By Chris Myson
Manchester United supporters have been urged to show caution throughout their stay in Istanbul as the Red Devils prepare to face Galatasaray in the Champions League.
The Foreign Office have released a string of guidelines amidst concerns there could be a repeat of United’s 1993 trip to play the Turkish side, which was marred by violence off the pitch.
A total of 178 United fans were arrested on that visit after a number of clashes with home fans away from the stadium, including one which smashed up an Istanbul hotel. The match itself was not free of ugly scenes either, with a brawl breaking out between the two sets of players.
United players were infamously greeted with 'Welcome to Hell' banners and a vociferous reception from local fans after their arrival in Turkey before they were defeated on away goals in the Champions League tie.
Authorities in the UK and Turkey have been stringent with security arrangements and planning as they desperately try to ensure the fixture goes through without any unsavoury incidents this time around.
Representatives of Manchester United, Greater Manchester Police and The FA all visited Istanbul early in November to look at security arrangements. They met with Galatasaray officials, local authorities and with the British Embassy in Turkey.
United will be issuing their fans with their tickets themselves upon arrival in Istanbul and club officials will take that opportunity to provide specific matchday information to supporters on the trip.
English fans have been advised to take up the offer of specially-arranged transport to and from the stadium, with the Foreign Office saying local police are concerned about potential clashes and keen to ensure they are not mixing with home fans as they travel to the ground.
On the pitch, the game is not of huge significance for United, with them having already won their first four games and secured top spot in Group H. Galatasaray are locked in a three-way battle with CFR Cluj and Braga for the second qualifying place.