Sports Letters: Hooliganism's curse

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The Independent Online
Sir: In response to Mark Newman's comments (Sports Letters, 20 May), I also attended the Blackpool v Port Vale game on 8 May. I am a Blackpool supporter. I, too, was seated in the Blackpool stand behind the goal, like Mr Newman, yet saw the events unfold from a different perspective. Port Vale's allocation was sold out so it was inevitable that the home ranks would be infiltrated by a few Port Vale fans. However, it was not '10 or so Port Vale supporters' as Mr Newman puts it, who celebrated their team's goal. It was about 40, who didn't appear to be 'supporters' at all. For a start they had congregrated together in a professional, organised-hooliganism manner. While I certainly do not condone football hooliganism, I do feel that the trouble was certainly Port Vale's fault as much as Blackpool's, if not more. In addition, there was a 'Port Vale fan carried off on a stretcher' as Mr Newman pointed out, but there was also a Blackpool steward who was badly injured and required medical treatment, and a female Blackpool supporter who needed treatment. I have attended every home game this season and have never witnessed scenes like that. While I am not saying that the trouble was all Port Vale's fault, I feel that the facts in Mr Newman's letter were not accurate, and that I felt a responsibility to correct them. Finally, for the record, Blackpool's Second Division status was secured due to Preston losing the week before, and not Exeter dropping two points against Port Vale, which Mr Newman stated.

Yours faithfully,

JOHN EARNSHAW

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

20 May

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