Manchester United’s first-team stars arrived at Old Trafford today ahead of their rescheduled final Premier League match after it was cancelled when a dummy bomb was found in a toilet.
Greater Manchester Police officers provided security at the Manchester stadium as the players arrived to play Bournemouth, two days after the ground had to be evacuated over the bomb scare.
While Wayne Rooney and his fellow stars were arriving at their home ground at 10am, officers were lining the streets to ensure there was no repeat of the previous security scare.
Police officers line the streets of Manchester ahead of United’s Premier League fixture with Bournemouth
United’s players arrived at Old Trafford in the morning before continuing their usual routine of checking in at their team base at The Lowry Hotel.
The so-called ‘bomb’ proved to be a dummy when it emerged the replica device was left at Old Trafford following a security company’s training exercise.
And the Greater Manchester Police force appear to be taking thorough action in minimising the possibility of another blunder by arriving at Old Trafford more than eight hours before kick-off.
Stewards at Old Trafford have been told not to take bags with them, instead being instructed to travel light in case supporters are asked to do similar later in the day.
Chris Reid has taken responsibility for the high-profile blunder and he fears he will be hung out to dry by the Barclays Premier League outfit.
The terror alert could cost United up to £4million and sources admitted the ‘idiot’ who left the fake bomb was ‘in for a right kicking’.
Mr Reid has admitted he was in a five-man team who used the fake bombs last week but believes the club did not need to abandon the match on Sunday.
He said: ‘I’m sure they’re having meetings at the moment to see which guillotine they’re going to use on me.’
Retired Scotland Yard police chief Mr Reid, who worked on security at London 2012, later told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Look, I’ll be honest, they didn’t need to evacuate the stadium. It was an inanimate device’.
Those who had tickets, including season-ticket holders, have been refunded and will be allowed to attend for free.
On the pitch, United need to defeat Bournemouth by a 19-goal margin if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Manchester City’s draw with Swansea on what was supposed to be the final day of the Premier League season has destroyed United’s chance of finishing in the top four.
United will be hoping for better luck in their bid to win the FA Cup.
The Red Devils face Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
HOW SECURITY FEARS HAVE CAUSED OTHER MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS TO BE ABANDONED IN RECENT YEARS
Wounded people are helped by the emergency services after explosions outside the Stade de France in Paris, France last year
It is not the first time a major sporting event has been abandoned due to security fears.
On November 13 last year, suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, during an international friendly between France and Germany which French President François Hollande was attending.
The first explosion occurred near the stadium about 20 minutes into the match and came just seconds after the ISIS bomber was prevented from entering the stadium when a security guard patted him down and discovered his suicide vest.
A few seconds after being turned away, he detonated the vest, killing himself and a bystander. Investigators later discovered that the bomber had planned to detonate his vest within the stadium, triggering the crowd’s panicked exit onto the streets where two other bombers were lying in wait.
Ten minutes after the first bombing, the second bomber blew himself up near the stadium before a third detonated his vest around 20 minutes later. It occurred during a night of terror attacks on the French capital in which a total of 130 people were killed.
Days later, panic struck again at a German v Holland match in Hanover after officials claimed to have ‘concrete information’ that terrorists were planning to set off explosives inside the stadium.
Fans were turned away from the HDI-Arena just before kick-off and the international friendly was cancelled amid fears terrorists planned to bomb the stadium and then attack those trying to flee the ground.
In the same week, Belgium’s match against Spain – due to be played in Brussels, was also cancelled after a security alert.
It has raised fears of terrorists targeting stadiums across Europe this summer during the Euro 2016 Championship in France.
The tournament will involve the biggest police and security operation ever for a football competition, and fans will have to go through metal detectors before entering stadiums.
England’s games against Russia on June 11 and Wales five days later are on the highest alert.
The most high-profile British sporting event to be postponed in similar circumstances to those of yesterday’s incident was the Grand National horse race in Liverpool in 1997.
On that occasion, an IRA bomb threat forced the evacuation of Aintree racecourse, where about 60,000 spectators were attending. The race was staged two days later.