SECURITY INCREASED FOR NOTTS CO GAME
Violence threat will see security beefed up at Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk, Monday 01 August 2016
Security is to be ramped up at Mansfield Town against derby rivals Notts County following a report into the match last season which was marred by crowd violence.
Allocation of tickets for away fans will be reduced, metal detectors could be used at the gate and greater segregation will be used to keep opposing fans apart.
The proposals form part of a report which was launched following the game at the One Call Stadium in April which left a pensioner needing treatment after he was thrown from his seat and trampled on.
Stags ran out easy 5-0 winners, but Notts County fan John Wilmott, 73, was injured when his fellow County fans surged forward.
Some also caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the toilets in the ground.
One fan has already been banned, and a further three could face similar sanctions.
The comprehensive report, published this week, found there had been sufficient stewards and police on the day, but criticised the club employees for not enforcing allocated seating behind the goal which was taken up by more than 1,762 Notts County fans. The report said the club’s faith that all visiting fans would sit in the seats they were allocated was ‘misplaced’.
If they had been made to sit in the allocated seats, it was felt it could have reduced the number of ‘contingencies’ in areas of the stand.
Despite attempts to prevent excessive drinking by bringing the match forward to a 1pm kick-off, the report suggested booze was a ‘contributory factor’ to the trouble and switching the kick-off made little or no difference.
However, CCTV showed that a surge forward onto the steps by County fans when Mansfield scored their second goal led to a steward being knocked down and colliding with Mr Wilmott.
The report, prepared by emergency planning group manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, Robert Fisher, reads: “I am satisfied that this was not a malicious act against Mr Wilmott, but resulted from a ‘domino effect’ of falls above him on the stairs.
“However, the root cause of this was a surge of Notts County supporters.”
Mr Wilmott told the Chad days after the games that he feared for his life during the incident and had never experienced such violence and intimidation as a lifelong County fan.
He said it was ‘miraculous’ that he was not seriously hurt.
Mr Wilmott, who is also a Nottinghamshire county councillor, thanked those responsible for the report, adding; “No stone has been left unturned, and the message being sent out to all fans is that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.
“May I also thank Notts County FC and Mansfield Town FC in the way they co-operated in this investigation, I do not in any way hold them responsible for the actions of a few misguided supporters.
“I also say that this incident has no place in modern day soccer and I hope that all clubs make sure that matches are suitable for families to attend and enjoy.”
The derby match at the One Call Stadium next season will take place on Saturday, October 8, but this time will kick-off at an even earlier time of 12.15pm.
A new stewarding firm is being drafted in to use wand-style metal detectors to prevent smoke canisters being smuggled into the ground.
Supporters who fail to sit in the seat allocated will be forced to move or ejected if they do not comply.
More netting segregation will be used to keep both sets of fans firmly apart, and Notts County’s allocation will be reduced by 10 per cent to allow the bigger segregation zones.
In addition, Notts County stewards could be brought in to help with the hope that familiar faces could help alleviate tension with the fans.
Meanwhile, high-profile games that are likely to attract bigger crowds could see concourse areas being opened up beyond the fence to alleviate crowd congestion during half time.
Latest | August 2016