Implications of the Manchester Tragedy

By Kevin Whitcher

Security at Arsenal matches is good, but it will be stepped up even more

Today doesnít feel like a day to post anything about the relative trivia of sport, which ultimately, is a form of entertainment. In different ways, in spite of that, we have seen numerous unnecessary and avoidable tragedies in football stadiums. The attempted attack at Stade de France back in the late autumn of 2015 saw measures introduced at the Emirates and other grounds that involved searches for more than just the cans, bottles and knives of the past. Supporters regularly turn up with minutes to go before kick off and with the current measures, many do not get into their seats until well after the game has already started.

One thing that does happen while the game is in progress is that the initial security cordon some distance from the turnstiles remains in place, on the footprint of what is Arsenalís property. So people cannot approach the stadium without the need for a search of their bags (and presumably body searches where there is any suspicion). Additionally, in the final minutes of the game, exit doors are opened, but manned to prevent anyone entering the stadium. What seems to have happened at the Manchester Arena last night is that people were able to enter the main foyer of the venue. The vast majority of the people who did this would have been parents waiting to collect children who had attended the concert. So a suicide bomber was able to access the area without being challenged. No doubt this will change, but it is reassuring to know that a similar incident would not be so easy to achieve at the exits of the Emirates.

Having said that, it isnít difficult to work out there are other areas on matchday where large crowds of people gather where we are all vulnerable. Even though the current security arrangements have avoided any incident at a match in England, it is inevitable they will be stepped up. Iíd planned to enter Wembley Stadium approximately 45 minutes before the final next Saturday. Now, I think Iíll aim to be there half an hour earlier. I can foresee next season the searches at the Emirates will be even more thorough.

I attended ten matches at Euro2016. The security searches there were intense, the occasional individual body and bag searcher even way over the top, although some fans managed to get flares into stadiums. Ultimately, the tournament passed off peacefully, aside from some hooligan skirmishing. The fears regarding a terrorist incident were justified though, as an attack in one of the host venue cities, Nice, a matter of days after the tournament had finished, is still fresh in the memory.

So, the security at stadiums is certainly far more likely to prevent an attack than it was at the Manchester Arena, but the bottom line is that we are all vulnerable to this kind of attack because, at some stage on matchdays, we are part of a crowd in public areas where individuals are not subject to searches. If I am brutally honest, I am surprised there hasnít been an incident, given the current climate.

Apologies this has been a bit of a stream of consciousness, but itís to say three things -
1. A similar incident is less likely to occur in the immediate vicinity of the Emirates.
2. People will need to get to the stadium earlier next season if they wish to see the kick-off, as I can foresee searches being even more thorough Ė weíll get a good idea of this on Saturday at Wembley.
3. There are still many occasions, on matchdays and otherwise, where any of us could fall victim to such an attack. Be wary and take care.

Thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the events of last night, which makes all the football debate feel pretty trivial today.

23rd May 2017 09:32:27


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

MAF  13:24pm 23rd May 2017

This is a great article on Arsenal / Kroenke / Board www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/may/23/arsenal-stan-kroenke-owner-investor-leech-alisher-usmanov - Post No. 107388

mbg  13:51pm 23rd May 2017

Yes fair play to Arsenal this is where they get everything right, Security, having lived through the troubles and seen it all, and indeed witnessing incidents on more than one occasion so my heart goes out to those involved and caught up, and certainly wouldn't like to see it coming (and remember it's not the first time it's came to Manchester)to the Emirates or indeed any Prem ground, as good as security is unfortunately as the saying goes the terrorist only has to be lucky once, Security, the police, security forces have to be lucky all the time. - Post No. 107389

jeff wright  16:25pm 23rd May 2017

All Western countries with Muslim populations are now going to have to face the reality of these type of suicide attacks becoming common place. Unfortunately no lessons appear to have been learned from the London underground ones years ago by some who still have their heads stuck in the sand in denial of problems with some Muslims that they refuse to admit exist.I was watching the Sky newspaper tomorrow's newspaper review last night the Mirror associate editor, whatever that means, Kevin Mc'Guire was on sprouting off about something to do with nMay and his hero Corbyn when the bombing story broke live on air.He immediately went into denial of it being a terrorist attack and ludicrously claimed that the reported fatalities and injuries were probably caused by kids panicking on hearing a loud bang and injuring each other in the mass panic to leave the building. Similar claims were made about the London bombings when the news first broke with electric failures being put up as likely to have caused them by one idiot on the BBC . Says a lot though this about some people in the media like Mc'Guire and their attitude toward truth and reality . - Post No. 107390

Alsace  20:31pm 23rd May 2017

Good article Kevin. I feel the searches at AFC to be insufficient And half hearted. The searches should be thorough. You need to make it a tough nut to crack. That being said, the stuff which I read today about the casualties made me very sad and very angry. These incidents must be terrifying for 99.9 per cent of Muslim families who just want to live and work in safety and in peace. We need a word to define the self centred scumb@gs who do these things which does not mention their ethnic or religious origin. - Post No. 107391

shu  22:06pm 23rd May 2017

The walkways after the game where it bottlenecks down the stairs are dodgy areas , i think the security needs to be further out and to continue to atleast one hour after the game. - Post No. 107392

Exeter Gunner  9:39am 24th May 2017

Using this tragedy as a soapbox for right wing politics and to spread even more division is just appalling. All that's achieved by it is to foment ideas in the minds of more half-crazy loners. - Post No. 107394

The Man From UNCLE  9:45am 24th May 2017

I don't know about security inside stadiums, we might need to be more aware of security immediately outside. Not much anyone could do about that short of putting a ring of steel around the stadiums. - Post No. 107395

gooner.ed  9:52am 24th May 2017

To be honest, at the first checkpoints outside the stadiums at Euro2016, I felt very vulnerable. They were real bottlenecks that often moved at a snail's pace. Anyone attending Italy v Ireland in Lille or a game at the Parc des Princes will testify to that. I was grateful that nothing happened at the tournament, but my God, the possibility and opportunity was unquestionably there. - Post No. 107396

Yes its Ron  10:29am 24th May 2017

Its an appalling incident and tragedy. Sadly becoming more and more common. I find the media coverage of it quite poor though. Its all about re inforcing widespread fear, stoking up imagery of the 'enemy' that they say we must have etc. Generating the notion that our society is far more morally correct than any other and so forth. The only genuine grief is for those families affected. Once again this frenzied rush to share and be seen to be sharing in their grief is in my view inappropriate and distasteful. The powers that be who manufacture and direct it to be done by all and sundry and for the shared expressions of contempt to be fed through news media channels are fooling nobody. The headlong rush by news anchor people, self serving politicians and the so called great and the good to have 'to be there, on the scene' with deeply furrowed brows, exhorting how our 'superiors'are there to 'look after us' is to a large extent stomach churning. May and her Cohorts, Jezza and his, the Archbishops and his mob are only concerned about them and their safety. The lives of ordinary folk and the effects of all this upon their lives doesn't even get on their radar unless theirs political brownie points to be gained from it. They should all f--k off and leave the Police and the stricken families to deal with and handle it in the way that only they choose. EG is totally correct in his condemnation of whats happening in its aftermath, just to gain political capital for the right wing guttersnipes who run this Country. - Post No. 107397

The Man From UNCLE  10:38am 24th May 2017

Ron; I couldn't agree more. Some of those poor people haven't even been identified yet and already the Virtue Signallers are out in force with their hashtags, lighting candles and holding hands singing Kumbaya around the camp fire. Ghastly. The powers that be will only do something about it when it affects them directly. We plebs can all go to hell. - Post No. 107398

jeff wright  12:45pm 24th May 2017

Shades of the mass hysteria mourning that followed on the Princess Diana death regarding the current events in Manchester . Some people are attracted to these tragedy's like moths to a light or ghouls are to car crashes ,etc . The right wingers however are not the only ones trying to make capital out of the atrocity Corbyn ,the middle class plastic anarchist and friend to terrorists , who to paraphrase Tony Adams, couldnt fight his way out of a paper bag, has also waded in he was quick out of the blocks to express his condemnation of the mass slaughter of children and others by the suicide bomber but he has since claimed that it was a 'lone wolf' incident. Personally I place much of the blame for the current problems with some Muslims , all the suicide bombers are Muslims,so no point in trying to pretend otherwise,at the door of the idiotic Mr Tony Blair, who unbelievable despite having caused havoc when he was in power is now attempting a comeback with a new political party that he is forming. He called his last one 'New Labour' I can't wait to see what his latest one is called .Old Rubbish though would not be a bad name for it. - Post No. 107406

Yes its Ron  13:37pm 24th May 2017

TMFU - On the button mate. Nation statehood summed up there in a nutshell. Politicians of all persuasions and all them in the framework of the modern State machinery, without exception couldn't give a monkeys f--k and especially even more so, when these things happen outside of the Capital. - Post No. 107407

A Cornish Gooner  19:55pm 24th May 2017

A question for some of the 'Virtue Signalling' posters today. If there was an atrocity in the town or city nearest to you and your eight year old daughter was killed, what sort of reaction would you prefer. A nationwide show of sympathy, even if it is a bit OTT, or a nationwide response of 'it's nothing to do with us, just let them get on with it in their own way'? And what is worse the OTT display of sympathy or the slagging off of all and sundry by some posters on a football web site? - Post No. 107422

jeff wright  22:30pm 24th May 2017

I can't speak for others but personally I feel gutted for the victims and their families . There are some however who are attracted by these atrocities and appear on the scene of them hanging around to get seen on TV while claiming solidarity with the families and it's these sort of people that I referred to. On reflection my comments on the Princess Di type hysteria were wrong and I withdraw them .One would hope that everyone feels sympathetic toward the victims and their families .Just feeling sorry for them though will not stop it happening again. It's easy to have lofty ivory tower idealistic views on freedom of speech and movement for all when it's others paying the butchers bill for it.It takes two to tango so while we have to be tolerant of others they believe that they are justified in committing barbaric acts against innocent people when they want to do so. Or they are sick psycho's who get a thrill out of killing and maiming others and use 'causes' to try and justify it. - Post No. 107425

Arseneknewbest  7:11am 25th May 2017

Am I the only person that finds Jeff's comments appallingly crass? This is a truly terrible event, one that is replicated across the world all-too-often including in parts of the middle east. Innocent people being cut down by extremists claiming to be acting for their own version of god. But for Jeff to use this sad occasion to get on his islamophobic high horse does not help and merely serves to pour petrol on the fire. And mentioning Corbyn in the same text as your first two rants is despicable: have you no shame? Corbyn is a pacifist at heart so tying him up with this is below contempt. Jeff - shut your cowardly dish up for once and let people mourn their lost relatives without needing to read the kind of over-simplistic, extremist, daily mail-inspired sh*t you're so fond of. Take a break if you can't keep to the anti-wengo narrative. - Post No. 107429

jeff wright  8:12am 25th May 2017

AKB give the preaching a rest I suggest you read my posts properly before making false acusations about my Islamophobia. As for Corby what fuc*ing planet are you living on pal.He is no more a pacifist than Stalin was ! You couldn't make it up . - Post No. 107430

Exeter Gunner  11:37am 25th May 2017

AKBest, in my comment above I had in mind Katie Hopkins, Allison Pearson... and then Jeff's first comment. Under an article on this tragedy he's opportunistically spied a chance to have a go at his Daily Mail inspired pet bugbears of the Muslim community, the BBC and Corbyn. He then compounds this with his further comments, culminating in comparing Corbyn to Stalin. He simply lacks the tact and sensitivity to see how grossly inappropriate his comments are in this context. - Post No. 107434

jeff wright  11:56am 25th May 2017

Oh yes Corbyn that well known supporter and friend of terrorists! Exeter can you stop putting words in my mouth that I have not said .That's what your pal AKB does you and him are like Pinky and Perky ,you see one then the other appears.I said SOME Muslims not all of them are a problem.Is that not self evident though >? I feel sorry for those decent Muslims who reported the latest nut job among them to the Police warning them about him for years but nothing was done about it .His sister says the nutter killed the children because Americans were bombing Muslims .Now I myself oppose the bombing of civilians by Americans and any one else come to that ,unlike your hero Corbyn who just pretends to do so but I don't go out in the street murdering my fellow citizens because of it. Corbyn is a creep and traitor to boot . Jerry Adams said the other day that Corbyn was a supporter of their terror bombing campaign and fundamental to supporting them in the UK. Corbyn also opposed the Good Friday agreement he's just another little Stalin and no pacifist... I will offer you a truce here Exeter if you and AKB stop telling lies about me I will stop telling the truth about you. - Post No. 107436

Exeter Gunner  12:11pm 25th May 2017

And on he goes, trying to make political capital out of the Manchester tragedy. It's a sickness... - Post No. 107437

jeff wright  12:31pm 25th May 2017

No the sick one is you with your lies .You really are a very pathetic and sad individual. You are fooling no one though . It's no surprise however that you support and believe in Corbyn .Even though he's been proven wrong about everything that he supported and is leading the Labour Party into disaster at the election. Says it all really. - Post No. 107439

jeff wright  12:55pm 25th May 2017

By the way Exeter , you ex pot smoking sandal wearing lefty loony ! Why don't you try growing up and acting your age ATROCITY : "An extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence death or injury... is a more fitting description of the Manchester events." Left to idiots like you living safely far away from such things that could affect you or your family such atrocity's will happen again. Instead of bleating on in outrage at my comments why don't you instead enlighten us with your own views on how society should try to stop these atrocities from occurring. As it is all we get is that right wing fanatics are making capital out of them .Jesus wept,just how stupid can someone be to believe that this is the answer. Also Exeter you dingbat brained oaf offering your support to a man who has spent a lifetime supporting the vilest terrorist organizations in recent history doesn't really give you any moral right to criticize anyone who makes extremist comments . I can criticize Hopkins for her vile comments and do but you would be better off just saying nothing because all you are doing is making yourself look like an idiot.That is of course easy for you to do. - Post No. 107440

Exeter Gunner  14:14pm 25th May 2017

Jeff - your comments come across like you're inferring the Leader of the Opposition is supportive of and glad the Manchester bombing took place. If this is not your intention you'd be well advised to just shut up now. - Post No. 107447

jeff wright  14:47pm 25th May 2017

Only you would think that Exeter .My comments about Corbyn would easily be understood by normal folk who would easily also grasp my point that you supporting Corbyn with his lifetime well known support for terrorist organizations does not give you any moral right to criticize others who make extremist comments. You can do so from a political point of view and that is what you have done but not from an holier than thou moral one. I have never said that Corbyn's comments on the Manchester atrocity suggested that he supported it.He in fact condemned it. But then contrary to all the known evidence said that he believed it was a lone wolf incident. I can see though why he would want that to be so given his own past involvement with the IRA and their organized bombing campaigns in the UK So a lone nutter buliding that sophisticated bomb rather than an organized gang with political motives is more preferable to Corbyn with the election in mind . Anyway, Exeter you have still not given us your views on how this problem with the suicide bombers should be solved. Just ranting on about right wing extremists using the incidents to make capital out of is not the answer but that appears to be the only thing that you have to offer. Sad really. - Post No. 107450

Exeter Gunner  15:40pm 25th May 2017

I don't know how you 'solve the problem' of suicide bombers, and nor to you. If some unhinged person attaches themselves to a demented cause and is prepared to die for it all you can do is try and preempt that with international detective work. What you don't do is tip more unbalanced people into committing such actions by dropping $16m bombs onto desert villages... or throwing implications out there... and then rowing back on them when called out on it. The latter is what you do, isn't it Jeff? "Oh of course there are decent Muslims... of course I'm not implying Corbyn supports the bombing" after going on and on about his support for terrorism within the context of an article about the Manchester terrorist act. There are loads of people like you, Jeff, who don't even have the courage of their convictions. Cowards. Oh and by the way - if you can get whipped up into a frenzy by a few comments by a 'dingbat brained oaf' who has got you to admit you are, in your own words, a 'ring wing extremist' after I accused you of making political capital, then what does that say about your own intellect? - Post No. 107452

mbg  15:58pm 25th May 2017

Ron, I couldn't agree more with you mate, and believe me I've been there and seen it all, they'd all sicken you, the politicians, the church leaders, the media, all the fat cats you mention spouting off now trying to gain brownie points even votes on others grief, looking sorrowful, when it's all over and the last coffin had been lowered they'll all move on to something else, (the next atrocity or piece of news etc) the only ones left who really care will be the family's, the loved ones, the real Victims, and more often than not to fend for themselves. - Post No. 107453

jeff wright  16:54pm 25th May 2017

I think that you are despicable yourself Exeter by making excuses for these suicide bombers the Americans killing children by bombing only in your deluded lefty Corbyn la la land could be used for that. Anyway let's examine that excuse,the Americans kill some children by bombing villages ,albeit most of these atrocities have been done by Assad and the Russians ,who Corbo supports and has publicly refused to condemn for doing it, but hey this is Corbo la la land right or rather very left... so this suicide bomber is upset over the yanks killing kids ...fair enough but why then if the killing of innocent kids upsets him so much does he deliberately go and target killing some of them himself>? Now if he had blown up American AirForce personal it would make some sense ,but he did not right or rather in your case left. Sorry Exeter but your hypothesis just does not make any sense.The again very little that you post politically does do. I know why he targeted those kids at that concert it's because they were a soft target with no proper security in place to stop them and it was a political bombing to cause outrage and fear and nothing to do with Americans bombing kids. And despite Corbo's bleatings the nutter did not act alone right,sorry left.Now it seems to me Exeter that this nut job given all that was known about him,one of his own family and various other Muslims had warned the police about him for 5 years , should have been prevented from doing that. For starters anyone who goes abroad to conspire with known extremists or fight with them should not be allowed to wander freely around in this country when they return .Those of us who travel abroad face a nightmare going through the various searches and controls that have had to be put in place due the antics of these nutters who want to blow us up .So it seems reasonable to me that anyone suspected of being a possible bomber should get some grief themselves and never mind their 'human rights' .Even this will not stop the carnage completely but it might help to stop some of it.The fact that you think Corbyn the friend of terrorist murders whom he has spoken of in glowing terms a'la IRA boss McGuiness recently and you still see him being fit to lead the Labour Party is all I need to know about you Exeter. You couldn't make it up. - Post No. 107455

Exeter Gunner  20:30pm 25th May 2017

To think you accuse others of putting words in your mouth... I shall leave you to your ugly Daily Mail fantasy world with some words we definitely both did say. Me:"And on Jeff goes, trying to make political capital out of the Manchester tragedy." Jeff: "Just ranting on about right wing extremists using the incidents to make capital out of is not the answer" - Post No. 107460

jeff wright  21:24pm 25th May 2017

Coming from apologist for the Manchester atrocity this realy is a bit much.But ho hum as the actress said to the bishop it takes all sorts. - Post No. 107463

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