Manch­ester derby had a sin­is­ter edge

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

MANCH­ESTER UNITED fans seem­ingly in­tent on vi­o­lence had golf balls, darts and other weapons taken from them as the dark spec­tre of foot­ball hooli­gan­ism re­turned to their Car­ling Cup meet­ing with neigh­bours City on Tues­day night.

Many United fans com­plained of crushes and slow queues as they tried to en­ter the sta­dium for the first leg of their semi-fi­nal tie at the home of their ri­vals but it is un­der­stood that the de­lay was down to the rig­or­ous search­ing of sup­port­ers known to be arriving at the turn­stiles with con­cealed weapons.

Po­lice re­ports and first-hand ac­counts re­vealed that both United and City fans threw coins, plas­tic bot­tles and even mo­bile phones at each other, seats in the away end were also ripped out and thrown into neigh­bour­ing sec­tions, while out on the con­course, toi­let cu­bi­cles were trashed and uri­nals ripped from the walls.

But it is the rev­e­la­tion that some United fans were car­ry­ing darts and golf balls that will alarm the au­thor­i­ties as they look to up­hold the im­age of the English game ahead of next week’s ea­gerly awaited sec­ond leg at Old Traf­ford.

The evening car­ried a sin­is­ter edge as a mi­nor­ity of the 9,000 away fans and 37,000 home sup­port­ers seemed in­tent on trou­ble.

Ac­counts from the Greater Manch­ester Po­lice and from eye­wit­nesses re­vealed that there were skir­mishes out­side the sta­dium be­fore and af­ter the game, with rocks thrown across roads and bricks hurled through car win­dows.

Po­lice made 18 ar­rests on what they de­scribed as a “chal­leng­ing and po­ten­tially danger­ous” night.

Six were City fans, 11 were United sup­port­ers and one was thought to be a neu­tral. – Daily Mail

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