A controlled explosion has been carried out at Old Trafford after a suspect package was found before Manchester United’s match against Bournemouth. Greater Manchester Police described the device as “incredibly lifelike” but confirmed it “wasn’t viable”. The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and the Stretford End were evacuated before the game and sniffer dogs brought in. Kick-off, due at 3pm, was delayed and shortly afterwards the match was abandoned on police advice. A bomb disposal team carried out the explosion at about 4:30pm.
Just under two hours earlier, an “operation red code” alert had been heard over the public address system, and the players who were warming up had left the field. Fans were then advised that, because of “the discovery of a suspect package in the north-west quadrant of the ground, the match has been abandoned for today on police advice”. Supporters who were still in the ground were advised to stay in their seats while the forecourt was cleared of fans who had been in the two stands that were evacuated. The Premier League has announced it is looking to rearrange the match as soon as possible. “The game will definitely need to be played but there are logistical issues that need to be resolved,” a statement read.