Police prepare for Manchester derby

Sunday 23 October 2011 02:45

Greater Manchester Police are to put an extensive operation in place for tomorrow's Manchester derby at Eastlands with measures including an alcohol exclusion zone and increased patrols in the city centre.

The measures reflect the high emotions surrounding the fixture which is vitally important for both teams but also follows the crowd disturbances that marred the Carling Cup clash between the teams earlier this season.

Emotions which always run high between the two sets of fans were further inflamed at the Eastlands clash in January when former United player Carlos Tevez scored twice in the 2-1 first-leg win.

Following his first goal, the Argentinian aimed a shut your mouth gesture at Gary Neville, who had backed Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to sell Tevez.

Neville's response was one-fingered which drew more taunts from Tevez and following his second goal the forward cupped his ears.

Following the game Tevez described his former Red Devils team-mate as a "boot licker" and a "moron".

A statement from Greater Manchester Police read: "Part of GMP's operation is to stop potential troublemakers spoiling the day and responding to anti-social behaviour quickly and robustly.

"Anyone caught with alcohol on the streets within the alcohol exclusion zone, stretching from the city centre to the stadium, will have it confiscated.

"In addition, anyone arriving at the stadium under the influence of excess alcohol will be refused entry.

"There will be additional police patrols in place in the city centre and around the ground to deal with the large number of fans who are attending and officers will be visiting pubs where the match is being shown live on TV."

Assistant chief constable Ian Hopkins, in charge of the police operation, said: "Our main aim is to ensure it is an enjoyable experience for all fans.

"The overwhelming majority who attend football matches are there to support their teams but when a minority of people misbehave or come to games with the sole intention of causing trouble, it spoils it for everyone.

"This is a high-profile fixture and we have been working closely with Manchester City Football Club to ensure the day passes off peacefully.

"Greater Manchester Police is very experienced at policing football matches. We will have the appropriate number of officers and resources within the ground and the surrounding areas to both deal with any incidents and offer reassurance to the public."

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