Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 12:51 UK

Fans fly back after Moscow final

Manchester United fans
Jubilant Manchester United fans have started to arrive home

Thousands of football fans are arriving back in the UK after the Champions League final in Moscow between Manchester United and Chelsea.

Around 40,000 English supporters were at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium to see United win 6-5 in a penalty shoot-out.

No trouble was reported inside or outside the stadium although there had been some scuffles in the city earlier.

Returning United fans were jubilant, but some Chelsea fans complained journey delays had added to their woes.

'Amazing result'

Meanwhile, Manchester United fans are calling for a victory parade through the city to celebrate the result.

But Greater Manchester Police have said that any victory event will take place in the summer, so it can be planned properly to ensure safety.

Some have blamed the trouble caused in Manchester city centre after Glasgow Rangers' defeat in the UEFA Cup for the police's decision.

Arriving at Manchester Airport, Darren Vickers, 43, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, said: "It's unreal. You can't explain in words what it felt like. It was amazing. It's been a pleasure being a Manchester United fan."

It was a nightmare journey home
Lynda Goodger

Christian Raihani, 24, from Manchester, said: "We'd been up for 36 hours, but it was worth it."

Mr Raihani, who spent more than 1,000 on the trip, added: "The amount of money I've had to spend was worrying at first, but it was worth it because we won. I wouldn't want to be a Chelsea fan."

Chelsea supporter Richard Samuels, 25, a scaffolder from Luton, Bedfordshire, said after arriving at Stansted: "I flew out two days ago. We were held up for about four hours going out and delayed for about six hours going back.

"Tired isn't the word. And I thought we deserved to win. But that's football."


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Hospital administrator Lynda Goodger, 56, of Wimbledon, south-west London, said: "I would say we were waiting on the buses at the airport for about two hours.

"We were told there was a problem with one of the planes because a windscreen had broken. It was a nightmare journey home."

She added: "To be honest, it probably wouldn't have been too bad if the result had been different. I think the United fans are still out there celebrating."

Heavy police presence

Supporters flying back to Stansted airport were greeted by a heavy police presence after trouble flared outside Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground after the match.

Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe, who was in Russia for the match, praised both sets of travelling supporters.

He told the BBC: "We wanted to have a fantastic event last night, which we did. The fans behaved themselves.

There were 50,000 of them from England, and I particularly congratulate the Chelsea fans, because it's easy to be well-behaved when you are elated by victory but they were very dignified in defeat
William Gaillard
Uefa

"We're looking forward to bidding for the 2018 World Cup and of course this was a good product, which was seen all over Europe."

It has emerged that one English fan managed to get to the match despite being the subject of a stadium ban.

He was spotted by specialist UK officers, who had travelled to Russia to help with policing, was escorted to the airport and will be dealt with by British authorities.

Uefa director of communications William Gaillard said the incident showed the system to weed out potential troublemakers was working well.

He praised the behaviour of fans in Moscow, saying: "There were 50,000 of them from England, and I particularly congratulate the Chelsea fans, because it's easy to be well-behaved when you are elated by victory but they were very dignified in defeat."

In England 12 Chelsea fans were arrested on suspicion of public disorder offences after scuffles with police in west London after the game,

A crowd of 200 had gathered near Fulham Broadway Tube station after watching in various pubs close to the club's Stamford Bridge stadium. Police said some became noisy and abusive and bottles and "street furniture" were thrown.

In Moscow, the only trouble came a few hours before the game, when a dozen young Russians threw glass bottles at Chelsea fans drinking outside a popular bar.

The BBC's Richard Galpin described the atmosphere in the Russian capital as generally "positive and peaceful".


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