Ahead of Monday’s match, Lancashire Police have revealed that they are expecting as many Newcastle fans at Ewood Park as they are expecting supporting the home team.
Around 7,000 Newcastle fans have sold out the entire Darwen End and a number of incognito NUFC supporters will be in the home sections, meaning they will make up around half the 15,000 attendance the Lancashire Police say they are expecting.
Never the best supported of clubs, gates have been further hit with some Blackburn fans boycotting matches because of the way the club is run.
Tomorrow also sees a number of fan protests planned, including a march to the ground pre-match and then a sit-in at the final whistle.
The largest attendance so far was twelve thousand when Sheffield Wednesday visited, though recently attendances even fell below ten thousand.
The Lancashire Police Statement reassuring local people and businesses that they will minimise disruption when Newcastle visit, saying that they expect around 60 coaches/minibuses, but that they will have extra police officers on duty.
Lancashire Police Statement:
‘A policing operation has been planned to keep disruption to a minimum when Blackburn Rovers play Newcastle at Ewood Park on January 2nd.
Some 15,000 people are expected to arrive in Blackburn for the 3pm kick-off and officers will be working hard in the run-up and on the day to ensure residents and businesses are affected as little as possible.
Chief Inspector Jon Bullas, one of the senior officers overseeing the operation, said:
“This is an exciting fixture in the football calendar and we know there are likely to be in the region of 7,000 fans travelling from Newcastle to the game, so together with the home support we are expecting a large crowd.
“We appreciate that this will cause some disruption on the roads and may impact on those who have alternative bank holiday plans.
“However, we’ve worked closely with both football clubs in the planning of this match and our aim is to keep people safe and to get people to and from the ground efficiently. Extra officers will also be on hand to assist supporters attending the match as well as stewards from both clubs.”
It is expected around 60 coaches and minibuses will travel to Lancashire from the North East. These will initially be directed to park at the motorway services at J4 of the M65, before being escorted to designated parking at the stadium or on Bolton Road and Cravens Brow.
Those arriving in cars will be directed to park at Darwen Vale High School, the Golden Cup pub, various car parks on Branch Road and car parks off Alan Shearer Way (previously named Albion Road). There is also stadium parking accessed via Top O’th Croft.
Extra officers will be on duty on the day and will be deployed around the stadium and in nearby towns where fans may gather before the match.
We will also be working with stadium bosses to create a ‘fanzone’ where away fans can gather before the match.
Crime prevention advice has been given to residents around the stadium, although anybody concerned can contact their local officers online by visiting https://doitonline.lancashire.police.uk/
We would also urge anybody in the area on the day to:
- Use safe and secure car parks
- Keep their car locked with nothing valuable on display
- Look after their personal belongings, keeping items such as keys, wallets and purses with them at all times in zipped bags or front pockets
We are also keen to stress that officers policing the game will not tolerate anybody causing trouble and will take firm action against anyone behaving in an anti-social or violent manner.
Chief Inspector Bullas added: “It is important to remember very few people attending football matches actually cause problems as most supporters are there as ambassadors for their club and for their sport.
“I want to reassure people who will be at the game that we will not be letting a minority spoil what should be an occasion for all the family to enjoy.
“We will have the resources available on the day to deal with any incidents and it is important to note that should individuals look to cause problems we will also look to secure banning orders where appropriate.”
Fans can follow updates on the Blackburn with Darwen Police Facebook pages. Information will also be tweeted from @BlackburnPolice and @RoversPolice.’