Norwich City and Ipswich Town fans hit out at bid to switch East Anglian derby day clash
PUBLISHED: 23:19 02 July 2014 | UPDATED: 08:28 04 July 2014
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011
Canaries fans and supporters of bitter rivals Ipswich have both expressed concern about plans to move next month’s East Anglian Derby to a Sunday lunchtime kick-off.
The derby, the first since the 2010–11 season following Norwich’s relegation from the Premier League in May, was scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 23, following the release of the Sky Bet Championship fixture list last month.
But, after a request from Suffolk Police, the Bank Holiday weekend clash is now likely to be played on Sunday, August 24 with a noon kick-off at Portman Road.
The request from the police, who want to minimise any trouble, has yet to be confirmed by the Football League but has sparked concern.
A statement issued by the Norwich City Supporters Trust said: “We remember all too well the inadequacy of the policing at the last derby match at Portman Road, much of which stemmed from the refusal of the police to liaise with supporters groups at either club.
“This resulted in a number of situations where the safety of supporters was unnecessarily compromised, but it appears that no lessons have been learned. We find it hard to believe that the police were unaware of the planned disruption to train services on the day.
“If that is indeed the case, we would question how it has been decided that having Norwich supporters travelling from all directions in small groups is easier to police than the majority arriving by train and therefore being kept together.
“Indeed, we would question whether the best interest of fans has been considered at all in this decision. The fiasco of the policing of the last derby could potentially have led to a tragedy. We call upon the police forces involved to reconsider this ill- thought-out decision to ensure that potential doesn’t become reality this time around.”
The Ipswich Town Independent Supporters Trust also criticised the lack of consultation with fans.
A Suffolk Police spokesman said the request stemmed from a report following derby games in 2011 which concluded future matches should be held on a Sunday lunchtime, to minimise the potential for disorder but has yet to be confirmed.
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