Wrexham FC fans voice anger at police over 'bubble' match


Jamie Nield-Siddall

WREXHAM FC fans have slammed controversial travel plans for next month’s ‘bubble’ match with Chester.

The club’s management called a meeting last night at the Centenary Club where supporters were joined by police representatives.

The aim was to discuss the safety travel plans with fans ahead of the derby clash at Chester on Saturday, September 20, but supporters said the measures being put in place were a “very extreme” bid to tame a minority.

Supt Rob Kirkman said without the travel tactics, which will see away fans travelling to derby games on designated coaches only, “there is no doubt” people wanting to engage in disorder would do so.

“This is the best way to maintain the safety of not just football supporters, but the wider community,” he added.

But Gwersyllt councillor Arfon Jones, a former police officer, said he felt Wrexham fans were being treated differently to other visiting supporters.

He referred to a game held at the ground when The New Saints took on Polish side Legia Warsaw.

He accused the police of having a “light touch” approach, saying they were “intimidated” by the travelling Polish supporters.

Supt Kirkman dismissed the claims that they feared the Polish fans. “There was no light touch approach,” he said. “There was a nasty assault and we were there within minutes.”

Other supporters vented their anger that all 1,200 travelling Reds fans would have to suffer because of a minority.

Supt Kirkman said: “The risk offenders are a minority among the fans, but the fans are a minority among the community and we have to look after the wider community.”

Despite the travels plans in place, police admitted there would be nothing stopping anyone travelling to Chester on the day to watch the game, which is live on television in the city centre.

One supporter said: “The well behaved fans will just travel to the game safely and the hooligans will still be outside there.”

The arrangements have been unpopular with some sections of supporters and a petition set up by a Wrexham fan calling to scrap the bubble match plan has gained more than 250 signatures.

The decision has been made by both clubs who have worked with both North Wales Police and Cheshire Constabulary to make the plans.

Wrexham FC chief executive Don Bircham said: “We are part of the fabric of this community.

“I would rather pick up some of this inconvenience than read the next day about violence and abuse in the streets.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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