Manchester United vs Feyenoord set for large police presence amid hooliganism fears
One of the largest police operations in Manchester United's history is set to be carried out when Feyenoord visit Old Trafford tonight.
Hundreds of officers are expected to be deployed around the ground and in the city centre amid fears fan hooliganism could mar the European match.
There are concerns that as many as 4,500 Feyenoord supporters will travel to Manchester without tickets as well as 3,100 more who do possess tickets for the crunch Europa League game.
It is feared as many as 200 ticket-less hooligans could make the journey from Amsterdam to Manchester for the 8.05pm kick-off.
A police source told the Daily Mail : “In total, we are looking at about 7,500 visiting fans and the worries are over the 4,000 who don't have tickets.
“There will be a large police presence in the city centre to monitor them.
“The only operation that comes close in recent years was the FA Cup match against Leeds in 2010 when they brought 9,000.”
The police's cause was not helped when United's malfunctioning website allowed as many as 4,500 Feyenoord fans to buy tickets in the home end.
Although United eventually cancelled those tickets and gave out refunds, a number of Dutch fans will already have made travel and accommodation plans and are likely to make the journey anyway.
Feyenoord have previous when it comes to fan trouble.
In 2006 the team were dumped out of the UEFA Cup after violent clashes between their fans and supporters of French side Nancy.
Just last week a video emerged of violence between fans of Feyenoord and Nancy 10 years on from from the Dutch side's UEFA Cup disqualification.
It is thought the battle was arranged by members of the Dutch side's ultras who were still seething over the incident which took place a decade ago.
United's fans were also warned by the club to avoid wearing team colours for the away clash at the De Kup Stadium in September so to avoid potential violent clashes.
A police spokesman said: “We are expecting a significant number of Feyenoord supporters to visit Manchester ahead of the match and would like to offer a very warm welcome to all supporters.
“We are highly experienced in policing high-profile events and have been working closely with both clubs and supporters to make sure everyone can enjoy the match in a competitive but safe environment.
“As with every match, there will be police in and around the ground, so if you have any concerns before, during or after the match, then please approach nearby officers or stewards.
“Alternatively, you can call 101 and in an emergency, always call 999.”