Arena date ‘al­ways re­spected’

Manchester Evening News - - LETTERS, COMMENTS AND EMAILS - By KATIE BUT­LER katie.but­ler@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @KatieBut­lerMEN

MANCH­ESTER Arena bosses say the hor­rific events of May 22 will never be for­got­ten by staff - and that the date will ‘al­ways be re­spected’ at the venue.

The doors were opened for the first time last Satur­day as a host of stars, led by Noel Gal­lagher, put on a per­for­mance for the We Are Manch­ester gig.

The first reg­u­lar con­cert at the Arena will take place to­day as US star John Le­gend takes to the stage.

Speak­ing about the venue’s re­open­ing, John Sharkey, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of Euro­pean Op­er­a­tions for SMG Europe, which owns Manch­ester Arena, said: “I thought Satur­day was su­perb. It couldn’t have gone any bet­ter. It was great to see the sup­port for the evening.

“It was great to see it fi­nally back open. Af­ter May 22 it was about try­ing to do the right thing and mak­ing sure we were go­ing to re­cover and mak­ing sure it was never go­ing to be re­peated.

“We are never go­ing to for­get May 22 and it will re­main with the venue and the peo­ple of Manch­ester for a very long time.

“The date will al­ways be re­spected at the Arena.

“We want to en­sure go­ing for­ward the arena is where it al­ways has been, the cen­tre of Manch­ester and the home to great nights and mu­sic events.”

Metal de­tec­tors, a no back­pack pol­icy and more vis­i­ble se­cu­rity staff are part of the ‘gold stan­dard’ mea­sures that have been put in place at the Arena to en­sure peo­ple feel safe fol­low­ing the bomb­ing, which claimed the lives of 22 peo­ple and left dozens more in­jured.

Arena bosses have worked with po­lice, se­cu­rity ex­perts and in­ter­na­tional agen­cies. Coun­sel­lors will also be on hand at some events to help those strug­gling with a re­turn to the venue.

Mr Sharkey added: “We have set the gold stan­dard now and this is what we are go­ing to have to do go­ing for­ward.

“We are in a dif­fer­ent world now and we have to adapt to that.

“The whole ra­tio­nale was to try and pro­vide com­fort and re­as­sure peo­ple they can come back and they will feel safe here.

“It has been great to see the spirit of Manch­ester and peo­ple pulling to­gether.

“We have seen great things be­cause of that, and long may it con­tinue.” John Le­gend pre­view - See Ci­tyLife

SMG’s John Sharkey

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