Football: FA will rule today on Stevenage tie
Friday 09 January 1998
The FA gave the go-ahead for the match to take place at non-League Stevenage's Broadhall Way stadium following a meeting of safety experts earlier this week.
But Newcastle yesterday complained that the ground, which will have its capacity increased from 6,600 to 8,000 for the televised match on 25 January with temporary seating, is not large enough and have faxed the FA with a detailed complaint.
The public row that has broken out between the clubs has marred the build- up to the game and Newcastle's fans have accused their side of going "completely over the top" with their objections.
John Regan, secretary of the Newcastle Independent Supporters' Association, said: "The whole thing has turned into a farce and all this bickering is taking the gloss off the tie for Stevenage. As far as the supporters are concerned, Stevenage were first out of the hat, it is their home tie, they have a safety certificate and that should be that."
In a local poll on Tyneside, 70 per cent of the club's fans backed the Vauxhall Conference side's right to host the tie.
Newcastle announced their intention to appeal against the FA's decision to allow Stevenage to host the match following a visit by their own safety officer to the Hertfordshire ground.
The Premiership club have insisted that "a ground of this size" would be "totally unsuitable bearing in mind the immense interest in the tie and the anticipated level of support from Newcastle fans for this match". Stevenage responded by accusing Newcastle of "Big Brother" tactics.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Brown, chairman of the safety advisory group which took the decision to allow the match to go ahead, maintained that everyone involved in the unanimous decision at Tuesday's meeting knew exactly what they were doing.
Brown said: "We are clearly satisfied that the ground is safe, providing that certain conditions are met. We looked at the issue in depth and it is obviously not something we take lightly. We can assure people that our prime consideration is safety, as is the club's."
Latest in Sport
Chelsea injury news: Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic could join Diego Costa on the sidelines for crucial Manchester City clash
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Fantasy Premier League: Invest in Arsenal to climb the ranks in Gameweek 23
Manchester United sign former Manchester City prospect Sadiq El Fitouri on advice from Phil Neville and Paul Scholes
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...