Well another eventful trip up there yesterday they clearly do not want us travelling there, although the Police were not to bad on this occasion in fairness to them despite having a camera pointing at you what ever way you turned, and way to much resource on show for the low numbers of supporters from both sides.
The day started off with a 6 o clock start from the Cardiff City stadium, a quiet run up to Leeds at that time of the morning so hit no snarl ups and managed to get to Woolly Edge Services at the time specified 10.45. There was already a Castell coach when we arrived met by at least a dozen police vans if not more, motor cyclist around a dozen, at a guess I would say there was 2 PSUs there (around 80 Police officers) for the 6 coaches. There was also three or four evidence gathers on show. I had brought the supporters club cam corder with me and my own Hi Vis vest with Supporters Club evidence gatherer on it. So as we pulled in with our three coaches I was filming the evidence gatherers filming me. I got off the coach and was immediately met by Wayne Nash Cardiff City Football Club, and Sergeant Wayne Palmer of the South Wales police who asked me to come and meet the Match Commander. In fairness he was a decent bloke and was not to pleased with Leeds united late decision on Saturday not to sell alcohol to us in the ground, and the late information about flags not being allowed unless they had a kite mark (this seems to be a Yorkshire thing from The Safety advisory Groups up there so we may have the same at Barnsley & Doncaster as I know both Sheffield Clubs now have the same policy) He said the latest we would be moving would be midday but said if he could get us going earlier he would but all 6 coaches needed to moved together but we were still waiting for Gezza bus. Gezza coach arrived around 11.20 and we were finally on our way just after 11.45 for the final 7/8 miles which took 25 minutes under escort.
Upon arriving at the ground again there were Hundreds of officers on duty and plenty of cameras filming us, I continued to film also until I got off the coach and walked to the turnstile. To get to the away end we were escorted around half the stadium across some waste ground and through the home car park and parked up in a compound. Then the home supporters were held back while we were escorted from the compound to the turnstiles until everyone was in. The stewards searched everyone at the turnstiles and the police were busy filming everyone, by this time the camera was in my pocket.
Once inside the stadium I bough a Bovril £2 and 20 programmes at £4 each for the supporters club, the concourse was all carpeted and recently decorated which gave the impression this was a quality stand. However once in the stand the view was pretty poor with pillars and TV gantries in the way similar to the back of the Bob bank wasn’t good at all for £36. I stood at the back but couldn’t see all of the pitch because of obstructions but just got on with it. Just before half time I gezza came up and said about the ejections at the front I must say they had gone unnoticed at the back to me that said I couldn’t see much anyway, these were for standing. I said what about the home fans they appear to be standing either end of the ground, he informed they were not being ejected and were left to stand; I said I would have a word at half time. For the remainder of the half I watched the home end to see if any stewards were either telling the fans to sit down or throwing any one out for standing, I seen neither.
At half time I went to complain on behalf of the lads ejected close on 20 by now to ask for a reason why it was just the away section that was subjected to this. The rules clearly state no standing up and this at the moment there is no argument, but what was occurring in my opinion was discrimination and disparity towards the Cardiff section of the ground, all you want is to be treated equal. I first spoke to our stewards, and then attempted to have a civil conversation with a woman who was in charge of the area on behalf of Leeds United Football Club, quite frankly after 30 seconds I gave up, considering her job is customer facing, she had very poor: people Skills, poor Communication Skills, Poor Vocabulary Range, No Common sense, and no idea of what was occurring. I then had a chat with gezza and said if they chuck one more of our supporters out for standing we will all walk out. So we spread the word around the away supporters, and informed the authorities of our intentions.
5 minutes into the second half another lad got ejected so as agreed I called for everyone to walk out, just under a 100 marched out (91) I counted them later and started off with a demonstration outside the turnstiles but the police asked us to protest in the compound which everyone did peacefully. I was filming but was then approached by a employee of Leeds united FC who got heavy with me filming and was threatening all sorts of action much of which was illegal unbeknown to him, however I did stop as I had already filmed enough footage. The boys then put up a few flags and listen to the game either on the radios on the coaches or watched it on the I pad screens one of the lads had, before the final whistle blew.
We then waited for the home fans to disperse before leaving the ground under Police escort again.
I would like to thank all the supporters who walked out in support of their fellow supporters after half time, well done you made me feel very proud. It was a powerful statement due to the numbers involved nearly a third of the total away support. Of course it would have been better if everyone had walked out by at £36 a ticket I can understand why some of you didn’t. In future the supporters club will think seriously about running coaches to this fixture. There is always something, last season it was the police, this season Leeds united Football Club, It will obviously need to be discussed with our members but its not worth the hassle in my opinion. Leeds United Football Club intentionally or unintentionally appear to be making it as difficult, or awkward as possible for us to attend this fixture, almost as if they don’t want us to come. Perhaps everyone may boycott it in the future, and then they will see what it is like not to have any away fans at the ground. No atmosphere, lower attendance, and not in the spirit of football.
Many Thanks again for your support I will not leave it here I will push for some enquiry into yesterday events, and there was also some allegations of racial abuse towards our supporters from some of the home stewards, please can you come forward if you were on the receiving end or witness to any of such abuse.
Vice Alm 07814 779441