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August 2021

Everton object to reduced ticket allocation for FA Cup match

By Tony Attwood

I must admit that when I wrote my piece about the danger of flares and smoke bombs in football matches, I didn’t expect much interest.  But we did get an above average number of readers.

I did however hope that my final paragraph would suggest to anyone who did read the article that I was worried by all use of flares, smoke bombs and similar devices, no matter which club the perpetrators support.

That final paragraph read…

And just in case anyone wants to write in and blame Arsenal fans for any dangerous actions at away grounds, then yes I would advocate the same action there against Arsenal if Arsenal fans are taking flares into grounds.

That para got missed by some correspondents I think, and that made the debate more factional than I had intended, but anyway, time has moved on and now we know what is going to happen in terms of ticket allocation for the Arsenal v Everton FA Cup match.

Of course I am not suggesting for one microsecond that Untold had anything to do with this.  When I wrote the piece I was just expressing my dismay at the situation, my concern for people’s safety, and my worry about the inability of stewards to deal with the matter.  (As one correspondent wrote in to say, stewards were seen twice going into exactly the same part of the ground to deal with pyrotechnical devices.  You might have thought they would have sorted things out the first time).

What does bemuse me however is the fact that one set of illegal and dangerous behaviour can be excused by another.  The number of arguments put forward about the bad behaviour of Arsenal fans in matches against Everton seems to suggest that there is some parallel – but there isn’t.  I don’t think that there is a single one in the 4080 articles on this site that has ever excused dangerous, racist, homophobic or any other form of illegal behaviour at any football match, whether it is carried out by fans of Arsenal or any other club.  I’m against all such behaviour by all supporters, and indeed if ever anyone submitted an article approving of illegal behaviour I’d reject it.

I wrote about the pyrotechnics at the Everton and Liverpool games because, seated as I am in the north bank, I had a perfect view of both.  I have not seen such incidents at Arsenal away games, but I perfectly accept that this might be because I only go to a few Arsenal away games.

Anyway, here’s the statement from the Everton web site regarding the forthcoming FA Cup match…

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Everton will receive a reduced allocation of 5,186 tickets for the FA Cup with Budweiser quarter-final tie against Arsenal on Saturday 8 March, kick off 12.45pm.
Discussions have been taking place in the past 48 hours to determine the exact number of away tickets to be made available, with Blues officials attempting to secure the maximum 15% allocation.
However, the Club has today been informed by Arsenal’s Safety Advisory Group, which is made up of representatives from the club, local authority, police and transport that the number has been reduced from 9,000 due to fears over safety issues from persistent standing and the use of smoke bombs/pyrotechnics in the upper tiers of the Emirates stadium.
The safety group made similar decisions in earlier rounds of the competition with both Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool receiving significantly reduced ticket allocations.
Everton did raise objections with both the Football Association and Arsenal over the number of tickets being made available but the advisory group makes the final decision on allocations.
So there we are – not the Draconian approach that I advocated, but still a response.  I imagine that if there are more disturbances of the type we saw at the league match then the number might come down further, but on the other hand if the practice of bringing flares or smoke bombs or other similar devices into the ground stops, then perhaps the number will got back up again.
And to conclude as I started.  If another club does that to Arsenal in response to Arsenal fans taking such objects into their ground, I’d support the club in that issue.
Why Everton FC objected to the safety ruling is not explained, and I would like to know why they objected, given the danger that there is from flares, smoke bombs etc.
Are they objecting because they don’t think there is a danger, or do they have an alternative plan for dealing with such devices?  If the latter it would be good if they could publish their plans so that all clubs can benefit from their approach.
If they do put out a statement to explain their objection to the reduction of ticket numbers on safety grounds, please do write in and let us all know.   And if I can find out exactly what was said within the Arsenal  Safety Advisory Group meeting I will of course publish it here.

15 comments to Everton object to reduced ticket allocation for FA Cup match

  • Mick EFC

    The reason Arsenal gave for the reduced allocation was persistent standing and the possibility that pyrotechnics could be thrown from the upper level.

    Both eventualities could be prevented by allocating the visiting fans 9,000 seats in the lower area. As it is, 4,000 seats which should by rights be allocated to Evertonians will be occupied by Arsenal fans. That’s not fair.

    The stadium is almost brand new and should be flexible enough to accommodate the 9,000 (15%) allocation with adequate segregation and stewarding. It looks like Arsenal are pulling a fast one – particularly as they pulled the same trick on Spurs and Liverpool. They should find a solution.

  • Howard Ferguson

    what a load of self righteous nonsense

    Arsenal dont want 10000 scousers in – end of

    Talk about the Highbury library


  • Brian Wilson

    Sorry, but forgive the pun. This is just one big smokescreen to cut the number of away supporters. Nothing whatsoever to do with flares etc. I must be honest and say if it was my club in this situation, then I would probably want the same think to apply. I also hope that your Stewards at the Stadium have better control over your “prawn cocktail brigade” who sit above the away supporters, as many coins were thrown from that section the last time I was there. This is as dangerous, if not more so than flares. Etc.

  • OlegYch

    is Arsenal the only club reducing away fans tickets allocation on safety grounds?

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think Aston Villa does this also or did this against Arsenal in the past. On the ground that the Arsenal fans refused to sit during the match. That is what I read on a few occasions.

  • Dreaming of Safari in Dar es Salaam

    Whatever the reason is to the detriment of Everton and maybe tarnishes the SPIRIT of the FA CUP…….I care not.

    Mucking around with odd kickoff times, odd days for matches and totally annililating the FA CUP draw ( I remember the glorious times when I use to tune into the radio to LISTEN to the draw on a Monday)……so to the FA, up yours.

    COYG….lets win it for eachother and Mr A Wenger Esq.

  • blacksheep63

    Personally I’m with the Everton fans on this one. The flares are dangerous and annoying but represent a tiny minority of away fans – who is say that reducing the number of away fans from 9k to 4k will wheedle out the culprits? I would rather work with Everton to find out who brought in the flares, ban them, and move on. As for anyone throwing coins etc down onto people below them, they should be found, prosecuted, and banned for life. Arsenal. Everton. Anyone.

  • Mick EFC

    It seems like we’re all together on this one. Blacksheep63 has it spot on.

  • Dave EFC

    A few days on I still can not lose the anger I feel at the cutting of away tickets, it seems quite clear that Arsenal are pulling a fast one to prevent large numbers of away fans entering the stadium (mainly because they have been able to) and this will no doubt end up with a tit for tat on away tickets from other clubs, this problem is going to get worse, Arsenal should have to give 15% be it in the upper or lower tier or close that part of the ground so home fans do not use the seats that make up the 15%, home fans should not be able to use these seats (I’m not knocking Arsenal fans here) what really gets me is that the FA say nothing, no statment no move to explain why they are letting it slide, no process in place for other clubs using health and safety to reduce FA cup numbers. Just using Everton and Arsenal as examples we have had objects thrown into the away end and been spat at from your fans in the last few years, can the safety group confirm this will not happen again while our fans have taken smoke bombs and threw coins at other teams players, should or fans not be banned from every single ground because of this? (no smart comments please)if the people can’t be found who are throwing objects at grounds this points to poor cctv that clubs should be forced to upgrade with the tens of millions of pounds they recive each yr and the FA need some backbone when dealing with clubs and TV but as we have it we have early kick offs with cut number of away fans. One other note on the FA last season in the cup we had Bolton away, we requested more tickets as 2 upper sections had no tickets sold, ‘police advise’ prevented us getting more than our stand behind the goal so we had fans in the Bolton end leading to trouble, a few months later on ‘police advice’ Poland got 20,000 tickets for a home England game, the FA response? Each police force has its own way of running football games. FA scum

  • mike EFC

    Not sure what your article is about in any way shape or form.
    At 51, i’ve seen real football stadium problems and the fact that we can now go to a game in 99% complete safety inside and outside the stadia is a great reflection on how we have progressed.
    the majority of Everton and Arsenal supporters behave impeccably, the occasional idiot letting off a flare or smoke bomb in our case and in yours from my recent visits spitting and throwing coins at women and children sat below them, neither is impressive but i do feel the latter has more chance of escalating. i’m a born and bred Scouser and love my team and football. I enjoy being able to chat to away fans and age offers the knowledge of where lines should be drawn regarding banter. What i do not tolerate is being spat upon or having a coward throw missiles at me and i can assure your there will be another 5000 in your stadium with the same miindset but probably younger and far quicker to respond.
    Its about increased revenue to sell to your own fans and trying to maintain an advantage with the crowd, nothing more or less. If it is about safety, close the upper sections.
    i mailed the FA who passed the book by immediate response, i mean within 5 minutes! Jellyfish

  • Mick EFC

    Here’s what the Mayor of Liverpool has to say:

    Dear Mr Dyke

    Arsenal FC v Everton FC – FA Cup Saturday 8 March 2014

    I am extremely concerned that Arsenal FC have taken a decision to dramatically reduce the away fans’ allocation for the FA Cup Quarter Final. I will declare my own interest on this matter immediately – I am an Everton season ticket holder, but as Mayor of Liverpool I will fight for fairness for people of this city under any circumstances. I am also concerned that the FA have been overwhelmingly silent in their response to the announcement.

    I fail to understand how the FA can sanction a move contrary to its own rules, at a time when the FA Cup is struggling to preserve its reputation as a truly special and inclusive cup competition with a long and proud history. Surely what represents all of its finest traditions and the aura of the cup most is the atmosphere generated by highly partisan crowds which are boosted by the 15% regulation and which go some way to levelling the playing field for the away side.

    I respect that the views of the Safety Advisory Group are critical in respect of stadium safety issues and cannot be ignored. I also absolutely condemn the use of flares or any other pyrotechnics at matches. I am not for one moment convinced however that the stadium management of a premier league football club, with years of experience of handling domestic and European cup fixtures cannot devise a solution to ensure that the FA’s 15% rule is maintained, especially in a modern, purpose built stadium such as the Emirates. I am aware that the stadium stages concerts where dancing and alcohol consumption are a regular feature in the upper tier, yet football supporters are treated so appallingly. This is deplorable given fans’ importance as a key stakeholder in the success of the game, a fact which the FA regularly appears to overlook.

    Arsenal’s aggressive and draconian stance that any previous transgressions by a mindless few will result in 4000 fans being penalised is blanket discrimination and is the time for the FA to step in rather than absolve itself of any responsibility.

    Surely the obvious solution, if the Safety Advisory Group are so concerned about the upper tier allocation, is to identify a block with seats in the lower tier of the stadium ? It seems not just to me and the majority of Everton fans, but also to casual observers, that Arsenal are seeking to use this excuse and their obstinate refusal to co-operate, to reduce the away support and thereby gain a competitive footballing advantage, with the FA’s apparent endorsement. The decision to not reduce Coventry’s travelling support, yet to do so when Premier League opposition such as Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton comes to town only reinforces the suspicion that safety factors are not the only motive behind their decision.

    By being weak-willed and failing to impose its own rules the FA are acting against all of its equalities obligations but also foolishly shooting themselves in the foot by conspiring to denigrate the very traditions and spirit that embodies the FA Cup.

    I urge you to meet with the management of Arsenal FC as a matter of urgency to find a solution that ensures compliance with the FA regulation. Failure to show any leadership on this matter will only further the perception held by the majority of football fans that the FA is spectacularly out of touch with the needs of the modern supporter and has total disregard for the role that fans contribute to the game. It seems abundantly clear to me that if the FA can’t be bothered to uphold the spirit and respect the value of the FA Cup, then don’t cry if fans do the same.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely

    Joe Anderson
    Mayor of Liverpool

  • Paul Robinson

    So one of the largest clubs in England with one of the largest and newest stadiums can’t cope with away fans. This is purely down to pressure from the shadows to ensure Arsenal get an advantage. Is this the only way they can win a trophy? My solution is to ban Arsenal fans from Goodison. We don’t need the money. And as for Mr Attwood, whats the difference between 1, 5 or 10,000 fans? It only takes 1 or 2 idiots to set off the flares and then the stewards should get involved. The objection is plain and simple, we have a right to our allocation just as the Gunners have if they played away. The game is being slowly eroded by the likes of Mr Attwood and the small but very vocal minority.

  • James Prendergast

    Same old Arsenal always cheating – and before kick off as well !

  • NickK66

    With apologies to George Orwell, here’s an article I sent in to Everton (who – to their shame- seem disinclined to pursue any further appeals to Arsenal or the FA, so Arsenal are set to get away with this flagrant abuse of FA rules, further tarnishing this once prestigious competition.

    ARSENAL FARM…..Orwellian abuse of FA rules, as Gunners show self-serving disrespect to the Cup.

    With this week’s announcement of a much-reduced ticket allocation for visiting fans for the FA Cup quarter final, post the ubiquitous meeting of the Emirates Stadium Safety Advisory Group, presumably chaired by a plump pink individual named Napoleon, Arsenal further undermined the prestige of this formerly celebrated old competition and showed their disdain for genuine fans.
    For the third consecutive time, albeit it for slightly different reasons on each occasion, Arsenal announced a decision to virtually halve the 15% FA Cup away ticket entitlement (from some 9,000 to little over 5,000) to away fans for Spurs, Liverpool and Everton, respectively.

    According to their Safety Advisory Group, it would appear that it would be unsafe to offer Everton fans any seats in the upper stand, in case any of them should either stand or celebrate a goal. This despite clear TV evidence of Arsenal fans doing the former (and only the former!) throughout the match versus Bayern Munich just this past week. Clearly all fans are not equal, as Coventry fans were offered some 9,000 tickets when they came calling, perhaps in a charitable act of support to the stricken Midlanders, rather than, as a cynic may suggest, due to any lack of local interest in the fixture…

    It seems somewhat strange and illogical that the safety of away fans cannot be guaranteed in what most people, me included, consider the finest stadium in the country. Yet, paradoxically, the seating areas in question will not be left empty, but will be made available to Arsenal fans, presumably on account of their superior sense of balance. (Were there any mountain goats at Orwell’s Manor Farm, does anyone recall?)

    One alternative which solves the altitude problem would surely be to locate the additional 4,000 Evertonians in adjacent lower tier sections. Although the only time I witnessed trouble at the Emirates was due to Arsenal fans in the upper tier being given free rein to bombard the Everton fans below with coins, drinks and programmes; something for which Arsenal subsequently made a formal apology to Everton. Yet that self-same scenario will be repeated, with home fans directly above the away following, apparently with the full blessing of the advisory committee in its wisdom.

    Knee-jerk reaction suggests that Everton should reciprocate when Arsenal visit Goodison, but this only further hits the genuine fan. Perhaps it would be better were Arsenal’s safety certificate for the Emirates to be temporarily withdrawn, at least until they could guarantee the safety of 9,000 visiting fans. An alternative venue for the match is available either at the northern end of the Seven Sisters Road (where Arsenal played when Highbury suffered war damage) or at Wembley… Or, would it be better if the entire upper tier of The Emirates were left empty, so the safety of all ‘animals’ could be guaranteed?

    Surely the FA must realize that spurious reasons are being trumped up to suit the hosts and further devalue the FA Cup quarter final as a spectacle? This betrays the Cup’s traditions and disrespects the football supporter; attitudes sadly typical of the Premier League era.
    I had always respected Arsenal, regarding them as a club with class, which gets things right. Though it should not be forgotten they were one of England’s most notorious ‘special dispensation clubs’ with the shameful way they were voted into the old First Division in 1919 at the expense of Tottenham, whose feat in winning Division Two was to count for nothing. This latest episode of disadvantaging their Cup opponents, however, leaves a very sour taste. It simply should not be allowed.

    I wonder how the Arsenal Board members are justifying it to themselves. Then the image comes to mind: peering through the boardroom window, I can see them. They’re down on all fours. They are not wearing clothes, and their noses are firmly stuck in a large red and white trough. And there, on the back wall, someone has crossed out the FA’s rules for their famous Cup competition….
    Nick Klaassen

  • Mick EFC

    Class, Mr Klaassen.