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Utd build 10ft fence around Old Trafford in attempt to keep protesters at bay

Published on: 11 May 2021

Manchester United have built a ring of steel around Old Trafford to keep out anti-Glazer protesters for Tuesday's game against Leicester and Thursday's visit of Liverpool.

The club are trying to prevent a repeat of the violent demonstrations that forced the Liverpool fixture to be postponed nine days ago and left six police officers injured.

A 10ft high red wall has been erected at the south-east corner of the stadium - where protesters twice broke in and got onto the pitch - as well the north forecourt in front of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. Additional steel barriers have also been put in place as part of the heightened security operation.

United were reluctant to take such extreme measures, but felt they had no choice in the circumstances. Having prepared for a peaceful protest last time and seen it descend into violence, the club wanted to ensure the two games went ahead safely this week.

Further demonstrations are expected against the club's American owners, although it's understood there is more concern around the re-arranged Liverpool game than Tuesday's match against Leicester.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reiterated his plea for peace and calm after seeing it largely ignored by fans who attacked police and forced their way into Old Trafford.

'Security measures are being looked at and I hope we can keep the protests - if there are protests - down to loud voices and nothing violent,' said Solskjaer.

'We want to listen, the players want to play the game. We're playing Liverpool and, of course, we want to beat Liverpool and we want to beat Leicester.

'So we're going to do everything we can for our fans to celebrate what we're doing on the pitch.' Greater Manchester Police are on standby in case of more trouble after one officer suffered a life-changing eye injury during the last protest.

A GMP spokesman said: 'We have reviewed our approach again following the events of last weekend and planned appropriate resourcing to ensure the safety of all those present.' Meanwhile, Solskjaer insists it's unfair to blame him if he puts out a weakened team against the Foxes for the first of two games in the space of 50 hours.

Having fielded a strong line-up at Aston Villa on Sunday, the United boss is expected to make a number of changes against Leicester who are battling with Liverpool for a top-four place.

'Talking about integrity in the league and stuff, don't blame me when I have to make changes because I have to,' he said.

'That's the hard bit for me, knowing if I do play this 11 on Tuesday and then again on Thursday it's impossible. I run too much of a risk in injuring them. I have to prioritise.'


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