IMUSA - Independent Manchester United Supporters Association

Behind the windows of Manchester there is an insane love of football, of celebration

- Eric Cantona

IMUSA news

Safety in numbers?

4th April 2010

The current wave of anti-Glazer protests that sparked off back in January have taken the form of supporters wearing the Green and Gold of our founding club Newton Heath, the singing of inoffensive anti-Glazer songs and the showing of banners, particularly towards the end of the game, if we are in front.

Nobody has suggested that these protests have been anything other than peaceable and congratulations have come from many quarters for the restraint that United fans have shown.

The Glazers do not however like these protests, they are bad corporate PR, and they have done what they can to suppress them.

This has, so far, included overseeing the violent confiscation of flags (something that has led to the dismissal of at least one steward who objected to this treatment on the fans’ behalf), ejecting people from the ground and confiscating their season tickets for doing no more than singing anti-Glazer songs (including the ticket of one 11 year old fourth generation Red), and refusing people entry to certain parts of the ground or throwing people out of MUTV’s studios during live shows for wearing green and gold, and so it goes on.

Yesterday the Club took this suppression to a new level and packed out the exit aisles in the upper tier of the Stretford End with stewards and police for the last 20 - 25 mins of the game (see photos below), in a clear attempt to prevent any protest banners being shown there.

In doing so the club must have been aware that they showed a complete disregard for the safety regulations, and hence supporter safety, within the ground and placed everyone in that stand in potential danger.

These aisles are meant to be kept clear at all times because they are the only escape route from the stand in the event of an emergency.

This is enshrined in the Club’s ‘Safety Policy in Respect of Spectators’ where Point 14 states;

”The Safety Management will ensure that all passageways and exits are kept clear and all exit gates and perimeter exit gates are manned throughout a match/event to enable a controlled and safe evacuation in the event of an emergency.”

Large numbers of Police and stewards are no more capable of moving out of the way of these safety exits in the event of an emergency than the general public are (and that is aside from questions as to why the Police were there in the first place) and the placing of such numbers in such positions was grossly irresponsible.

Point 1 of the club’s Safety Policy states;

”Manchester United PLC and in particular those employed by Manchester United Football Club with specific responsibilities for safety, undertake to ensure, as far as is practicable, that all activities taking place within the stadium are conducted in a manner that places spectator safety above all other considerations.

Football fans have seen too often what happens when safety is made to give way to expediency and IMUSA wishes to remind everybody at the Club, TMBC and all those with responsibility for fans’ safety within the ground, what their primary concerns are and what the consequences can be if they fail in the execution of their duties.



Display outside the ground before the match v Chelsea, 3rd April 2010