Wednesday, September 07, 2011

FC United order fans to stay away

 Source: Lancashire Evening Post

 There will not be any away fans inside Victory Park on Saturday after FC United of Manchester’s visit to Chorley took a dramatic twist this week.

The visitors have rejected their allocation of just over 500 tickets for the NPL Premier Division fixture – seemingly in protest at the draconian measures placed on the game.

Originally the match – which would normally have a 3pm start – was put back to a morning kick-off by the Magpies on advice from the police.

It was also stipulated by the police that crowd segregation should be put in place.

With no visiting fans now set to attend the game, the kick-off has now been moved again from 11.30am to 12.30pm.

Both Chorley and FC United are among the best-supported clubs in non-league and a crowd of more than 3,000 was expected for the blockbuster clash.

However, the police were anxious to avoid a repeat of the unsavoury scenes which took place last season when crowd trouble marred Chorley’s home match against Chester – a game which attracted a bumper four-figure crowd.

Magpies boss Garry Flitcroft feels lessons could have been learned from previous experiences, which could have prevented such stringent measures being placed on the game.

Flitcroft said: “The police have obviously had to do this after what happened against Chester last season when a minority spoiled the game for everyone else.

“That’s the reason why it’s happened – it’s unfortunate really. Chorley have never had a problem with FC United – it’s just disappointing all-round.

“The majority of the Chester fans last season were well behaved and there was a bit of banter between both sets of supporters – that’s what football is all about – it was about 20 or 30 fans who spoiled it.

“I feel sorry for my players. The players have worked hard this season to be top of the league and they deserve to play in front of big crowds – but there’s nothing we can do now, we will just have to get on with it.”

FC United had met with officials from Chorley, the league and the police earlier this week to discuss matchday arrangements.

A statement issued by FC United said: “The information given at the meeting has been discussed by the FC United board, but we have regrettably refused to accept an allocation of tickets for the game. The league and Chorley FC have been informed of our decision.

“We have spent the last two weeks trying unsuccessfully to understand the reasons behind the decisions taken and obtain more information about ticketing arrangements.

“Chorley were due at Gigg Lane last weekend to sell tickets prior to our game against Rushall Olympic but when we failed to get satisfactory answers to our concerns that offer was withdrawn.

“Matters were given a full airing this week but with the game just a few days away there is nothing that can be done to address our remaining concerns at such short notice

“If we had been involved in discussions about the matchday arrangements at an earlier stage and had been given full information...then we are sure matters could have been resolved.”

Published on Wednesday 7 September 2011 09:18