Cup's smallest venue braces itself for arrival of English horde

At least 100,000 fans, the largest movement of supporters for a sports event involving a British team, will throng to Gelsenkirchen, a mining town in the industrial Ruhr area and one of the smallest World Cup hosts.

Police and officials from the city, which has a population of 270,000, are making "extra plans'' to cope with the invasion.

The mayor's office has been in talks with the BBC to screen the game at a viewing area accommodating up to 90,000 England fans as the current viewing park for fans holds only 30,000.

Police have taken extra precautions after the disorderly scenes in Stuttgart last weekend when 500 England fans were arrested. The 129 England fans who have so far received city bans during the tournament face fines of €500 (£350) if found in Gelsenkirchen. Police have advised bar owners to serve drinks in plastic cups.

The city's Lord Mayor, Frank Barnowski, and its police chief, Peter Honnef, have spoken about a "concern and small fear'' many local people feel about the arrival of England fans, including British soldiers from nearby bases.

Mr Honnef said: "There will be so many people here in this small town and there is a little fear in the minds of local people after what they have seen on their televisions so far.

"We learnt that when the English got drunk they were provoked half and half by the German fans and we are taking steps to ensure the hooligans we have in this area are not able to be around the city centre."

Gelsenkirchen police say they will not run out of cells for fans they arrest, as was the case in Stuttgart. Gelsenkirchen is an impressive venue for the game, with a £132m purpose-built stadium holding 43,500, but there are concerns about the ability of its infrastructure to cope.

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