The Premier League fixture between Manchester United and Liverpool has been postponed after fans broke into Old Trafford and stormed the pitch in extraordinary scenes ahead of the game.
Fans turned up at Old Trafford at 1pm to protest against the Glazer ownership with banners and flares – however things soon escalated, as some protestors pushed down barriers to force their way into the ground and made their way onto the pitch ahead of one of the biggest games of the season.
Chants of “we want Glazers out” could be heard as they stormed into the ground. BBCunderstands some fans attempted to get into the dressing rooms, as over a thousand supporters protested against the ownership.
A Manchester United club statement read: “Following discussion between police, the Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed due to safety and security considerations around the protest today. Discussions will now take place with the Premier League on a revised date for the fixture.
“Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest.
“However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.”
Liverpool also released a statement, saying they were “in full agreement” with the decision to postpone.
They said: “It is our position that public safety must be the number one factor in any such decision, with the ability to provide a secure environment for the participants, staff and officials being a particular priority. It was clearly not possible for this to be guaranteed today due to a situation which escalated rapidly.
“We will continue to have dialogue with Manchester United, the Premier League and the local authorities to find a suitable date to reschedule. As soon as we have this information we will update our supporters accordingly.”
A statement from the Premier League read: “Following the security breach at Old Trafford, the Manchester United vs Liverpool game has been postponed. This is a collective decision from the police, both clubs, the Premier League and local authorities.
“The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance. We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated Covid-19 breaches. Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification.
“We sympathise with the police and stewards who had to deal with a dangerous situation that should have no place in football.
“The rearrangement of the fixture will be communicated in due course.”
Manchester United fans have been opposed to the Glazer ownership since the American family bought the club in 2005.
They bought the club through a leveraged buyout for around £790 million ($1.1 billion). The money for the buyout was funded by debt that they would pay off from the club’s future profits. Since then the club have already paid out over £1 billion (€1.4bn) in bank fees and dividends to the owners.
While there have been protests over the years they have ramped up again recently due to the club’s involvement in the proposal of the ESL.
Joel Glazer was one of the driving forces behind the now botched plans and it has reignited anger amongst the supporters who want the family to sell their shares in the club.