A “numb” Manchester United will honour the victims of the Manchester bomb attack with a minute’s silence and black armbands at Wednesday’s Europa League final, the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said Tuesday.
United flew out to Sweden with Manchester still reeling from an attack which left 22 people dead and 59 injured after a bomb went off following the end of a pop concert by American singer Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena on Monday.
Woodward, asked for his reaction, told United’s website: “Words don’t really do justice for how we all feel. We’re numb. The events were sickening and all our thoughts at the moment are with the victims and the families affected by it.”
He added: “It was very sombre flying over with the directors this morning and it was all we were talking about, to be honest.”
Wednesday’s eagerly anticipated match against Amsterdam’s Ajax will now take place amid a mood of sombre reflection.
“We’ve met with UEFA (European football’s governing body) and sat with them and gone through different things we can do around the game, and they accepted we can wear black armbands and have a minute’s silence for the victims,” Woodward said.
Monday’s incident, where young children were among the victims of a suicide bomb blast for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility, was the deadliest attack in Britain since the July 2005 attack on the London transport network that killed 52 people.
United cancelled their schedule pre-match press conference in Stockholm on Tuesday, although manager Jose Mourinho used the club’s Twitter feed: “We’re all very sad about the tragic events last night, we can’t take out of our minds & hearts the victims & their families.
“We have a job to do & will fly to Sweden to do that job. It’s a pity we cannot fly with the happiness we always have before a big game,” he added.
Woodward echoed those comments, saying: “We’ve got a job to do tomorrow, no question about that, and that hasn’t been changed but I think what happened last night really put things into perspective.
“Success on the pitch really is nothing compared to the pain and suffering going on back home, that is really where our thoughts are at this point in time.”