Newcastle fans handed away game ban

21 July 2011 08:00
FOOTBALL fans reacted angrily last night after Newcastle United effectively banned non-season ticket holders from away games following ugly scenes at a pre-season friendly with Darlington.[LNB] The club said non-season ticket holders and non-members would not be able to buy tickets for away games.[LNB] [LNB] The policy has been implemented with immediate effect following the shameful and unsavoury incidents that marred last Friday's friendly game at The Northern Echo Arena in Darlington.[LNB] The Magpies also said the club will work with police to identify those responsible for the trouble and vowed to take further action against any fan involved.[LNB] The Quakers are also helping police with the investigation and will follow Newcastle's lead in taking action against any guilty fans.[LNB] However, Newcastle's new ticketing policy was criticised by fans for pricing them out of football and punishing innocent supporters.[LNB] The tough response follows trouble at Darlington, when hundreds of fans ran on to the pitch after Sammy Ameobi scored a second goal and fights broke out. The game was delayed for ten minutes while both managers pleaded with fans to return to the stands.[LNB] Afterwards three fans two men aged 21 and 22 from the Newcastle area, and a 17-yearold youth from Darlington were arrested and charged with pitch invasion and public order offences.[LNB] Newcastle manager Alan Pardew and managing director Derek Llambias promised the club would take the strongest possible action.[LNB] A club spokesman said yesterday they would not tolerate criminal or anti-social behaviour at home or away fixtures.[LNB] They would seek to give guilty fans a club banning order and were acting on information provided by fans to help identify offenders in Darlington.[LNB] He added: In order to combat any possible trouble at future away fixtures, a new policy will be implemented by the club which will see ticket sales restricted to season ticket holders and members only.[LNB] As such, the buyer will be held accountable for any trouble associated with the purchase or use of a ticket.[LNB] 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.[LNB] Previously, tickets went on sale to season ticket holders and members, before any unsold tickets went to other supporters.[LNB] Steve Wraith, editor of Newcastle fanzine Toon Talk, said: This regime at the club needs to start communicating with supporters before they make these decisions. The fans have no representation and they need a voice.[LNB] I think the decision is a complete over-reaction. What happened at Darlington was over-exuberance, youths getting excited.[LNB] A spokesman for Darlington FC said the club was working with its counterparts at Durham Police and had handed them DVD evidence.[LNB] The Quakers have also provided the FA with a dossier of evidence.[LNB] Tony Taylor, of the Darlington FC Supporters Trust, said he supported action to ban offending fans, but described Newcastle's membership scheme as opportunism.[LNB] He said: It seems to be an opportunity to make it more expensive for football fans, who will follow their clubs whatever.[LNB] No further action has been planned for the forthcoming friendlies against Middlesbrough and Sunderland, although the club will maintain its planning with police.[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo