Fears over repeat of 'ugly scenes' when Manchester United visit

A supporter group wants to avoid a repeat of the “ugly scenes” witnessed during Liverpool’s visit to St James’s Park.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 2:27 pm
St James's Park.

There were disturbances inside the stadium during Newcastle United’s 3-2 home defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s side in May.

A number of Liverpool supporters had bought tickets in the home areas of the stadium, and police made seven arrests and ejected a further 22 fans from the ground following clashes in the stands.

There were further incidents outside St James’s Park. Five of those fans arrested – and 15 of those ejected – were Liverpool fans.

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Toon For Change have written to Newcastle to “seek clarification” on the steps being taken to avoid a repeat when Manchester United visit St James’s Park on October 6.

Tickets for the Premier League fixture, which attracted a crowd of 52,217 last season, are on general sale.

And the group writes: “Following the ugly scenes during the match between Newcastle and Liverpool as a result of away supporters getting tickets in home areas, we are seeking clarification from the club on what steps are being taken to prevent Manchester United fans doing the same.”

There were around 9,000 empty seats at St James’s Park for Saturday’s goalless draw against Brighton.

Thousands of fans have stayed away in protest at the way the club is being run by Mike Ashley – and the summer departure of manager Rafa Benitez – and that means more tickets are being put on general sale, though the club has procedures in place to ensure they are only bought by home fans.

United’s experienced ticket office staff are making checks on tickets bought for the game. There will be further checks before the fixture at the stadium itself.

It is against ground regulations for fans of visiting teams to sit in home areas, and tickets are not transferable without written permission from the club. Ticket touting is illegal.

However, it is common practice in the Premier League for hospitality areas to entertain home and away fans. Newcastle’s hospitality clients are given guidance on acceptable behaviour, and must also notify the club of any visiting fans attending games.