpopular ownership of the club led by the Glazer family.
Supporters also congregated outside The Lowry Hotel where United’s players were staying, reportedly blocking buses containing Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side from departing.
Tensions had been bubbling under for several years among the fanbase of the famous club, but the Glazers’ decision to undersign their support for the tremendously unpopular, and now likely defunct, Super League has prompted fan fury not seen in the English game for some time, first delaying and then postponing Sunday’s encounter with Liverpool.
“Following discussion between the Police, the Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed due to safety and security considerations around the protest today,” Manchester United said in a statement released shortly after 6.30pm local time, and more than an hour after the initial kick-off time.
“Discussions will now take place with the Premier League on a revised date for the fixture.
“Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest.
“However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.”
In a separate statement, the Premier League said that the postponement of the game was a joint decision from both clubs, the Premier League and the local police.
“This is a collective decision from the police, both clubs, the Premier League and local authorities,” the statement read.
“The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance.
“We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated Covid-19 breaches.
“Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification. We sympathize with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football.
“The rearrangement of the fixture will be communicated in due course.”