A member of Manchester United’s staff employed by Arc catering, a 19-year-old who has chosen to go unnamed, has made an allegation of a racist attack on him by members of Controlled Solutions Group (CSG) staff. The company are employed by United for match day security.
Ahead of our 5-0 win over Club Brugge in the Europa League, the teenager, referred to as K, walked past the first line of security in his uniform, but when he reached the second line a member of the security team asked him what he was doing there. K told the security staff that he worked at the ground, which was met with a response of “bullshit” and he was told he couldn’t go any further with his bike and his bag.
A CSG supervisor came over to see what the issue was and K explained, but the security guard said K was lying. The guard said that K had been rude and had refused to be searched. K said he had no objections to being searched and when he was the guard said “I’m surprised we didn’t find a knife.”
The CSG staff members refused K entry because he couldn’t prove he worked there, with the security pass only being given to staff once they were inside. K explained this but they still refused to let him go in. You would imagine the CSG staff were well aware of this though, given how many other Arc employees arrive for every game without any work ID.
Other CSG staff then got involved, making fun of K, as he asked why other employees were allowed past. They said they didn’t like his “attitude” and that if he didn’t leave they would call the police. Members of the GMP came over. K explained to them what had happened, as well as the comment about the knife, but the police ignored that and said he needed an e-mail to prove he worked there.
One of the CSG staff said: “I don’t know how you put up with kids like this every week, he needs to be arrested. He looks like he smoked something before he got here.” K responded by saying he had never smoked anything in his life and that the guard should get on with his job.
The CSG staff then said: “I can buy and sell you, you’re a slave,” and “at least I have my own last name.”
K turned to the GMP, expecting them to do something, but they said they hadn’t heard anything, while the CSG staff again accused K of lying. They said he was going to leave in “cuffs” and accused him of causing trouble, when the reality was he was just trying to get to work. The CSG staff then threatened K, calling him a scruff and saying “watch what happens” if he didn’t leave within five seconds.
K called the manager and she said she would get someone to bring his badge out. He went to the United Foundation building and asked if any of the coaches he used to work with when he was younger were around so they could vouch for him, but they weren’t.
After waiting for 15 minutes, and nobody arriving with his security badge, the CSG staff started to grab and kick K’s bike. K pulled it back and the security guards started to punch and kick at him. They threw his bike on the floor and one guard helped him up by the neck while other guards punched him.
The police then returned and the guards stopped, with the one who had racially abused him following the advice of one of his colleagues and walked off, challenging K to come with him.
The CSG staff told the police that K had been the one to attack him. As K protested his innocence, the police told him he didn’t need to be so angry. He said he wanted to wait for the Arc manager to arrive but they told him if he waited there with his bike he would be arrested. Finally, someone from Arc came, but spoke to the CSG staff instead of him and told him to go home. K called him mum and she asked to speak to the manager but they refused. K returned with his dad to speak to the police but they weren’t any help.
After the incident was reported by Kids of Colour on Twitter, several United fans who were at the ground have taken to social media to corroborate his version of events.
The next day, K went to Trafford General Hospital where he was told he had a fractured eye socket and bruised ribs.
On Sunday, the police called K to inform him that there was no CCTV footage of the incident, which seems incredible given that it happened right outside of Old Trafford. CSG have denied all allegations and claimed K made up the whole incident, saying: “It is our opinion that this individual has made a totally false and fabricated account of assault or abuse against him by security staff. CSG will be fully compliant in support of any police or other investigation into these false allegations.”
Speaking to The Guardian, K said: “There are plenty of incidents similar to mine which men and women of colour have to endure but are just swept aside, which I don’t believe is right. This can show if you do endure these circumstances you are able to speak up.”
We can only hope the club gets involved to throw further weight behind this. It is unacceptable for anyone to be treated this way. The GMP and CSG have behaved appallingly.