Manchester United v Liverpool: police control scum fans inside a bubble
Manchester United host Liverpool in the weekend’s big Premier League match. The 5:30 kick-off gives time for fans to get to the game, soak up the atmosphere (and that’s the atmosphere outside the ground not the sit-down-shut-up funereal quiet imposed inside it), make a day of it and have fun.
Well, unless the Greater Manchester Police get involved. They have issued a set of rules that turn football fans – spending money in shops and pubs around the ground – into a citizen sub-class for whom free movement and free speech are a step too far. Fans are being punished for crimes they have not committed…yet.
The GMP rules:
1. You cannot drink alcohol on the street in Manchester city centre or Trafford (the borough where the ground is)…
You can. But the police say you must not.
2. There are no pubs in the area of the ground which cater for visiting supporters.
But you can’t bring your own because the police won’t let you open it.
3. Liverpool fans will be able to get a drink in the ground – a maximum of two alcoholic drinks per visit to bar per person…
A quota. Know your limit.
4. All drinks (including soft drinks) will be decanted and these arrangements are the same for home fans situated near to the segregation line.
Ever go to the theatre and have your over-priced drink decanted into a cheap plastic beaker?
5. I would like to remind all supporters that pyrotechnics are dangerous and are not welcome by the majority of fans. It is an offence to enter a stadium with such an item and those engaging in this behaviour risk arrest, prosecution and also a banning order.
No flares. Most fans don’t like them, say the police. Have most fans been asked?
6. Potentially there may well be a hold back at the end of the game – all fans will be updated about this during the game by public address announcements in the stadium. We will minimise the duration of this as far as we can but I feel it has been successful in recent league games at minimising any issues on the forecourt. During any holdback, the police will work closely with the stewards, and we will do our best to ensure that fans can access toilet facilities during any holdback. This will need to be done in a controlled manner to help regulate the numbers accessing the toilets at any one time.
And then this bit of hideous balls. Liverpool and Manchester United fans are now viewed as part of PR England:
As always, the TV cameras and media will be focused on one of the biggest club fixtures in the world. I hope that supporters from both sides act in a responsible manner and enjoy the game, no matter what the result.
Because it doesn’t matter if your team got thumped 5 nil so long as you didn’t swear on the telly and asked the police to use the toilet.