Manchester United’s singing section at Old Trafford will not take part in their upcoming cup matches against Crystal Palace and Galatasaray after being led to believe they have been classified as a ‘risk group’.
The Red Army are a group of United supporters who have been aiming to improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford in recent years.
A unanimous decision was taken not to run the singing section for United’s Carabao Cup tie against Palace on September 26 and Champions League match versus Galatasaray on October 3.
Following talks with the club, The Red Army had been advised that any group being identified as a ‘risk’ could have serious implications on them or anyone who is part of it.
United have since released a statement to supporters saying that they have “never considered or classified The Red Army a ‘risk group’.”
They said that following the placement of the group in a section at Old Trafford for United’s Europa League match against Barcelona last season, local authorities stated to them that The Red Army may be a ‘risk’ group. That was then discussed with the leaders of The Red Army and it was agreed United’s Chief Operating Officer would meet with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to question the logic of that assessment.
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A statement added: “Our Chief Operating Officer met with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and received confirmation that The Red Army were not classified as a ‘risk group of supporters’. The above clarification was shared with The Red Army on 26 May 2023.
“We have not had any further updates from GMP to say they have reclassified The Red Army as risk supporters and we do not expect to. We are disappointed that The Red Army are not running the section for these cup games as these fixtures represent two very important matches in key competitions and the atmosphere section plays such a vital role in supporting the team in the big moments.
“We are proud of what has been achieved and the support that section provides to Erik (ten Hag) and his team, and we will continue to try to work with the The Red Army as it is not in the interests of the team, the fans and The Red Army members that the section is not operational.”
The Red Army was formed in 2017 following several trial sections where areas of Old Trafford have been given over to fans who wanted to make a difference. They currently occupy the right-hand corner of the Stretford End, in the 3,800 section that used to be the family stand.
Since its introduction, United have also made efforts with safe standing sections at their home stadium. Before the start of this season, the club announced a further 2,100 additional rail seats – taking the total to more than 6,000 – in the south-west quadrant, adjoining the Stretford End and the area The Red Army occupies.
The Red Army is a separate fan association from The 1958 – a group that has been leading protests against United’s owners, the Glazer family.
On August 26, The 1958 organised a 60 minute sit-in protest against the Glazer family following United’s 3-2 victory over Nottingham Forest.
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(Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)