Before Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw against the Gunners at Old Trafford last Saturday, United’s staff in the stadium identified two supporters who managed to stay the night at Old Trafford a day before United entertained Arsenal. The two international students entered Old Trafford on the daily tour conducted by the club and managed to hide in the toilet while the rest of the tour group exited the stadium.
The daily tour of the club lasts about 80 minutes for around 20 pounds after which the two supporters, keen to watch the crunch game the next day, slept inside the Theatre of Dreams, only to be caught by United’s staff on a routine pre-match security check.
The security at and around the stadium has been tightened since the bomb scare at the end of last season postponed Bournemouth's trip to Old Trafford, due to a fake bomb left by the training crew of the company hired by the club to conduct routine checks before kick off at the iconic venue.
In a statement issued by the club’s spokesman on the latest safety problem at Old Trafford, he said, “We realise people will go to any lengths to watch a game at Old Trafford, but these people went too far. The fact that they and their belongings had been searched before entry means we are confident there was no risk to safety.”
A source close to Sportsmail went on record to state, “You honestly could not make it up. The two have gone on the tour on the Friday, and for some reason, they must not have counted the numbers in and out and they have stayed there overnight without anyone seeing them.”
Going on to add, “After the Bournemouth fiasco they re-trained all the staff and beefed up security and searches but then this happens.”
United have launched an internal investigation into what happened, with police questioning the two supporters and letting them off the hook as no arrests were made. After the discovery of the pair, who faced temperature lows of 2 Celsius, it was understood they stayed overnight at United’s home ground with the intention to watch their team in action against the Gunners.
The issue raises concerns over the safety and security of fans during games held at English stadiums, as West Ham United faced a similar problem with a couple of fans climbing onto the roof of the new Olympic Stadium, taking a video in the process.