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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 10:22 GMT
Police warn Wenger and Ferguson
Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have been urged to end their feud by the Metropolitan Police.

Manchester United are due to play at Arsenal on 1 February and Barry Norman, the commander of the Islington borough, has appealed for calm.

"Any activity in the build-up to the game which increases the intensity and hostility of the supporters should be stopped," said Norman.

The League Managers' Association has also called for an end to the row.

The animosity between the two rivals has intensified since the so-called pizza-throwing incident following the match between United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in October.

And Norman, who is in charge of match-day security at Highbury, told the Evening Standard: "If there is intense rivalry between the two sets of fans, which there is, then anything which increases that is unhelpful.

People can easily become more agitated and aggressive
Police commander Barry Norman

"The difference with the United game is simply that the intense playing rivalry can permeate into the crowd.

"People can easily become more agitated and aggressive towards supporters of the other team."

Both Arsenal and United rejected a plan by Football Association chairman Geoff Thompson to organise a summit between the two clubs.

Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein and United chief executive David Gill are understood to be keen for the dispute to end but are unwilling to draw further attention to the situation by releasing a joint statement.

Even Sports Minister Richard Caborn has entered the debate, urging the pair to clam down and concentrate on doing their jobs properly.

"We have had the pantomime. Let's now have the serious stuff," he said.

"They are two of the best managers in the world and they are a credit to English football.

"Let's get back to them doing what they do best and that's managing damn good football teams."

LMA chief executive John Barnwell reckons both managers need to put an end to the dispute, which has seen Ferguson claim Wenger is "a disgrace" and the Arsenal manager accuse his counterpart of losing "credibility".

"The nearer you get to the end line emotions could get higher, but this one is perhaps a step too far," said Barnwell.

There will be 180 police officers on duty at Highbury, twice as many as normal.

The match is one of three Premiership fixtures classified as high risk, along with the matches against Tottenham and Chelsea.

Interview: Sports Minister Richard Caborn

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