Protesting United Supporters Storm Old Trafford, Invade Pitch (Photos, Videos)


(Update: team sheets for both sides leaked)

What a weekend for English football organizations to boycott social media. Ahead of Sunday’s Manchester United-Liverpool match (if it still goes on as planned today) a very large group of United supporters stormed Old Trafford and invaded the pitch.

It’s been reported that about 10,000 fans are involved in the protest, which is directed at the Glazer family that owns the club. Groups of fans breached the stadium gates and got onto the pitch, not once but twice.

The scenes at Old Trafford evoke the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, as throngs of people burst through barrier after barrier to get into restricted areas of the facility. As it stands right now, kickoff is significantly delayed, as both teams have not even left their team hotels at this time.

There is also a very large group of protesting fans outside the Hotel Lowry, where United stay the night before games. This was certainly foreseen, as United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, in his media opportunity on Friday, urged his club’s fanbase to keep the protests peaceful.

Peaceful this is not, as cameras and camera tripods have been smashed, gates overrun, and reportedly, even a dressing room was breached. In addition to property damage, there have been reports of a COVID protocol breech, which is yet another reason this game could be in doubt.

While this is a major international news story, getting coverage in various genres of media all over the world, it would be amplified even further if not the for the English social media boycott. Various football organizations, and some media outlets, are boycotting social media this weekend, as a show of solidarity against the scourge of racist abuse being perpetrated online.

Today’s chaos follows up on the incident of the Friday of the week where the European Super League existed. That day saw a group of United fans get into the club’s training ground, and reach the practice pitch.

We also saw hundreds of fans protest the Glazer family outside Old Trafford last weekend. Overall, this a build-up of about 10-15 years off angst, which began when the Glazers took control of the club. Unfortunately, this discontent has morphed from respectful dissent to criminal intent.

The backlash against the European Super League sparked off a powder keg.

The departure of United EVP Ed Woodward, has empowered this subset of United supporters to believe that they could get the Glazers out next.

Stay tuned, as we’ll keep this post updated with the latest developments.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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