Often Partisan

Ticket Allocations and Policing

It took a while but yesterday the away allocation for Blues for the League Cup 3rd round tie was finally confirmed to be 2,800. Predictably, the number of tickets available has not gone down well with BCFC with some fans on social media fearing that trouble at the game will be almost inevitable due to fans sitting in home areas etc.

As always, the blame game is being played out. BCFC are adamant they pushed for the full amount but were knocked back by the other mob, who were backed by WMP when saying that a reduced allocation made more sense as they could keep fans away from the pitch, segregate them from home fans etc.

I made a tongue in cheek proposal on twitter that as the mob from across the expressway could only safely accommodate 2800 Blues fans, then surely they should have their capacity for the match reduced to 28,000 to meet cup allocation criteria and to further prevent trouble. Of course, this is never going to happen but the idea for this comes from something I firmly believe when it come to policing football matches and espoused on the video I made last week.

I think clubs and police forces insist on limited allocations not to prevent trouble but to allow them to do the minimum they have to do to prevent trouble. I’ve been to enough football games to know a few sad facts: firstly, no matter who the club are, there is going to be a minority of “fans” of that club who want to cause trouble whether it be damage to property or other football fans.

Secondly, I’ve seen enough games to form the opinion that policing of football games is often poor with many forces seeming to focus more on gathering video evidence than actually working to throw water on burning embers of trouble before they become flashpoints. Yes, it’s easier to arrest someone at 4am kicking down their front door than it is to take them down in full flight when fighting, but I think policing of football needs to be changed.

I have no doubt in my mind there will be “incidents” whether they are at the ground or away from it – no amount of policing is going to prevent all of it happening. To me it makes more sense to ensure that there are enough resources to at least ensure flashpoints are contained to the minority who want to fight each other and not breaking out all across the city.

One thing I think I should reinforce is this is a football match, not a planned scene-by-scene re-enactment of World War II. By the way some people are talking I think they are expecting full scale warfare with parts of Brum becoming post-apocalyptic warzones reminiscent of Mad Max after the game; I do not believe it will be quite that bad.

And while 2,800 tickets is bad, it could be worse. Next weekend there is a huge local derby match here in Poland near where I live – Ruch Chorzow v Gornik Zabrze. While Polish football isn’t quite as well supported as English football, it’s got a bad reputation for crowd violence and because of that away supporters have been completely banned from the game by the police. It’ll be interesting to see if that stops all trouble or if there is a pavement dancing convention somewhere in Silesia anyway.

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52 Responses to “Ticket Allocations and Policing”

  • Dave Mann says:

    Bang on with everything said there Dan and the police will be under scrutiny just as much as the fans of both teams on there behaviour towards this game .. It’s on tv and it’s a night game so there’s gonna be a lot of questions asked on all fronts and the city and it’s police force will have to be at there best if this is to be a trouble free game but in my opinion that won’t happen ime sorry to say but I hope ime wrong and we all go home happy and the blue boys and the blue noses look forward to the 4th round … Well we’re see !! Kro

  • Bluehobba says:

    I commented yesterday that for all the fans that want to go to the game but can’t get a ticket, the fans that pick and choose their games and the fans that can’t afford to go every week, it’s money in their back pockets that can go towards supporting Gary Rowett and his Blue revolution as we march on up the table….kro

  • steve says:

    All they have to do is give us the North stand. Then after the game form a blue line and get us to Witton station. The area they give to away fans at the moment means we will be coming out of the ground with Viler fans all around us. A recipe for trouble. This allocation is just going to mean,Blues in other parts of the ground and on the streets. What annoys me is that WMP seem to think it’s just Blues fans that cause trouble. They didn’t restrict Vilers allocation at St Andrews for the QF.

    • Annon says:

      Unfortunately, there is a greater number of Blues fans that would appear (in my opinion) to have a greater appetite for confrontation than their Villa counterparts. This is based on a number of years policing both sets, whilst being an avid due hard bluenose. Sad, but true.

  • Blue lizard says:

    Lets hope if it goes to replay that the same is offered in return or better still even less….(it would save us a fortune in Jeyes liquid and fumigation after they have gone)

  • Dave Mann says:

    You don’t have replays in the league cup Blue lizard so I don’t think that will happen mate!! Kro

  • alex hurley says:

    The rozzers cant win tbf, can they¿ as you say its gonna kick off somewhere at some point. For them its about damage limitation i.e. make sure theres as few of us there as possible, keep on top of fans in the ground and hope fighting away from the ground is sporadic and they can contain it. The media will be all over this and doubtless blow the most minor incident out of all proportion which doesnt help matters, it just makes the law even more conservative.

    Personally id rasther focus on the game. Rowett will put out a weakened side and well still turn them over, they are there for the taking!

  • Tightlines says:

    What I can’t understand is that the Visiting Club have a right to 10% of the tickets..its written into the rules of the competition. There are some conditions, but I can’t find anywhere where it says the police can object. I think the fans deserve a better explanation than what has already been given…how the police and presumably av have managed to circumvent the rules.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I think the pressure is more on sherwood than rowett to play a stronger team and that’s why I agree Steve that both managers will play more first team players than had it been a straight forward 3rd round tie .. Our weaker team last season should have taken the Baggies to a replay in the FA cup and rowett got a little bit if stick for that .. I can’t see him doing it this time as he of all people knows what this game means! Kro

  • Stevio11 says:

    Why are blues not complaining to the FA about the lack of tickets, the rozzers only want a small following so they can spend more time in the doughnut shop

  • Roy Smith says:

    WM Police have an appalling attitude to football fans and have had for years. Their tactics are provocative, and they seem to feel that as soon as someone heads towards a football ground they cease to have any civil rights. As a consequence some fans behave like they are treated, as anti social louts.
    Rather than reassess their way of running matches they would rather take the Hillsborough approach and blame the fans while denying any deficit in their approach.
    Bit sad though that the second biggest city in Britain can’t police a local derby effectively. Doesn’t say much for the local constabulary’s abilities does it?

    • sam marsh says:

      So true, they were a disgrace after the wolves game pushing and growling at people just trying to get home! I seem to remember the media saying Bruges would be bloodbath but they policed 8000 odd brilliantly with a smile on their face. Shame as imagine the noise 6000 blues would make at vile park and on TV!

  • Dave Mann says:

    The west midland police force when it comes to policing football matches are as bad as I’ve ever seen . Kro

    • Tony says:

      West mids Police have an appalling attitude to everything that involves them having to do something or anything. As Dan says its easier kicking a door down at 4 am than actually stopping trouble safer for them too. They are public servants and should remember it,The police federation would no doubt object to anything remotely dangerous for the boys in blue what a shower they are.

  • The home fans are less likely to cause damage than the away fans , so as long as the police defend the away fans their wil be less trouble , as long as they have their truncheons hand held ….

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Don’t be so sure. I was stood amongst them when Lazaridis scored once and watched them tear up about 20 seats and threw them down at our fans. They were just freaking out and I would be a liar if I said my arse wasn’t going a bit to say the least. Got back to the car and laughed my b*****ks off all the way home. Happy days.

  • raymondo says:

    Can’t help but feel that the Mail has contributed to this situation with their rhetoric about “it should have been on a Sunday” headlines.

  • ChrisG says:

    So we pay our taxes for what?, clubs pay policing bills for what?. There are many things the old bill could do to prevent trouble but they sre just too lazy. They are gonna spoil the game for a lot of real supporters who just want to see a game of football because they can’t be bothered to come yup with a plan to deal with the trouble. Wmp are a disgrace, could you imagine the lancashire or mersyside police stopping man u or liverpool fans going to their big derby or the glasgow or welsh police, NO.

    • Mirkwood55 says:

      It’s not the police who cause the trouble, it’s the fans. If, as you say, fans of both teams simply want to watch a football match then why don’t they stick to that? No reason for either side to go laying into the other for no reason other than they support the opposing team but sadly a percentage of the braindead morons who infest the grounds are intent on doing just that. Knowing that is virtually certain to happen on the night leaves the local police force with no alternative, be it Blues/Villa, Celtic/Rangers or even Wycombe/Colchester. Sensible fans are, of course, too much to hope for.

  • Dave Mann says:

    There selfish ignorant anti sport like morons , and yes I do mean the police ! Kro

    • Mitchell says:

      Careful here Dave. We have all at sometime been thankful for the police especially aiding a family member. Not all morons. You are better than those comments Dave. Let’s forget the nasty issues of this Derby match and watch Sky repeat over again the winning goal by Blues.(hopefully).

  • BluesBlues says:

    The position of the police,ville and Blues is a no win for anyone. We have been given the normal allocation for a premiership game but not the normal 10% allocation for a cup game.

    It’s a sorry state of affairs when fellow brumies who live and work in the city can not attend a football game without violence.

    I know that blues fans will be in the ville areas as per normal, I’ve done this on other occasions and to be honest is not nice.

    A sensible solution would of been to give the blues another 1K or to have put us in the upper north stand.

    Although I’m a season holder I doubt I’ll get a ticket so it’s the pub and TV for me.

    For all those lucky enough to get a ticket let the football do our talking and not the behaviour of our fans – we all know the ville will be giving it the big one. KRO

    The City our Name – The City our Name
    We’re Birmingham City
    The City our Name

  • Dave Mann says:

    Depends what cup your playing In! Kro

  • bluenose08 says:

    I remember goin on a bus from the bull ring to villa park and I was the only blues fan on the bus got to the ground went to the ticket office and there were no tickets for the witton end so stood in the holt end with 10 other bluenose and a few coppers around us. John connely scored a screamer that day and we won if I remember correctly a great day and got safely home by bus as I was only 16 at the time.

  • Brumbie says:

    Any of our supporters thinking of sitting with home fans should think again and I speak from experience having taken a kicking in the Doug Ellis stand a few years back. And remember a load of our fans having a rough time in the corner of the holt end back in the late 70s although policing was not so organised in those days. It’s not worth risking life and limb just to watch a football match let’s hope the match passes with no trouble.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I have been to plenty of Blues away games and had to go in with the home supporters including Anfield and Old Trafford. If you actually show a bit of common sense and respect and most importantly don’t let on you support the away team then, like me, you will be fine. Not easy if Blues score I know but it can be done.

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Great in theory. I remember putting this into practice once at Bolton and had it not been for some do-nut of a mate who rose like a salmon when we took the lead,we would have had a very enjoyable afternoon……!

      • Shirley Blue says:

        It’s usually been when I have gone to Blues away games with mates who support the opposition – you need to be able to trust them! I might go the cup game with a Villa supporting friend (yes – we all have them if we are honest). The worst one I can remember is being at West Brom for an evening game during Barry Fry days. They were looking for Blues fans to beat up before the game started. I think we won 3-2 and it got very nasty. Survived though by keeping my mouth shut.

        • Hillfield Blues says:

          Been there as well. That we be the one where they wind you up all game that they’re going to blow your cover unless you buy the beer/pies at half time isn’t it. Who needs enemies ay!!

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        That’s right when Robbie Savage scored the idiot leapt to his feet and was promptly ejected

  • Brumbie says:

    Keeping quiet when your team score is almost impossible you get lost in the excitement and your secret is out. We kopped it the villa when we scored and they were all over us like a rash and were encouraged by normal looking middle aged men, I still have an inch and a half scar on the top of my head from a belt buckle to remind me of the night. Listening to the car radio on the way home it was clear other bluenoses had similar experiences. We don’t get a warm welcome there for some reason so I hope our fans see sense and don’t sit with the home fans it’s not worth getting hurt.

  • Gaz says:

    If our fans go and misbehave the club will get a heavy fine they can ill afford. If that happens we forfeit our right to plead for more financial support to strengthen the squad. It will happen though as we have a higher proportion of fans who fall into the ‘complete muppets’ category

  • MA24 says:

    Disagree with what you have said regarding poor standards of policing.
    Firstly, the police implement plain clothes spotters who root out known and potential trouble makers prior, during and after the game. These individuals are dealt with and often quite robustly.

    You stated that they rely on video evidence rather than “throwing water on embers” – there will be a significantly higher ratio of fans to police. It’s often by arresting/detaining groups of trouble makers which has a knock on effect to potentially cause wide spread disorder. If you take certain numbers of officers out due to arresting people theres less available if rioting occurs – and less to deal with non footballing matters in the west Mids area. So a proportionate response is always needed.

    With government and funding cuts, it’s too easy to criticise – retrospective punishment is the most available and proportionate option.

    Rant over – no personal dig, very much agree with what you say on all matters and a huge fan of OP


  • Dave Mann says:

    Just got in from Germany and been watching Alex Mcleish on Goals on Sunday , interesting views on his time at Blues and his departure to vile ….. Didn’t realise how strong the reaction of both supporters would be and said that he couldn’t turn down the job but if he could go back he wouldn’t have gone at that time and does have regrets so at least he’s being honest and as I’ve said before he will go down as one if not our greatest manager .. Fans hated him for leaving for vile as they hated Robbie Savage for going to Blackburn but there two legends in our history and that can never be taken away from then whatever people think .. Just a thought . Kro

  • Tony says:

    Couldn’t agree more Dave, He was ill advised, but for me he was the most successful manager we have ever had. He won a major trophy and led us to our highest ever position in the league, good luck to him.

  • Dave Mann says:

    To right Tony , the football wasn’t pretty at times but is record at home was amazing and he got results a major trophy and European football .. Ok we got relegated but I personally blame the players just as much but I suppose your get some fans who can’t forgive and forget but I can .. If someone like me who goes everywhere following Blues with pride doesent hold grudges then why do other fans ? .. Not a rant just an observation but then we’re all different I suppose . Kro

  • Shirley Blue says:

    The way Gary Rowett sets his team up is very similar to Mcleish and in the great majority of games we have significantly less possession than the opposition and quite often it hasn’t been pretty either. Success is about getting the best results with what you have got and GR has certainly done that. Top level football is about getting results – you don’t get points for pretty. After what went on in the previous two years I don’t think anyone cares as it’s just great going to games believing we are going to win again.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Exactly Shirley Blue , Gary’s getting results as did Alex so the comparison is very much there but Mcleish inherited a premiership team as rowett did a championship team so let’s see what the future holds . Kro

    • paule says:

      Rowett inherited a lot of division 1 players & even brought in Morrison from division 1 so has worked miracles with what he has at his disposal , McLeish had decent premiership players won the cup & unfortunately got some injuries then we got relegated, what done me with McLeish was how he left & where he went!!

  • Bluenosesol says:

    As I approach my 60th Birthday next year, fear of the police is a thing of the past. However as a young 21 year old I recall being kicked unconscious by a gang of thugs at Coventry after they herded us into the home stand after the away end had become full with inevitable consequences. The ensuing investigations (By the police themselves in those days) revealed that the thugs had been shipped in from Walsall to bolster the local coppers. I have no objection to the police kicking in doors at 4 am if it reduces the risk of my grandkids being exposed to drugs and violence and would not wish to return to the dark days of the 1970’s WMPF. Just for info, despite having 13 witnesses, the DPP did not charge any of the thugs who could have killed me!

  • Dave Mitch says:

    Nice use of The Smiths line in your email, Al. Very good!

  • Gianni says:

    I can’t say I expected any less based on recent meetings.

    Why not have a massive turnout outside the ground anyway? Like a Royal Blue fanzone? That would get some noise going, and some media attention!

    just a thought.

  • Tony says:

    Some people do not seem to understand the hatred that exists between the clubs, it really is like war I have seen plenty of riots over the years involving Villa Chelsea, Leeds that was always the worst.
    Some people would say it is a silly attitude but I have never had a friend who supports those heretics.

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