41 sentenced for shocking violence during Manchester United protest

The group gathered outside Old Trafford on 2 May, campaigning against the ownership of Manchester United. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

A total of 41 people have now been sentenced for their roles in a violent football protest earlier this year.

The defendants, aged between 15 and 52, gathered outside Old Trafford football ground and the Lowry Hotel in Salford on 2 May, campaigning against the ownership of Manchester United.

Despite its intention as 'peaceful', protesters started to become aggressive towards police, with one group forcing entry to the pitch and rooms within the stadium.

Dozens of officers, as well as stadium stewards and security staff, were assaulted, with some being hit by bottles, flares and safety barriers.

One even obtained a serious facial injury requiring hospital treatment.

Damage inside the stadium exceeded £70,000, including £60,000 worth of damage to TV cameras owned by a private company.

Of the 41 defendants, 39 have appeared in court this month, with a further two having been sentenced in the summer.

The offences that they were sentenced for include assault, criminal damage and burglary with many receiving football banning orders, preventing them from attending matches for a set period of time.

Assistant Chief Constable Wasim Chaudhry, said: "GMP’s Major Investigation Team (MIT), launched an extensive investigation relating to the disorder, following up on a large number of enquiries and intelligence received from public appeals, as well as extensive CCTV analysis and identification work, to make sure these people were located and made to face the consequences of their appalling actions that day.

"Our officers put their lives on the line every day to keep the people of Greater Manchester safe, and it is absolutely shameful that anyone would willingly assault an emergency worker.

"We simply will not tolerate this happening.

"This incident also happened in the midst of the pandemic, when our emergency services were already stretched trying to reach those who needed us the most.

"I hope these people feel ashamed of their actions and have some sense of remorse. I would like to add that GMP are fully aware that the majority of football supporters act in a respectful manner, and we thank those people.

"We want to see the public out supporting their teams and having an enjoyable experience and our dedicated football officers work closely with our local clubs, partner agencies and supporter groups to promote this happening."

Dozens of officers, as well as stadium stewards and security staff, were assaulted. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, National Police Chief Council (NPCC) Lead for Football Policing, said: "This was a major investigation by GMP into serious disorder. 

"It underlines the draw on police resources to undertake these investigations in addition to the operational deployments required on the day. 

"This should serve as a warning to those who can’t behave at football matches, regardless of the reason."

Another two defendants are due to appear before the courts in December 2022 and April 2023.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...