Tuesday 22 January 2019

Cherries tie refixed for tomorrow after bomb scare

The bomb squad arrives at Old Trafford yesterday. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
The bomb squad arrives at Old Trafford yesterday. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Security personnel check the stands after the game was abandoned at Old Trafford. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester United's abandoned game against Bournemouth has been rearranged for tomorrow, the Premier League.

The clash at Old Trafford was called off after a security scare yesterday afternoon.

A bomb disposal unit carried out a controlled explosion on an "incredibly lifelike explosive device" after the stadium was evacuated.

Security personnel were told to invoke 'operation red code' around 2.40pm and shortly after 3.15pm those remaining in the ground were informed the game was off.

A bomb disposal unit van was seen arriving at the stadium shortly before 4pm, with four fire engines joining ambulances at the back of the Stretford End.

Perimeter security staff were told to stand down at 6pm at which point stewards were still patrolling car parks as hundreds of staff sat outside.

United are busy next Saturday when they face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final, after which many of their players will disperse for international duty ahead of Euro 2016.

A statement from the Premier League read: "The decision to abandon the Manchester United versus AFC Bournemouth match was taken after the police advised of the necessity to deal with a suspect package."

It is understood that both sets of players were kept in the dressing rooms for around 40 minutes before being taken to a suite, being looked after by security and hospitality staff.

They mingled and watched football on television, mostly departing after Manchester City's match at Swansea finished.

United manager Louis van Gaal and the Bournemouth team coach left Old Trafford at around 5.30pm.

As supporters left the stadium, there was inevitably disappointment that the game did not go ahead.

Sam Stride, a United supporter from Bristol, said: "Unbelievable. This is the first time I have been to Old Trafford to see a game.

"My mate and I have known each other for 63 years and we travelled up from Bristol together. We sat in the Stretford End for about five seconds before they asked us to leave. It's very disappointing."

Sean Bones, vice-chairman of the Manchester United Supporters' Trust, said: "It is obviously a dark day in Premier League history. We have obviously got to give our thanks to the club and the authorities for getting supporters out of the ground safely and home to their families.

"If it turns out there was a bomb at Old Trafford it is obviously a concern that we have these type of people in our midst and it is going to have a huge effect on security at football matches in the future.''

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville wrote on Twitter: "I may be wrong here but I'm not quite sure the enormity of what's happened at OT is registering. Lots still tweeting about meaningless games."

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