Thursday 23 March 2017

Manchester United and Manchester City fans on collision course as security is ramped up

Manchester United and Manchester City fans hold scarves during a minute's silence to mark 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster in Manchester
Manchester United and Manchester City fans hold scarves during a minute's silence to mark 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster in Manchester

Mark Ogden

Manchester United and Manchester City will go head-to-head three days after next month’s Premier League derby – with Greater Manchester Police clearing both clubs to stage home Capital One Cup ties on the same night.

As many as 130,000 rival supporters could attend the two games if United’s fourth round tie at home to Middlesbrough and City’s clash with Crystal Palace both sell out.

But with United hosting City in the 170th Manchester derby on Sunday 25 October, neither club was prepared to play their Capital One Cup tie just over 48 hours later on the Tuesday evening due to concerns over player recovery time.

Despite the challenges posed by controlling four sets of rival fans – Middlesbrough could be backed by as many as 9,000 supporters at Old Trafford – GMP have sanctioned the two fixtures taking place on Wednesday 28 October, with City’s fixture at the Etihad kicking off at 7.45pm - 15 minutes earlier than United’s tie.

“Due to the football fixture schedule, both Manchester United and Manchester City are scheduled to play their League Cup ties at their home grounds on Wednesday 28 October,” said Chief Inspector Dean Howard, of GMP’s Force Events Unit.

"This is an unusual situation, although it is not the first time we have had this happen, both teams played at home against different opposition on the same night in 2009, in the same competition.

"GMP are working with both clubs, and other partners, in an effort to minimise any disruption to local communities and reduce the risk of any disorder taking place."

United and City last played at home on the same day when City entertained Fulham in the League Cup in September 2009 while Old Trafford hosted Wolverhampton Wanderers in the same competition.

A year earlier, in December 2008, City played Paris Saint-Germain in the Uefa Cup at the Etihad on the same night as United’s League Cup tie at home to Blackburn Rovers.

While Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium stand just five miles apart, it is anticipated that fans attending the two games will be kept apart naturally by the different access roads from the M60 motorway.

Telegraph.co.uk

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