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Man Utd at fault after fan dies falling head first down Old Trafford stand

Man Utd at fault after fan dies falling head first down Old Trafford stand


Manchester United’s failings contributed directly to the death of a fan at Old Trafford.

John Whale, 80, died after falling headfirst down concrete steps during the defeat to Manchester City in December 2017.

Old Trafford stewards were found to be at fault after lifelong supporter Mr Whale attempted to leave the match around 10 minutes before full-time, reports the Mail .

At a three-day inquest, CCTV footage showed two stewards blocking an exit from the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, as they watched the match.

Mr Whale attempted to reach the handrail at the side of the exit, unbeknown to the stewards, but failed to do so and plunged down the concrete steps as a result.

He died the following day at Salford Royal Hospital due to the head injuries he sustained.

Manchester United’s stadium was last renovated in 2006

Man Utd at fault after fan dies falling head first down Old Trafford stand
The fatal accident happened at the Manchester derby in 2017

The cause of Mr Whale’s death was ruled as accidental with no blame apportioned. Police also found no evidence of criminal activity.

But three contributory factors were stated as stewards blocking the exit, the access to both handrails, and their lack of awareness of their suroundings.

Coroner Alison Mutch OBE was moved to write a ‘Report to Prevent Future Deaths’ to the club and local authority – and warned future deaths could occur unless action is taken.

Manchester United were also not found to have filed an accident report after the fatal fall.

Man Utd at fault after fan dies falling head first down Old Trafford stand
Manchester United have been warned further deaths could occur

The inquest raised serious concerns over the safety of fans at Old Trafford, with the 74,879-capacity stadium last renovated 13 years ago.

A United spokesperson told the Mail changes have been made to improve the safety and welfare of fans.

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“Everyone at Manchester United was deeply saddened by the death of Mr Whale and the club continues to extend its sincere condolences to his family,” the statement read.

“The health and safety of all supporters and visitors at Old Trafford is of utmost importance to Manchester United and we go to great lengths to ensure procedures are monitored and adhered to at all times.”



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