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Police have called for fans to behave responsibly ahead of Manchester United’s opening-day clash with fierce rivals Leeds as Old Trafford prepares to host its first capacity crowd in 17 months.

Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off will also be the first time Leeds fans have attended a league game at United’s home ground since 2004.

The two clubs met in the Premier League last December following the Yorkshire club’s return to the top-flight, but it was played behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions.

When the teams met in the return fixture at Elland Road in April, United had to implement extra security precautions after learning that Leeds fans were planning to attack their team bus at the height of the European Super League fallout.

The fixture between two of English football’s fiercest rivals has a history of crowd trouble dating back to the 70s and 80s, and Greater Manchester Police officers are working extended hours to ensure the Category C game and other events in the city centre go off peacefully.

man u vs leeds

Chief superintendent Stuart Ellison, gold commander for GMP’s public order operations on Saturday, took the unusual step of issuing a statement on social media to call for good behaviour across the city with Old Trafford set to be full for the first time since the Manchester derby in March 2020.

He said: ‘It feels like a long time since we last had capacity crowds, but we have worked on hundreds of events in the past and our priority this weekend remains the same.

‘We are working closely with all relevant agencies to ensure that everyone attending can have a safe and enjoyable time.

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‘Last weekend we had the return of league football and it was great to have capacity crowds back at grounds in Bolton, Oldham and Salford where all the matches passed safely and without police incident.

‘The Premier League starts this weekend with Manchester hosting the biggest game of the weekend, 70,000 fans returning to Old Trafford to see Manchester United hosting Leeds United. That’s just one of four matches on our patch on Saturday afternoon.

 

 

 

The post Police to Man Utd, Leeds fans ahead opener: Behave yourself! appeared first on Sporting Life.

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