Newcastle crack down on fans ahead of Leeds clash

20 July 2011 06:11

Newcastle plan to restrict the sale of tickets for away matches to season ticket holders and members only in the future following a pitch invasion during last week's friendly clash with Darlington.

Magpies officials are currently working with Northumbria Police to identify those involved, while the Football Association is in contact with both clubs over the incident during last Friday night's game.

By restricting the sales of tickets to season ticket holders and members, the club feel they would be better able to trace anyone involved in misconduct in the future.

Ugly scenes: Fans confront Newcastle's Joey Barton during pitch invasion

In addition, the club insisted today that they intend to issue banning orders against anyone identified as being involved in the disturbance at Darlington.

A club statement said: 'In the aftermath of Friday's shameful and unsavoury incidents at Darlington, Newcastle United are currently working with Northumbria Police to identify those individuals who were responsible for criminal behaviour during the game.

'The club will not tolerate any kind of criminal or anti-social behaviour from fans at home or away fixtures,and anyone who is identified as being involved in such behaviour may besubject to a club banning order over and above any action taken by the police.

'The club have already received callsfrom a number of law-abiding fans who have provided information which will help identify offenders. This information is being treated in the strictest confidence and will be shared with the police.

'In order to combat any possible trouble at future away fixtures, a new policy will be implemented by theclub which will see ticket sales restricted to season ticket holders and members only.

'As such, the buyer will be held accountable for any trouble associated with the purchase/use of a ticket.

'Supporters attending the forthcominggame at Leeds will be reminded in advance of the game of their responsibilities to the club, fellow supporters and the game of footballas a whole.

'Newcastle United sincerely hopes that this incident is a one-off never to be repeated again and that as the 2011-12 season unfolds, the good name, fervour and loyalty of its fans will once again be to the fore up and down the country.'

First up: Joey Barton celebrates his early strike for Newcastle

But while many fans have condemned the minority who invaded the pitch at Darlington, the reaction to the announcement on the restriction of ticket sales has not gone down well.

Mark Jensen, editor of independent fanzine The Mag, said: 'It's a backward step. It's well documented how many Newcastle fans travel to away games, as is the good behaviour of the vast majority at those games.

'There was a problem at Darlington, but why disadvantage the majority just because a couple of people were arrested?

'I fail to see how, if all those people at Darlington had been season ticket holders and/or members, thatwould guarantee they would behave.

'If the people who were arrested are season ticket holders, then surely it's within the club's power to take their season tickets from them? I don't see what's different.

'It's a sledgehammer to crack a nut and I would suggest it's just a cynical way of pushing people to have tobecome members before they are allowed to buy an away ticket.'

The move was also criticised by fans'group United for Newcastle, who said in a statement: 'For many Toon fans, going to away matches will now be impossible. To use the events atDarlington to justify punishing innocent supporters and to take more money from loyal fans is nothing short of a disgrace.'

Two Newcastle fans have been arrestedand charged with pitch incursion and associated public order offences in relation to the events at the Northern Echo Arena.

Watch video of the pitch invasion

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Source: Daily_Mail