You May Laugh But Jose Mourinho Is Right To Be Worried About Manchester Traffic Tonight
Even in the afterglow of a famous win in Turin, Jose Mourinho wanted to talk about the Manchester traffic.
United were fined for turning up late at a game at Old Trafford earlier this season which still seems frankly comical. Mourinho had a pop at the Greater Manchester Police for not giving his team an escort from the Lowry Hotel in Salford to Old Trafford - meaning the United players were on the last minute. And after the win over Juventus, he raved about how good the team coach's escort from the Italian police.
Since then, United have made Hotel Football - which is a goal kick away from the Theatre of Dreams - their pre-match base. Mourinho has walked through crowds of fans to get to the stadium in the past and he might be doing it again tonight when Young Boys are in town.
Thousands of Young Boys fans are expected to descend on the city centre, meaning road closures and diversions which will impact on thousands of Manchester office workers. Many people are working from home today, all too mindful of the last time there was a rolling roadblock in the city when bus journeys that should have taken half an hour were taking three times that.
When you throw into the mix the Christmas markets - which are currently in full swing in Manchester - you can understand why the traffic has become such a sore point for the United manager who is usually accused of parking the bus rather than being stuck in traffic.
“We decided to change hotel, so we are not coming from Manchester city centre,” said Mourinho though he should know by now that the Lorwry Hotel is actually in Salford.
“We are going to stay in hotel just a few metres away and the information I have from the club and the club contacts with the police is that things are going to be much better than the last time. But if it isn’t better, I walk!”
Greater Manchester Police Chief Superintendent Graeme Openshaw and Match Commander for the game said: “We are working closely with Manchester United Football Club, local councils and Transport for Greater Manchester to ensure we do everything possible to minimise disruption.
“The supporters will be escorted to the stadium at around 4.30pm from Shambles Square, during which time traffic will be temporarily stopped on several roads but we’ll endeavour to keep traffic flowing wherever possible.
“Those travelling to Old Trafford to watch the game should allow plenty of time to contend with traffic and security checks at the stadium and we would ask commuters and motorists to plan their journeys in advance and take into account the large volume of people that will be in and around the area during this time.”