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Police 4 (or more) Arsenal 0

Last time I saw a game at Ninian Park I found the most interesting thing of the afternoon was the police tactics – but I thought that was a one off.  This time it was crazier, more bizarre, more insane.  Even in the wild days of the 70s it was never quite like this.

As we walked to the ground there was the police helicopter scuppering around over head, but we hardly noticed for the hundreds, maybe even over 1000 police, all around the ground.

And they were doing the strangest things.

An aggression of police wagons was driving very slowly towards the ground.  (I am assured that “aggression” is the correct collective noun here.)  There were 30 or 40 of them in a line.  Now, you’d have thought it might have been a good idea to get them into place an hour or two before the match – but no, there we were, 40 minutes before kick off, and the road was congested with police wagons.   All mixed up with the traffic.

To one side were all the coppers in full riot gear marching backwards – yes I kid you not.  Backwards.   Then every now and then a senior cop would shout “C Division Close Up”, and the cops would look at each other and shrug.   As one said to me as we sauntered by – “ain’t it great when you know exactly what’s going on!”

Eventually we meandered through the muddle and took our places just behind the goal for what was a fairly ordinary if not downright dull affair.   Then as the final whistle went the PA commentator thanked Arsenal supporters for their impeccable behaviour as the Cardiff fans nearest us launched a massive attack on the police.

We watched for a while, and cheered a few of the arrests, but then walked out, to find the most extraordinary scene as police marched hither and thither, and the same cop shouted “C Division Close up” and more Cardiff fans were bundled into wagons.

What the police clearly have not quite got in south Wales is that holidng cameras within a few inches of someone’s face is aggressive policing, and quite unnecessary – as is following people along the street in a similar way.   Likwise, turning as a group of three to scream abuse at one supporter who is politely asking for directions, really doesn’t do anything for public-police relationships.

Of course many of the police are perfectly nice people – and I was pleased they were there to stop the extremely violent and possibly unhinged Cardiff fans who launched their attack as the final whistle sounded.   But really – good organisation is the base of good policing.   Can someone tell them?

And that was it really.  Mindless violence and aggressive disorganised policing – it was rather as if the 70s and 80s was taken as a blueprint, rather than a warning.

Ramsey wasn’t anything like his best – but at least it gave Denilson a break.  Diaby, when he came on, livened things up.  Otherwise, the fact that we ended up singing anti-Tottenham songs through much of the second half, tells you it was a bit yuk.   There’s a replay sometime.

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