In last season’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, Sir Alex Ferguson was not very happy with the security around the dugout. He believed the home fans were too close to the dugout, meaning that he, along with the subs, endured what our manager believed to be unnecessary verbal abuse.
“Our own bench were getting terrible abuse from people two or three feet away,” he said after the match. “There is a lack of security here. It is absolutely disgraceful the abuse you and your staff take. All sorts of things are screamed and shouted at you. There is an absolute danger here.”
Let’s not forget, this is a man who isn’t well liked at most grounds he goes to, with Liverpool and City not having many kind words to say about him. Yet he’s never feared his safety when travelling to Anfield or Wastelands, suggesting there is truth in what he says.
Arsenal have confirmed Ferguson’s story, and having reviewed their security arrangements, extra stewards have been put in place.
“It must be stressed that we have never had any problems other than this one [last year] and we are all hopeful that the game will go off peacefully,” read an Arsenal statement. “There will be an extra three stewards in the ‘paddock’, the row behind the dugout, making five stewards in total. There will be an ‘ejection squad’ viewing the fans in case there is any issue.”
These changes are pleasing to our manager, who feels as though the design of the new stadium has let them down.
“Last year was pretty unsavoury,” said Ferguson. “In fact, I think it was nasty. It should not happen when you build a modern stadium like that. It is too open for my liking. It is a weakness in the planning that you don’t provide safety for the visiting substitutes and staff. It is quite right they have improved the security.”