They entered through an entrance next to the Munich tunnel, a symbol of Manchester United’s tragic but eternal connection to the European Cup.
The Glazer family’s failed attempt to cut that link with the ridiculous European Super League was just one of the reasons why supporters felt compelled to vent their anger outside Old Trafford on Sunday and somehow took to the pitch – which is more than can be said for the players of United and Liverpool.
How did it happen? How did a planned protest under a heavy security presence reach fans on the playing surface, who kicked the match balls, grabbed the corner flags, hurled torches at the Sky Sports TV portal, and eventually clashed with police on the street outside?
Manchester United fans stormed Old Trafford and forced Liverpool to cancel the game
Supporters reached the Old Trafford field to show their frustration with the Glazers
More than a thousand of them had gathered in front of Old Trafford before the 2:00 pm protest. A little less than the 10,000 mentioned, but still a significant number, and ultimately enough to force this game to be postponed.
They came to both ends of Sir Busby Way, past the anti-Glazer banners and the men selling green and gold T-shirts with the message ‘United Against Greed’.
Some came with young children who seemed strange at the time and completely inappropriate in light of what happened next.
Fans gathered around the Holy Trinity statue of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton in front of the Megastore and there was already a hint of threat in the air.
A HISTORY WITH PROBLEMS
Manchester United have been embarrassed by a series of burglaries over the past five years.
The club’s last home game of the 2015-16 season against Bournemouth had to be postponed after a bomb threat, but the aircraft turned out to be a dummy, left behind after training.
In November 2016 Sportsmail revealed that two fans had broken into Old Trafford, slipped after a stadium tour and slept the night at the Theater of Dreams, before attending the next day’s game against Arsenal.
In 2018, a pitch intruder snuck toy guns into the ground, and a year later the club was thrown by a coroner after lifelong fan John Whale, 80, died after falling from stairs to the floor after his path was to an exit. blocked by stewards.
Questions are being asked about what the latest breach means for Controlled Solutions Group (CSG), United’s much-maligned security company that has been operating since 2012.
Fans of all ages showed up, but the mood changed as emotions ran high
“Joel Glazer is dying,” they sang as the red smoke from torches began to drift across the square to the thin cordon of police in front of the ground.
“I don’t know how we kill him, cut him up from head to toe, all I know is that Glazer is going to die.”
Some of the camera crews filming the protest songs were overloaded with beer as the numbers grew and emotions ran high.
A few loud bangs signaled the official start of the protest and fans immediately began to walk towards the stadium, towards the steel gates of the Munich tunnel and just a few meters from where United executives normally Enter Old Trafford.
More torches, more chanting as those at the front started pulling at the closed gates.
They forced open a door in the southwest corner of the stadium that is used as an entrance for medical personnel, even though one of the first protesters went through Sportsmail he was amazed how easy it was to enter. “They weren’t trying to stop us,” he said.
There was a lot of provocation, but the police and the stewards did nothing. Obviously, that was their intention.
Fans found it easy to get through security and riot at the Old Trafford stadium
Although fans managed to get to easy access, the police were forced to fight back to push them out
‘You could have gone anywhere – it was weird. People entered the players tunnel and had the corner flags and match balls. Anything that would move. Afterwards, the police just led us out, it was all a bit unreal. ‘
Aside from turning on the sprinklers to drench the intruders, there was little resistance from the police or the club at that stage.
Many fans entered the field through the disabled section, others slid past the tarpaulins covering the empty seats.
Some jumped on the goal posts and a man was knocked off the crossbar by another protester who kicked a ball into the top corner.
They lit flares and tossed one that fell just behind the pundits, Micah Richards, Roy Keane and Graeme Souness, in Sky’s outdoor studio.
At a time when Covid-free bubbles around footballers were vital to the Premier League playing through the pandemic, it had become a nightmare scenario for the game organizers. This was a major security breach and there was now serious doubt about the match.
Once they stormed the field, the invaders began to cause chaos when the sprinklers turned on
Half an hour later, the field intruders emerged victorious from the stadium’s rear exit, hurried through security and applauded every step of the way from fans who had gathered there to try and block the team buses.
A few more reentered the field after kicking the glass door of the disabled elevator, and were also welcomed by a heroes when they marched out through the gate half an hour later.
A police van and eight other officers were deployed there to ensure the safe passage of the buses that never arrived.
It was already known that a more hardcore group of 200 fans had gathered at the Lowry Hotel to stop United’s players from leaving for the game, and there had been clashes with the police there.
It also got dirty again at the main entrance of Old Trafford. The protesters had been drinking for several hours now and started throwing bottles and even metal safety barriers at the police who had been very reluctant until then.
United players watched from their hotel rooms as fans gathered outside their Lowry Hotel
While the protest turned sour on points, United fans certainly got their point
Maybe too much. A police helicopter appeared only halfway through the protest, and despite the large number of Tactical Aid Unit vans, the officers were not wearing body armor or helmets. Faced with an increasingly unruly mob, they decided to advance in two rows with batons drawn, splitting the protesters in two and forcing them to return to Sir Matt Busby Way in opposite directions.
The fans reacted angrily as others, including members of the media, were caught in the crossfire. More bottles were thrown and skirmishes broke out at both ends of the road as two separate stand-offs developed.
The only person left by the police was a one-man band performing in front of the statue of the Holy Trinity.
Undeterred by the carnage around him, he played You Are My Sunshine – United’s tribute to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – on a saxophone, although he had to compete with the noise of the helicopter overhead and hundreds of empty bottles and cans scattered about the blown away for him.
It was a bizarre picture to end the strangest days.