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Topics - OverLandAndSea

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West Bromwich Albion FC / Fans behaviour at away games
« on: October 02, 2021, 01:44:42 PM »
A bit of a rant really but also I’d like to get others opinions on what seems to be happening with a certain element who have appeared at our away games since reopening of grounds.

I love a good drink and a song at matches and have no issues with away days being a bit rowdy, however, it’s got to the point now where the behaviour exhibited on concourses is a complete embarrassment and potentially dangerous, carried out with zero respect or consideration for other supporters and the damage it causes our clubs reputation.

Two recent experiences:-

Preston:-
We arrived 45 minutes before KO so fancied a bite to eat, a beer and something for my lad, however the first thing we saw was a crowd at the bar and one lad bang the signage above it to the point it fell on him. Half time saw plumes of blue smoke coming up the exits tunnels into the stand and when I went down to use the toilet after I saw a scene of complete vandalism. After the game we were refused the opportunity to use the toilets and were kettled towards a small exit door which developed into a crush.

This annoyed me to the point i emailed PNE and to be honest wish I hadn’t as the reply left me ashamed of our supporters, see below:-

“In relation to what happened on the concourse. I am not sure if you are aware of what happened pre match and at half time of the concourse. Some terrifying scenes for some of our staff deployed there especially at half time. A very large group of WBA supporters gathered, they set of numerous smoke grenades which filled the concourse with dense smoke and some attacked kiosks. Stewards tried to deal with supporters who had smoke grenades and they were set upon. Despite tannoy announcements behaviour did not improve, in fact their behaviour attracted others to join in or view it. Substantial steward resources had to be deployed. This led to kiosks eventually being closed after a lot of intimidation, threats towards staff and damage being caused. It was clear that there was a large unruly group of supporters, who had forgotten the last 18 months and the difficulties we all have faced. We did manage to identify three offenders for the smoke grenades on the stand, after some difficulties they were ejected and handed over to police officers. It is extremely difficult to detect smoke grenades at point of entry, supporters secret them in areas we cannot search.”


Stoke:-
Following PNE, with my 12 year old in tow, we decided we would go right to our seats and not even attempt to go down at half time. We entered the ground at 7.15pm to absolute carnage, between the turnstile and our entrance into the stand was a massive crowd of people jumping around, flaking their arms, banging into stuff like it was a mosh pit, lobbing beer and to top it all off letting smoke bombs go.

My lad is autistic and part of that is hypersensitivity to smell and threatening situations, this meant he became very distressed so my only option was to pull his hood over his head, grab him and fight my way through a wall of people through thick blue smoke. Some moved, some didn’t and I physically had to make them. He was absolutely petrified and having a serious coughing fit due to the smoke bombs which bordered on a panic attack.

After 30 minutes I went to use the toilet and witnessed people responsible for the smoke absolutely covered head to toe in the blue dye trying to wash it off, two lads openly sniffing coke in a cubicle and no less than ten empty packets of the stuff sloshing round in the urinals. The concourse floors were blue. That was after having to fight our way out of the stand because of people blocking the gangways.


All in all, after 30 years home and away and with a 12 year old who despite the challenges he faces in life absolutely adores the Albion and gets immense pleasure from going I’m left thinking I may have to pack it all in, why should I though?

Who are these idiots and why do they think this is acceptable? The club need to act now and issue banning orders ASAP before we end up with minimal allocations, treated with heavy handed tactics or at worst case someone gets seriously hurt.

This needs to change.

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