Chester FC and Wrexham fans reminded to behave as 'bubble' is burst

Reporter:

David Triggs

Fans of Chester FC and Wrexham have been reminded to be on their best behaviour for tomorrow night's derby match. 

The fixture is significant as it will be the first time the teams have played each other since the decision to scrap the controversial 'bubble’ restrictions, which were introduced in 2013. 

The system – designed to reduce crowd trouble – saw away fans transported to and from the games in a convoy of coaches under a police escort otherwise known as a ‘bubble’.

It proved an unpopular measure with many supporters and, after after a reduction in arrests over recent seasons, the authorities decided in the summer to lift the restrictions. 

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones was a vocal opponent of the so-called ‘bubble matches’ and has welcomed the fact tomorrow's televised game will go ahead with normal travel arrangements in place for Wrexham fans. 

Mr Jones,  however, is keen to remind both sets of supporters to “be on their best behaviour for this fixture”.

“I was always of the view that there was no need for travel restrictions on the match and I had made both Cheshire and North Wales Police aware of my views.

“I am pleased to say the supporters of both Wrexham and Chester have justified my confidence in them and shown that these games can be played in an atmosphere of friendly rivalry.

“We want fans to go along to games with their friends and cheer on their teams and chant and sing – it’s what gives our football its vibrant and passionate atmosphere.”

Mr Jones said he would have preferred it if the match – which will be shown live on BT Sport – was being played at noon on a Saturday or Sunday, and not in the evening, as this would have been better for "public safety".

But he added: “The fans behaved impeccably last season at the Racecourse and at Chester and I hope there will be a really good atmosphere at the Swansway Chester Stadium.

“If things go well again then hopefully the fixture will continue to take place under normal conditions which will be a great result for both clubs and both sets of fans.

“Those fans need to be aware, though, that if trouble kicks off in Chester, then we could see the re-imposition of bubble restrictions for the foreseeable future.”

Supt Richard Rees, of Cheshire police, said there had been “considerable” reductions in arrests and disorder in recent years.

He added: “This is a great family event and we want to ensure everyone has an enjoyable time."

A spokesman for Chester FC said: “We are looking forward to hosting an incredible atmosphere and we encourage fans of both sides to demonstrate their passion in the right manner.”

Tomorrow's match, which kicks off at 7.45pm, is all-ticket.

A crowd of 3,961 watched last season's 1-1 draw between the sides at Chester. 

Email:

david.triggs@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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