Rovers act to prevent replay trouble

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Blackburn Rovers will put stringent security measures in place in an effort to avoid any trouble in the FA Cup replay against their Lancashire neighbours Burnley next week.

Blackburn Rovers will put stringent security measures in place in an effort to avoid any trouble in the FA Cup replay against their Lancashire neighbours Burnley next week.

Trouble broke out during their 0-0 fifth-round draw on Sunday when Blackburn's Robbie Savage was confronted by a Burnley fan, who was jailed for five months yesterday, and Rovers have already held talks with police about Tuesday's replay. Extra police and stewards will be drafted in while Blackburn will restrict some of the car parks to coaches carrying away fans, and change some points of entry to Ewood Park for home fans.

"We have a blueprint for high-profile games, which have included Burnley the last time they came here and more recently Celtic in the Uefa Cup, and that will be used as the base model," said Blackburn's chief executive, John Williams. "We are acutely conscious of the importance and the difference between Sunday's draw and this game, not least that one set of fans will be disappointed - even if, God forbid, it is after 120 minutes and penalties.

"We are also acutely aware that it is an evening kick-off and the problems that can bring. We are hopeful that the game will pass off without incident but we are not complacent. Some fans will be disrupted from their normal routines but we hope they understand that this is necessary."

Tickets have gone on sale today and Burnley have been allocated 7,000 tickets to try to prevent any infiltration into the home fans' areas. Williams said Blackburn would sell tickets only to people already on their database, and that there would be no ticket sales on the day.

Lancashire police inspector Phil Cottam advised Burnley fans to take up the offer of coach travel from Turf Moor to Ewood Park for the cost of £3. As many as 150 coaches may be needed and Cottam said: "I cannot stress strongly enough that travelling on one of the coaches provided by Burnley Football Club is the best way to arrive in time for the kick-off and to receive controlled, safe and priority access into the stadium at Blackburn."

Burnley officials have urged fans to use the official coaches for the replay. The Clarets will sell their tickets to selected supporters today and are also anxious to make the tie trouble-free.

"We have consulted closely with the police and the club are following advice and providing return transport to the game for £3," said the Clarets' chief executive, Dave Edmundson. "With rush hour, the amount of traffic and no car-parking space at the ground, this is the best way to see the match as safely and as worry-free as possible."

Edmundson has welcomed the five-month prison sentence imposed on Michael Lewis, who confronted Savage on Sunday. Lewis was also banned from every ground in the country for 10 years.

"I would say a stint in prison would be one of the best deterrents for potential repeats of what happened on Sunday," Edmundson said. "No one would like to see it repeated."

He added that a full review of the stewarding of the game had taken place with "lessons learned" and measures put in place by the club to stop it happening again.

Comments