Fighting between Newcastle and Leicester fans after match
Well we finally won a game in season 2014/15 and while the relief was tangible, it does not gloss over the previous 10 months and beyond!
However, that is not why I write today, on full-time I waited to applaud the players off the pitch but my eye was taken toward the ‘Curva Nord’ and the start of some shenanigans!
What seemed to start as Newcastle and Leicester fans taunting each other, ended up with missiles been thrown back and forth between the 2 sets of fans, with only a thin line of stewards in between, I watched for a few minutes as things escalated, a few fans broke the line and punches were swapped.
This went on for quite a while and the stewards without the support of the police struggled to keep the majority of fans apart, the aggression from both fans was something you don’t see very often these days.
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Outside the ground the 2 sets of fans exited by adjacent gates with the Leicester fans gently pushed towards Barrack Road and their waiting coaches, but there was nothing to stop them heading into town if they so wished, this is all controlled again by stewards, some of them female. I am not being sexist at all but physically small female stewards are likely to get hurt if things happen.
Sure enough, what had started inside the stadium carried on underneath the Leazes End, sporadic outbreaks of fighting that threatened to turn into a mass brawl , one particularly nasty incident saw a young newcastle fan hit by a full plastic water bottle, this provoked the worst of the fighting that I saw, as a large Newcastle fan broke through the stewards and sought out the assailant before handing out retribution!
I am not sure if things worsened but I suspect they may have.
Why do I bother to write about this you may ask, well I was puzzled by the lack of police in attendance, it is all controlled by inexperienced part time stewards, who seem to be a mixture of students and retirees, probably getting paid peanuts?
It raises the question, is Mike Ashley having the home games policed on the cheap?
Will it be the same when we play Sunderland just before Christmas, if it is I would suspect more serious flare ups could occur.
I don’t know if matches are categorised by risk these days, but there is a bit of a history between Newcastle and Leicester, most will remember that game in 1992 but there has been other episodes, Newcastle fans were attacked at King Cross by a large mob of Leicester fans in 1999 (Leicester were playing Spurs in League Cup final), this was unprovoked and vicious, I know because I was there.
So I ask the question again, is policing of Newcastle games being done on the cheap in typically SD style?
You only have to have a modicum of knowledge to know yesterday’s game would be of higher risk than say a game against the likes of Fulham. The history and the large away following should be enough to ensure more police numbers would be required.
We don’t want to go back to the dark old days of the 80s, where sometimes going to a game was a toxic mix of an adrenalin rush, fear and intimidation, visiting places like Chelsea, Millwall, West Ham, Leeds etc, football in general and the stadia have evolved since then.
However, yesterday showed that those dark days have not been totally eradicated from our game, and the problems at full time yesterday suggest a problem needs addressing.
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