Manchester United fans are blaming a dangerous new "firm" of supporters associated with the club for the looting of a food kiosk during the Carling Cup fourth round game against Barnsley at Oakwell that will result in a Football Association investigation.
The 30-strong group of teenagers thought to be aged between 16 and 18 years old style themselves as the "Moston Rats" and come from the tough north Manchester district. They are thought to have been behind the raid on the kiosk which resulted in staff locking themselves in a stock cupboard as the till and food and drinks were stolen.
The Moston Rats have become a source of concern for more experienced United fans who follow the club home and away. Even by the occasionally wayward standards of the club's fans in the 1970s and 1980s, this latest phenomenon are thought to be the worst yet. "The rats are an embarrassment to the Red Army," said one poster on an online United fans forum.
Anecdotal evidence from United supporters among the 4,000 travelling fans at Oakwell who watched the 2-0 victory suggested that the lack of security around the North Stand kiosk had prompted the aggression from certain sectors of the United support. Many of the fans had made a day of the trip to Yorkshire and had been drinking all day before the game.
Of the seven arrests, the two pitch invaders were Barnsley fans. A statement from the FA said it was gathering evidence from both clubs and South Yorkshire police. "There is no place for anti-social or violent behaviour in our game."
* West Ham defender Calum Davenport has been charged with assaulting his sister during an incident in which he was stabbed in both legs. The 26-year-old Davenport denied a charge of causing actual bodily harm to Cara Davenport. Cara Davenport's boyfriend, Worrell Whitehurst, has already appeared in court after being charged with attacking Calum Davenport and his mother, Kim Stupple, in August.