At the time of the game I made some comments on the trouble at the Arsenal / Everton match – something I saw from the vantage of the upper tier a little way along from the place over the away fans – towards the half way line.
My thought at the time was that the biggest problem was the policing of the away fans – as the problems started it seemed that we were back to the old problem of police and stewards not being able to handle the matter because they were in the wrong place and had no way to get at the problem.
Immediately after a number of Everton fans wrote to the blog, daring me to print their comments and saying I wouldn’t; but of course I published them as I do 99.999% of comments sent in. Their argument was that they were under attack from fans above – something that I couldn’t see – but I was also trying to watch the match.
Now the police report has been released via the Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn and it states that there were some instances of Arsenal fans spitting onto Everton fans, confirmed by Arsenal stewards in the away section. A programme and a burger also came down from upstairs onto the away fans – which of course could have been deliberate or simply someone mucking about and being silly – or a deliberate ploy (although it seems a bit of a waste of £6 to me). Would you use a programme as a missile?
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AISA says, “The vast majority of the objects that landed on Everton fans (as seen in the YouTube videos of the incident) were in fact thrown up by other Everton fans, trying to reach people in club level. Merseyside police confirmed that Everton fans have “previous” for doing this – trying to throw objects up, and ending up hitting their own fans.”
The police’s view of the incident was that it was “something and nothing”. Some Everton fans rushed across the away section to get involved in an altercation across the barrier; a number of Everton fans were drunk and “lively” that day. 6 arrests made, all of whom are Everton fans and are going to court.
So there we are – a lot of pushing and shouting and the like and not nearly as much as it might have seen at first go.
I am most grateful to AISA for putting this report out – it helps clear up a situation on which we had some very contradictory comments.
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