Updated: Saturday, 16th November 2019 @ 10:52pm

'Borthwick-Jackson would be good in a war zone!': Man Utd players' video of bus attack sparks mixed response

'Borthwick-Jackson would be good in a war zone!': Man Utd players' video of bus attack sparks mixed response

| By Matt Ford

As Manchester United’s team bus came under attack from West Ham United supporters outside Upton Park last night, the players inside took out their phones to record their experience.

But reaction to the video has been mixed.

Kick-off in West Ham’s final ever match at Upton Park was delayed by 45 minutes when the visiting Manchester United team bus became stuck in a crowd of supporters on Green Street in East London.

Initially reported as ‘rush-hour traffic’ outside the ground, it quickly became clear via social media that the bus had in fact come under attack from a hail of bottles and other objects thrown by West Ham supporters, smashing the black-tinted windows of the team’s bus. 

Following the match – which West Ham won 3-2 – a video filmed by Manchester United striker Jesse Lingard from inside the team bus appeared online.

It showed United’s players piled on the floor of the coach laughing and joking whilst Lingard appeared to sarcastically cry for his ‘mummy’ as he filmed the scene.

But the players have been criticised for their reaction, with has been variously described by fans as ‘childish,’ ‘embarrassing,’ and, ‘pathetic.’

Speaking on Manchester United’s official television channel, MUTV, former United and Celtic midfielder Lou Macari was equally disparaging, questioning the professionalism of the players.

 “I just don’t believe it,” he said.

“We talk about preparation but how you can be involved in such an important game and even think about your telephone is just beyond me.”

However, journalist and editor of the award-winning Manchester United fanzine United We Stand, Andy Mitten, was more understanding.

"I'm sure the people having a pop at the players' reactions have got loads of experience of what it's like being on a bus under attack from a large crowd,” he told MM.

“When Real Madrid's bus came under attack from Barcelona fans in 2001, the players also got down, I think that's a natural reaction.

“What's the alternative, make yourself a target for people throwing bottles, offer to fight a thousand pissed up idiots?

“I liked Cameron Borthwick-Jackson's non-plussed reaction, though... he'd be good in a war zone.”

Mitten did question the wisdom of publishing such a video on the internet, but conceded that social media is part and parcel of modern life.

"Should the footage have been posted? Probably not,” he said.

“But these are the times we live in, the footage fed the voracious demand around the story for a little longer."

United’s defeat piled more pressure on manager Louis van Gaal and left their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League hanging in the balance.

They must beat Bournemouth at Old Trafford in the final game of the season on Sunday and hope that Manchester City lose away at Swansea, or it will be Europa League football for the Reds next year.

Barney Chilton, editor of Red News, another popular United fanzine, thinks that the fallout from the bus attack is in danger of distracting from what has been a ‘cluster-fuck of a season’ from a United side lacking in leaders.

“I'm not really bothered about what happened on the bus,” he told MM.

“It's not great that it's happened but I don't care if the players film it, scream, hiss, pee themselves or crawl into the ground; all that matters is what happened on the pitch.

“I feared they may be intimidated [by the attack] but we lack leaders and that all stems from the pitch.

“Our focus should be on our poor away form and the inevitability that we would blow the [2-1] lead.”

It was the second time in a month that United’s team coach has arrived late for a Premier League fixture in London.

On April 10, kick-off against Tottenham Hotspur was delayed by 30 minutes after the visitors were caught in traffic around White Hart Lane.

And, given the intensity of the occasion with so many West Hams thronging the streets, Chilton cannot understand how United could plan their journey to the stadium so poorly.

“I was outside the ground at 6pm and it was mobbed with giraffes acting up.

“How the hell United thought they could arrive late again is beyond me.

“But our focus, the FA Cup apart, should be on this disaster of a season rather than some a bunch of giddy, drunk West Ham fans.”

United head to Wembley to face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on Saturday May 21.

Image courtesy of DeeMan Gaming, via YouTube, with thanks.