Premier League – Maradona’s cigar sparks Chelsea alarm
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side had to evacuate the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Manchester after alarms sounded at seven o’clock, and players were spotted standing outside in freezing conditions, some wearing just towels and bathrobes.
An eyewitness told The Sun: “I saw most of Chelsea outside shivering. It wasn’t the best preparation for a vital game.”
Argentina manager Maradona was in Manchester to see United striker Carlos Tevez, although the 24-year-old played no part in the game as a lacklustre Chelsea side were beaten 3-0.
Greater Manchester Fire Service said they could not reveal what caused the alarm, a fireman said that Maradona and his associates were to blame.
“It looks as though it was set off by Diego and his entourage smoking cigars on the 14th floor,” the fireman told The Sun.
Two fire trucks came to the hotel but they discovered no fire in the 263-room hotel.
Hotel manager Steve Miles said: “We followed procedure. It was a genuine alarm.”
United suffered their own disruption before the game after their coach driver lost his keys.
The driver smashed a window to gain access to the team bus, but triggered an immobiliser and engineers had to be called to start the engine.
The broken window was visible as the United squad arrived at Old Trafford.
A club spokesman said: “It was accidental, there was nothing sinister about it.”