Army of Man U fans ready to paint Rome red

May 26th, 2009 - 5:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Alex Ferguson London, May 26 (ANI): Thirty thousand Manchester United fans are expected to travel to Rome for Wednesday’s Champion League final, painting the Eternal City red.

Only 20,000 United fans have tickets for the game, but another 10,000 were expected to make the journey, despite pleas not to travel without a ticket.

The Red Army of United fans want to see Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering European and English Champions do battle with the continent’s most dangerous side, FC Barcelona.

The authorities in Rome were bracing themselves for a similar number of Spanish fans, with fears that the high number of ticketless supporters could lead to trouble before kick-off at the Stadio Olimpico, The Independent reports.

In a bid to avoid incidents, city officials have banned the sale of alcohol around the stadium and in airports and stations, from tonight until Thursday morning.

Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno said: “I have asked (interior) minister Roberto Maroni to have maximum attention from the security officers to avoid any incidents. I want to thank them in advance for the work they will carry out.

“To prevent any incidents we have spoken to Rome football fans and asked them to show maximum solidarity,” he added.

Manchester Airport brought in extra staff as it geared up for the busiest two days of the year, with 11 scheduled flights to depart today and 30 on Wednesday.

Fans have been warned by the police that they had no chance of getting into the Stadio Olimpico without a genuine match ticket, which this year resembles a credit card, with personal details of each ticket holder embedded in a micro-chip in each stub.

Supporters will also have to produce photographic identity to confirm they are the legitimate holder, matching the details on the ticket.

Recent European games involving United and Barcelona have passed off trouble-free. But Italian football clubs, especially in Rome, have a number of notorious hooligan gangs, known as Ultras, who it is feared might target travelling fans. (ANI)

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