Manchester United staff were shocked to be confronted by a drunken fan who got into the first-team dressing room during Sunday’s Old Trafford protest.
Nine staff, including team doctors, physios, masseurs and kit men, were preparing for the game against Liverpool when around 100 protesters broke into the ground and several made it through the players’ tunnel.
One unruly fan reached the dressing room and shouted at staff, who feared for their safety as stewards tried to restore order outside. It is a shocking indication of how seriously United’s security was breached, as the mob forced their way into the stadium and got on the pitch on two separate occasions.
Manchester United fans stormed Old Trafford on Saturday in protest of the Glazer ownership
Supporters made it into the bowels of the stadium, with one even breaching the dressing room
Corner flags and 25 match balls were taken by the supporters, who also threw a flare at the Sky Sports gantry and smashed a television camera.
Worried staff were told to lock themselves in offices in the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand. The dressing room intrusion also poses a Covid threat to United’s first-team bubble, even though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players were holed up in the Lowry Hotel at the time.
They were blocked by another group of demonstrators, who stopped them travelling to the game — which was eventually postponed following the security breach and clashes outside Old Trafford that left two policemen injured.
The squad have been called in for routine Covid testing on Tuesday morning.
More than 100 United protesters made their way into the ground and let-off flares on the pitch
United revealed on Monday that fans who got inside the Munich tunnel and forced open an access door were responsible for letting in the first wave of protesters.
There were suggestions the door may have been opened by a member of staff, and a Manchester United Supporters Trust statement on Sunday night said: ‘It is rumoured a gate was opened for fans.’
But United issued a statement of their own on Monday, saying: ‘Reports that protesters were able to access the stadium and pitch via a gate opened by club staff are completely incorrect.
‘After breaking through barriers and security on the forecourt, some protesters climbed the gates at the end of the Munich tunnel, then forced access to a side door in the stand, before opening an external door that let others through to the concourse area and the pitch.
Demonstrators who got inside the Munich Tunnel opened another door for more to enter
The club are plotting to press charges against all the fans who pushed the protest too far
‘A second breach occurred when a protester smashed the door of a disability access lift, enabling a group to enter the stand.’
United will only look to take action against protesters who engaged in violence and criminal damage rather than those who simply gained access to the pitch.
The club will also launch a review into the security operation for the demonstration and how it escalated out of control.
United and their security company Controlled Group Solutions face questions over their handling of the protest, considering up to 10,000 demonstrators had been expected.
Club sources say it was the intention to be non-confrontational, in keeping with a peaceful protest, and that installing barricades and more heavily armoured police from the start would only have risked inflaming the situation.