How Manchester United will prevent Dortmund-style attack: Snipers, metal detectors and a £400,000 'battle bus'

Man United 'Battle Bus': How protected are the team as they travel to Brussels after the Borussia Dortman bombings?

The team's security team has left nothing to chance

Thursday, April 13, 2017

This evening Manchester United face off against Anderlecht in a crucial Europa League clash in Brussels, in an atmosphere which will be even more tense than usual in light of Tuesday's terror attack in Dortmund.

The attack, which left Dortmund defender Marc Bartra injured, has sparked fears of a repeat in cities across Europe. These fears are particularly acute tonight, given that Brussels has witnessed its own terror attacks in recent months - notably last year's train-and-airport assault which killed 32 people - and United are one of the most famous sports teams on the planet.

Unsurprisingly, United have taken extra security measures to prevent any repeat of Tuesday's attack. In fact their security operation this evening will be more akin to a visit from the US president than a Premier League football team.

Reports suggests a team of armed police will shadow the bus as it makes its way to the ground, supported by snipers on the ground and police helicopters in the sky. 

As if this elite force wasn't enough, United will have their own security detail, a team of two or three guards travelling with the team to deal with anything unforeseen.

United's team coach will be forensically combed with metal detectors before it sets off to ensure no devices have been planted. This is actually an established practice: security chiefs performed the same procedure before a match in Russia against FC Rostov, several weeks ago.

At the ground itself, the crowd of 26,000 people will be forced to undergo what have been described as "enhanced security checks." Bags are now routinely searched at United's Old Trafford stadium and several other Premier League grounds, but tonight they are banned from the stadium altogether.

Battle Bus

United suffered an attack only 11 months ago, when West Ham fans launched a volley of beer bottles at their coach as it passed through east London.

Yet the coach sustained only minor damage that night, emerging with only a few dents despite the huge amount of bottles pelted at it. In fact the vehicle is so secure that it has even been labelled the 'Battle Bus' in some quarters.

United use a type of double-decker bus called the Exclusive Astromega, which is hired from the company Eavesway. Worth an estimated £400,000, it comes with all manner of luxurious fripperies - from a lower-deck kitchen to a multiscreen system with Sky TV - and it is specially designed to withstand external attacks, its reinforced windows built to buckle, rather than shatter, in the event of blast or assault.

So United's millions of fans around the world should rest assured... whatever happens on the pitch in Belgium tonight, the club have taken every possible precaution to ensure nothing takes place off it.

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