Thursday, June 24, 2021

Manchester United v Liverpool on schedule despite fresh fans protests

SoccerNews in English Premier League 13 May 2021

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Manchester United’s rescheduled Premier League clash with Liverpool is set to go ahead on time after renewed fan protests were effectively controlled.

The sides’ original meeting on Sunday, May 2 was called off after supporters broke into Old Trafford and stormed the pitch as part of protests against United’s ownership.

Several police officers were injured during the ensuing clashes, which forced the postponement of the game on safety grounds.

However, the rearranged fixture looks likely to go ahead after United, along with local police, took steps to prepare for fresh protests taking place on Thursday evening.

Barriers were erected around Old Trafford to prevent fans from entering, while the United players arrived individually by car earlier in the day before taking a pre-match nap at the stadium.

Liverpool, meanwhile, sent a decoy coach that was momentarily blocked by a group of fans, but ultimately arrived at a side of the ground clear of supporters and without issue.

As such, it is currently expected that the game will kick off on time (8.15pm GMT).

United’s American owners have been the target of renewed ire from fans in the aftermath of failed plans to join a breakaway Super League alongside the Premier League’s ‘big six’.

Consequently, United legend Roy Keane does not expect supporter anger at the Glazers to subside any time soon.

He told Sky Sports: “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. 

“The concern is that when the fans can come back to the stadium, you could have 70,000 fans showing up at Old Trafford, frustrated with what happened. Things can get much worse.”

Keane’s former United team-mate, Gary Neville, believes the ongoing protests are serving to damage the club’s brand, which in turn should hurt the Glazers.

He said: “Let’s be clear, what we’ve seen on that forecourt before which is effectively Man United turned into a prison, it’s a devastating image for the Manchester United Football Club brand around the world, let’s just note that. 

“You have to put prison walls up around your ground and have hundreds and hundreds of police officers on a game where fans aren’t attending, there is something that has gone badly wrong.”

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