Match report by United fan Paul James
MUST is the independent Manchester United supporters trust. We are dedicated to securing meaningful permanent ownership of MUFC for supporters.
A supporter engagement meeting was held today ahead of next week’s Manchester derby to discuss policing strategy and any supporter concerns. Committee member Geoff Pearson represented MUST who were invited to attend on behalf of MUFC fans. Also present were Greater Manchester Police’s derby day Silver Commander, their Head of Events and Head of Football Liaison, along with a representative from Manchester City and the MCFC Supporters' Clubs.
The good news for the vast majority of United fans attending the match is that they should see no changes to the normal match-day, despite the more civilised derby kick-off time of 4pm. With the exception of Level 1 Public Order units in blue overalls, police will be in normal uniform.
Alcohol will be served in the stadium as usual with the exception of the East Stand Tier 1 block next to the away fans, who will be restricted to two beers per person and will have all drinks decanted into plastic cups. The same restrictions will apply to the visiting fans.
Fans approaching the Munich tunnel from the forecourt should be aware of the pinch point by the away fan turnstiles and may like to allow a little extra time due to increased searches of visiting fans. MUST requested that any police briefing at which stewards were present expressed the need to take a sensible approach to dealing with persistent standing for such a high-profile match.
Other points to be aware of:
- At this stage there are no plans for either s.60 CJPOA Stop and Search powers or s.35 ASBCPA Dispersal powers to be in place for this match.
- GMP will have patrols the evening before the match dedicated to preventing inflammatory graffiti.
- GMP are looking for feedback after the event from match-going fans so if you have any, please contact MUST and we will pass these on or add them as comments to this post
MUST is regularly involved in consultation with local council Safety Advisory Groups and Police around our away allocations, policing and related issues. Ahead of the Liverpool(A) fixture although our representatives were not able to attend the Police planning meeting in Liverpool on this occasion we appreciated the invitation. However we were able to submit concerns raised by supporters and can continue to do so ahead of this fixture and others if supporters wish to add comments below this post or to contact MUST Office 0161 872 3300.
Please see below media release from Merseyside Police:
"As the Match Commander for the forthcoming Liverpool V Manchester United fixture this Sunday, I would like to offer a very warm welcome to all Manchester United fans attending the game.
Whilst everyone recognises the significance of this fixture, I am sure we all share the same view that we want to enjoy the match and above all that it passes off safely. Recent league games between both clubs have been largely without incident and this is something I hope we can achieve again for this game.
Earlier this week, I met with representatives from Greater Manchester Police and Liverpool Football Club to discuss any issues or concerns you as fans may have. The invite was extended to United supporters fan groups but unfortunately they were not able to attend but Pc Neil McQueen on your behalf did raise some issues with me and I hope those specific points have been communicated back to you. However, should any Manchester United fans have any questions ahead of the fixture, please do get in touch with Neil through your fan groups and he will raise these points with me and I will do my best to get any key messages or the answers to your questions back to you as soon as possible.
As Match Commander I am keen that you have as much information as possible about the fixture and with that in mind I would ask you to consider the following points:-
- You cannot drink alcohol in the street in Liverpool City Centre and we would request that if drinking around the Stadium that this is limited to inside Licensed Premises.
- United fans will be able to drink inside the stadium in line with all normal ground regulations and sporting events legislation.
- Turnstiles will be open one and a half hours before kick-off as per normal.
- I would like to remind all supporters that pyrotechnics are dangerous and are not welcome by the majority of fans. They cause breathing difficulties and we have had occasions when fans have panicked as a consequence of them. It is an offence to enter a Stadium with such an item and those engaging in this behaviour risk arrest, prosecution and I will endeavour to obtain banning orders against anybody found committing.
- I would please ask all fans not to engage in any form of offensive chanting and I will be instructing my staff to take positive action against any fan home or away who engages in this behaviour. I trust as genuine football fans you will support me in this.
- Potentially there may well be a hold back at the end of the game. All fans will be kept updated about this and we will make announcements within the Stadium. We will keep the duration to a minimum as far as we can but please be reassured the hold back is for your safety. During any hold back the Police will work closely with Stewards and we will do our best to ensure fans can access toilet facilities during this time. This will need to be done in a controlled manner to regulate the numbers accessing the toilets so please bear with the Police and Stewards but please feel free to speak to any head Stewards if required.
- When leaving the Stadium we would encourage fans to turn right on Anfield Road towards the Arkles heading in the direction of your coaches or transport which will be parked in Arkles Lane. This will be your safest route from the Stadium.
You will all be aware that the worlds media will focus on this fixture and I hope that supporters from both sides act in a responsible manner and enjoy the game no matter what the result.
Merseyside Police will endeavour to also make announcements via their Twitter site should any further information come to light on the day of the game.
Jon Ward QPM
Area Commander Liverpool North"