Manchester

Rangers fans criticise security ahead of United game

Rangers fans criticised a security operation put in place by police ahead of the Champions League clash against Manchester United.

Fans had to travel on official club coaches and collect their tickets at the DW stadium in Wigan, before being escorted to Old Trafford by police.

One fan said it was "overkill". Another said they were "herded like cattle".

Ten arrests were made during the match, according to Greater Manchester Police's website.

The game finished 0-0.

On the force's Twitter feed on its website, Assistant Chief Constable Hopkins said five United and five Rangers fans were being held for questioning.

He said four suspected ticket touts were being held, one person was arrested in connection with a public order offence, three people were arrested for being drunk and disorderly and two were held for drinking in sight of the pitch

Greater Manchester Police had wanted to stop a repeat of the violence which flared after the 2008 Uefa Cup final and said it was a "measured plan".

Speaking to the BBC from the DW stadium, one fan said: "We are getting herded like cattle into here. You can't go anywhere. It is quite shocking."

Another fan blamed police for the problems in 2008, arguing that the fans should never have been allowed in the city centre in the first place.

Held after game

He said the police had gone "from being completely relaxed to total overkill".

Rangers fans were also being kept in the seats after the game, until all Manchester United fans have left the stadium.

Image caption Rangers fans travelled by coach to Old Trafford from Wigan's DW Stadium

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), said: "I don't think it's an over-reaction.

"I think it's a measured plan with both clubs, who I have to say have been excellent and have put safety ahead of commercial interests in the restrictions that we have asked for around tickets.

"Undoubtedly that is going to lead to fewer ticket sales, but I think it is about reassuring people that we mean business and we've got confidence that this plan will work."

An extra 250 officers were on duty around the city for the duration of the match.

To combat any drunken behaviour, police urged off-licences to close early and asked pubs and bars to make sure they had door staff on duty.

Trouble flared in 2008 when the screen in Piccadilly Gardens failed near kick-off time.

Police officers were attacked and hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage was caused.

Nine jailed

An estimated 125,000 Rangers fans descended on Manchester for the final, although leader of the city council Sir Richard Leese said at the time that only a "very small minority of yobs" were responsible for the trouble that flared.

A judge at Manchester Crown Court jailed nine of the troublemakers, and detained two in young offenders institutions, on 3 September.

Another man was given a suspended sentence and community service.

The judge described the events as "the worst night of violence and destruction suffered by Manchester city centre since the Blitz".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites