Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Shining Example

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Shining Example

Article excerpt

As England come to the Riverside, let's show the world how to behave

The eyes of the world will be on the Riverside Stadium next week for England's big clash with Slovakia.

Football fans everywhere will be wondering whether there will be a repeat of the aggro that marred England's Euro qualifier against Turkey at the Stadium of Light.

Sven Goran Eriksson, David Beckham and Michael Owen have already made public appeals for the fans to keep out of trouble.

Hooliganism, in or out of the stadium, and even racist chanting, will have massive repercussions for England.

However, despite a massive influx of up to 30,000 England supporters on Teesside, the Boro staff - and Cleveland Police - are already geared up to avoid trouble.

Working together at Premiership matches, they have a good record.

There were only 69 arrests around the club's home games last season - and just 13 of those were Boro supporters.

The vast majority of the arrests were for alleged relatively minor offences, such as drunkenness.

Club stewards made 46 ejections, too.

The majority of these - 32 - were visiting fans.

Ron Turnbull, Boro's Safety Officer, said: "When you consider that almost 600,000 people came through the turnstiles during the season, these figures are really very impressive.

"It equates to an average of just over three arrests per game.

"They reflect very well on the behaviour of the vast majority of Middlesbrough supporters and on the high standard of stewarding and policing we have on matchdays.

"Nearly all the arrests were for what I would describe as minor offences, as opposed to traditional 'hooliganism'.

"Violence, particularly within the stadium, was negligible."

Ron said the figures would have been more impressive had it not been for the visit of Spurs fans for the season's final home game.

"Unfortunately, the visit of Spurs had a detrimental effect on the figures as the organised disorder by a number of their fans resulted in 30 arrests," he said.

Ron added: "We pride ourselves in having a safe, friendly environment that will allow everyone to come along to enjoy their day out and watch the team they love.

"We've had great success in attracting more female fans than most other clubs.

"I have nothing but praise for most Boro supporters. We are frequently contacted by police and safety officials from other clubs praising the behaviour of our fans."

However, Ron said the club wouldn't be resting on its laurels.

He said: "There's always room for improvement and we are looking to take further steps forward next season.

"We have a strict policy of taking forceful action against individuals whose behaviour is racist or generally anti-social and will continue to do so."

Boro fans have rarely witnessed trouble at the Riverside, while Cleveland police will be working overtime to ensure that trouble is kept to a minimum next Wednesday. …

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