NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Feb 27th, 2012.
Fans of Wrexham FC have accused Greater Manchester Police of being heavy-handed in the aftermath of their team’s disappointing loss at Stockport on Saturday.
Several reds fans said they were pushed and shoved by officers as they exited Edgeley Park and some accused officers of swearing at them.
Wrexham fan Richard Jones took a video of the tense scenes outside the ground after the game and uploaded it to Youtube:
At one point the footage appears to show a police officer pushing a Wrexham fan in the face.
We spoke to Richard and he gave his account of what happened, he said: “It all started as we came out of the turnstiles after the game. I asked the first policeman I saw which way it was to the station but he just said ‘Get on the pavement behind me’. We waited a few minutes and suddenly the police started pushing a group of about 100 of us towards a wall.
“They were pushing us from all angles, a few fans were singing Wrexham songs and they didn’t seem to like it. Then a police officer on a horse rode into the crowd. The fans infront of the horse tried to walk around the police but were quite clearly pushed around for attempting to do so.
“I had to stop filming when a policeman grabbed at my phone, he said ‘Turn it off or I’ll snap it.'”
On Wrexham FC fan site Red Passion other fans also complained of heavy handed treatment, willbobisback said: “I was walking back to our coach yesterday when I was unceremoniously pushed from behind by a copper. I’m 51 years old & was walking back & nowhere near any of those who were jostling near the exit.”
A number of fans said that they would be writing formal complaints as a result of how they were treated.
Before the match there were crowd congestion issues as the 1,429 strong travelling contingent struggled to get into the ground in time for the 3 o’clock kick off.
Over a hundred Wrexham fans are believed to have been taken through the home turnstiles with some still being escorted to an overspill stand 20 minutes into the game. One fan tweeted during the game saying “Good crowd at wrexham game, bad policing, wrexham fans not allowed in other stand despite. handfull, lots of fans getting squashed, dangerous”
Stockport County’s press officer Phil Brennan has said that the club will be holding a full investigation into how Saturday’s game was policed and stewarded stating that he was disappointed with what went on.
Speaking to Wrexham.com he said: “The club are holding a meeting this afternoon (Tuesday) and top of the bill is to go through all complaints about how the match was policed and stewarded on Saturday.
“Chairman Lord Peter Snape and his fellow director Spencer Fearn are planning to carry out a full internal investigation into what happened and to see how we can prevent this from happening again.”
He added that the club were seeking feedback from Wrexham fans on their experience so that they could investigate properly. Any Wrexham fans wishing to do so should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: 4.50pm Greater Manchester Police have issued a strong defence of how the game was policed.
Chief Inspector Leon Jacobs from Greater Manchester Police’s Stockport Division said: “Officers faced a very challenging day, with large numbers of identified risk supporters from both Stockport County FC and Wrexham AFC present.
“We implemented a robust operation that enabled us to keep both Wrexham and Stockport fans safe while they made their way to and from the football ground. Our focus was very much on those individuals we believed were intent on causing public disorder.
“I acknowledge that some genuine supporters may have been caught up amongst those who were trying to leave the police escort to cause trouble, although we worked hard to minimise the risk of this occurring.
“However, I believe if the police operation had not been implemented, we may have seen large scale disorder in Stockport.
“If any members of the public want to make a complaint about the operation on the day, I would ask them to raise it through the appropriate channel and contact the Professional Standards Branch.”