Football fans speak after Manchester United bomb scare
A Manchester United fan from Morecambe was among those evacuated from Old Trafford after a bomb scare caused a match to be called off.
Stuart Bannerman was one of the supporters evacuated from the 76,000-capacity stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Premier League match against Bournemouth was called off after a lifelike device – left behind as part of a security exercise – was found in the Old Trafford toilets and a bomb disposal team carried out a controlled explosion.
“About 20 minutes before kick-off, there was an announcement over the PA system telling certain parts of the ground to evacuate,” said Stuart, who was in the North Stand with his dad Bob and brother Kevin.
“Nobody around us knew what was going on so I had a word with a steward and he didn’t know either.
“Then a few minutes later there was another announcement telling us to evacuate.
“The evacuation happened bit by bit.
“We heard a message for security officers saying ‘Operation Red Code’ but nobody was really that certain what was happening.
“Everybody assumed somebody had left a bag lying around somewhere.”
Stuart, 35, said the evacuation went smoothly and everybody was calm.
Once they were outside the ground, fans were told the match was abandoned.
United season ticket holder Stuart joked: “It’s the most exciting thing that’s happened at Old Trafford this season!”
Allan Morris from Lancaster was due to attend the game too but was told about the evacuation while in a pub near the ground.
“One of the people I was with got a phone call from her dad, who was in the ground, telling us he was being evacuated,” said Allan, 58.
“The atmosphere outside the ground was quite relaxed. You would have expected lots of police sirens and helicopters but there was none of that.”
The Manchester United v Bournemouth match has been rearranged for tomorrow night.
Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has called for a full inquiry into the “fiasco” after it was revealed the dummy bomb was left behind by a private firm.
He said it had “caused massive inconvenience to supporters who had come from far and wide to watch the match” and “wasted the time of huge numbers of police officers and the army’s bomb squad”.