Away day problems
Last season, large contingents of Birmingham City fans attended the away games at Fulham and QPR, which are our two Saturday away games this month. The game at Craven Cottage was a great away day, with good weather, a pleasant ground and the stand vibrating as happy Blues fans celebrated our team scoring five goals. I didn’t go to the QPR game and it sounded like a good one to miss. Blues lost and there were crowd problems around the ground, with Blues fans claiming a lack of organisation from the club, stewards and police. It was a reminder that football fans can get caught up in trouble when they themselves have done nothing wrong.
A year ago, 51 Bristol City fans were rounded up by West Midlands Police whilst trying to come to a game at St Andrew’s. Bristol City Supporters Club and Trust, in conjunction with the Football Supporters Federation (FSF), are taking legal action to secure compensation for those affected and to ensure that the use of dispersal powers is not abused. Alison Gurden, a barrister with expertise in football policing, has written about the police use of dispersal orders on her blog. Her most recent account is ‘Cambridgeshire Police Persecution of Football Fans’.
I hope that our away days this season will be trouble free. But if not, and you feel you’ve been treated as a hooligan although you have done nothing wrong, then the FSF’s ‘Fan in Trouble?’ page tells you how to get help.