Thursday, March 05, 2009

Safety worries for clash with FCMU

Source: Crosby Herald

Mar 5 2009 by Mark Johnson, Crosby Herald

MARINE FC and police officials will today rubber stamp a plan to ensure the safety of the local community as fears grow that football hooligans are heading for Crosby.

The Herald understands 21 police officers, three sergeants and mounted police will be drafted into Crosby on Saturday, March 28, when Marine FC welcome Manchester outfit FC United to the Arriva stadium for the first time in a UniBond Premier League fixture.

Safety fears stem from the previous game at Gigg Lane, Bury, when Liverpool-based Marine players were subject to abuse.

A week after that match, Marine player John Lawless had his contract scrapped for allegedly making an aeroplane motion, which was felt by some to have been an insult referencing the 1958 Munich Air Disaster in which 23 people died.

FC United of Manchester was formed as a breakaway club by fans furious at Manchester United’s takeover by Malcolm Glazer.

The planning meeting takes place this afternoon and will approve the deployment of officers inside the ground, a feature which is not normally seen by fans at the Arriva .

Seven British Transport Police officers will also be manning the Northern Line to monitor behaviour on trains and stations.

There will also be a designated area for coaches at Crosby sports centre, the Herald understands.

Internet message board posters predict Crosby’s streets could be “a battle zone” and say it could be “the game to miss”.

The match is likely to see a bigger crowd because it lands on an international weekend, when Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United will not be playing.

FCUM, who normally take 600 fans, have been allocated 1,000 tickets, and Marine have 750.

Crosby neighbourhood Insp Neil Turner said: “We will ensure the safety of football fans and the local area on the day.”