Manchester United supporters expressed their discontent toward the team’s US-based owners after the English giants announced they would join the now-canceled Super League.
More than a thousand fans gathered in front of Old Trafford, United’s iconic stadium, a few hours before the derby game against Liverpool on Sunday. After a hundred supporters broke the security lines and invaded the pitch two hours prior to the match, football authorities and the two clubs decided to call off the match because of security concerns.
BREAKING: Angry Manchester United fans are staging a protest against the club's owners after getting inside their Old Trafford stadium.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 2, 2021
Even though the protest was supposed to be peaceful, an officer was left with a cut on his face after being attacked with a bottle. There were also confrontations between a few fans and the police.
Not a protest. This is pure thuggery.
— Dublin Red 🔴 (@adublinredYNWA) May 2, 2021
‘Protestors became especially aggressive and antagonistic towards police’
The Greater Manchester Police tried to explain the run of events on Sunday afternoon through a statement. According to the authorities, “as the groups grew in size, it became clear that many of those present were not intending to exercise their right to peaceful protest. Flares were let off and bottles thrown at officers.”
Madness followed, as “protestors outside Old Trafford became especially aggressive and antagonistic towards police before a group of about 100 forced entry to the ground with some United staff having to lock themselves in rooms.”
The stadium invaders were removed, but incidents outside the stadium didn’t stop. Bottles were thrown at the police and their horses. Two officers were injured, “with one being attacked with a bottle and sustaining a significant slash wound to his face, requiring emergency hospital treatment.”
Additional police were deployed in the area to help regain control the situation. Incidents also took place in front of the Lawry Hotel in Salford, where United’s players were camped before leaving for the stadium.
Manchester Police assistant chief constable Russ Jackson called the behavior of the fans “reckless and dangerous,” assuring there will be a thorough investigation into all the events.
Video I shot outside Old Trafford earlier. It starts with clashes between fans and police pic.twitter.com/C4ZT2VUHZ2
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) May 2, 2021
Why are the fans so unhappy?
Two weeks ago, 12 of the biggest clubs in Europe joined forces and announced the creation of the Super League. Six of the founding members were English. The competition was planned to replace the Champions League as the main club attraction in Europe. The purpose of the league was to concentrate revenues in the hands of its members, and not those of UEFA (The European Football Association). The format of the new 20-team league would have seen the founding clubs having a permanent seat at the table.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Juventus CEO Andrea Agnelli led the revolt, but were forced to put the project on hold less than 48 hours after its unveiling. UEFA and the national leagues in England, Italy, and Spain threatened to apply unprecedented sanctions. Scared of the consequences, the English clubs apologized to their fans and announced they are out of the Super League plan. So did Inter, Milan, and Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United supporters organized protests against their clubs’ hierarchies following the Super League’s announcement.
With American owners, United, Arsenal, and Liverpool are in bigger trouble than Chelsea, Tottenham, and Manchester City. Fans are asking the billionaires who own the teams to sell immediately, saying they feel betrayed.
Significant protests taking place by 1000s of fans now outside Old Trafford against the Glazers after some got inside onto the pitch. Probably the biggest ever seen.
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) May 2, 2021