THE MANCHESTER BOMBING: City Shows Its Defiance by Throwing a Euro 96 Party
James Cusick, Michael Streeter and Jojo Moyes, The Independent (London, England)
The doors of Manchester's Anglican Cathedral, 200 yards from the scene the IRA bomb, were closed yesterday for the first time since the Blitz. And the city's normally bustling commercial centre was silent as forensic squads probed the remains of the destruction.
But Manchester showed its defiance by throwing its latest Euro 96 football party. Fans from the opposing Group C teams of Germany and Russia joined others from Britain and the rest of Europe in flooding into the Old Trafford stadium in sweltering sunshine. Shirts from clubs around the world were in evidence, and police reported no arrests before the match and the good- natured and carefree atmosphere which has become the hallmark of the competition.
Visitors were undeterred by the terrorist menace, determined that nothing would interfere with their enjoyment. Joachim Braun, from Monheim, Germany, said: "I had to phone my mother to say I was OK. She was very frightened and anxious when she heard about the bomb. But it is good to be here. I love football and I wouldn't let something like that stop me coming here."
Clemens Voegele and Bernhard Fritz, from Konstanz, also in Germany, arrived in Manchester yesterday hours before the game at the start of a 10-day visit to the championship. "We heard about the bomb before we left home. Our family did not want us to come but we were not scared," said Mr Voegele.
Away from the grounds, the security ring thrown up by police was still in force, with officers turning away curious pedestrians. The inner "sterile" area, which was closest to the blast, will not reopen until early next week, police said.
The city council set up a desk to advise shopkeepers on clearing up and reopening. It issued a number - 0161 234 1748 - and told keyholders to report to the Lloyd Street entrance of Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square.
In Town Hall chambers and lobbies normally busy running the city, there was instead the matter of returning to normal life. …