Game week 32’s biggest fixture, Liverpool vs Manchester United was not to be after a riot broke out at the old Trafford. The contest was supposed to kick off at 16:30 BST (translates to 18:30 in Ugandan time) on Sunday but it soon became evident that no football would be played.
At around 14:00 BST (18:00 local time), a crowd of an estimated 100 fans made their way onto the turf. These were clad in green and gold, the colors under which Manchester United was formed as Newton Heath in 1878. The riot was a spillover of the earlier reported United decision alongside 5 self-dabbed ‘big six’ sides to join the controversial European Super League last month.
The Super League debacle served to reignite a long-standing resentment for the current club owners, the Glazer Family, dating as far back as 2010. The original Anti-Glazer protests were aimed at driving the American family out of Old Trafford, and had escalated into ‘harassment’ of protesters by security officers. The officers were accused of using heavy-handed tactics against protesters who were standing against the club owners, feelings which were not forgotten to date.
The protesters who seemed peaceful at the onset outside the Trafford became increasingly more hostile, leading to injury of two police officers. Another large group of protesters had gathered outside The Lowry Hotel in Salford where United were residing prior to their clash against Liverpool.
The increased uncertainty about the safety of everyone at the grounds forced The Premier League, The Trafford Council and Liverpool to unanimously postpone the game on safety grounds.
The Premier league issued a stamen in which it condemned strongly the acts of violence, damage, trespass and violation of Covid-19 protocols.
In the statement, the officials wrote, “This is a collective decision from the police, both clubs, the Premier League and local authorities. The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance.
We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated COVID-19 breaches. Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification.
We sympathise with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football.” The statement said
“The rearrangement of the fixture will be communicated in due course.” It added.
The fans were reinforcing their view that the club’s owners, The Glazer Family, care more about the money than they do about the 149-year-old club. The owners took over the institution in a controversial 790 million Euro leveraged acquisition in 2005, a move which fans did not look unto with grace.