This evening saw a UEFA Champions League football match take place in town between The New Saints from Oswestry and Legia Warszawa from Poland.
The game was held at the Racecourse ground due to ‘demand for tickets’, despite an intention to play it at the normal TNS ground, the Park Hall Stadium in Oswestry. The capacity of Park Hall is stated as 1000 plus standing for around 1000 people around the rest of the ground.
Tonight’s attendance has been mentioned to be around 3500, so at £20 a ticket around a possible extra £30,000-£50,000 revenue for the club, minus any costs such as ground hire. As of yet we do not have the details of where the bill for the security operation will land.
Due to the game concerns were raised over fans clashing in and around town. This morning we were told local police leave had been cancelled, with around 250 personnel being involved in the security operation. Similarly we were told that resources were being brought in from Liverpool and Manchester.
Tonight we saw that it was true Greater Manchester Police supplied the horses, whereas some dog units appeared to be shipped in from Merseyside.
Speaking to local traders there was worry that the police response would not be adequate to deal with or deter trouble. Some shops and bars closed their doors early, although a group of Legia fans we spoke with were more interested in purchasing cans of beer to drink outside rather than in a pub. Other’s had beefed up their security by hiring door staff for the evening.
Throughout the day the town has seen an increase in police patrols, with a visible (!) rise in undercover police vehicles around town as several hundred Legia fans descended on the town centre.
We observed on the whole good natured fans drinking happily in town. The nature of the fans was very passionate, loud and boisterous. This was a culture clash to some, and there were the odd moments of friction, with ones we saw caused by both visitors and locals alike.
So far we are aware of two specific incidents, with three arrested after an event outside the Horse and Jockey pub in the town centre. We were informed that four police vans arrived at the scene. Another incident took place outside the library with further arrests made.
Over the last few days North Wales Police have increased their twitter activity with extra accounts being created for individuals. Today has seen an excellent use of social media to feedback, advise and interact with members of the public regarding the match.
Two issues appeared to be mentioned to us throughout town and online, that of anti-social behaviour, e.g. urinating in streets, littering and the drinking in public.
— Laura Millington (@LauzMill1991) July 17, 2013
We raised both issues via twitter and had prompt responses:
As with social media it is a two way street, and to the above tweet regarding street drinking there was some direct comment asking if the rules will remain the same tomorrow and if the forthcoming Wrexham v Chester game will be equally policed. At the time of writing (as the full time whistle blows) it appears the security operation has worked, and praise has been given throughout the day to the police.
Love how a police officer came up to me and asked if I felt intimidated and asked if I was okay. Thanks PC Claire — geowfc (@geoilz) July 17, 2013
As for the game, Legia won 3-1 so there wont be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions tonight!
A great atmosphere at the Racecourse tonight. Very little trouble so far – officers will remain on duty to assist in the town tonight.
— Mark Williams (@NWPWrexhamTown) July 17, 2013
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