Police praise fans after trouble-free match

POLICE chiefs have praised revellers and football fans for their good behaviour after the opening weekend of the World Cup passed 'without major incident' in Lowestoft.

POLICE chiefs have praised revellers and football fans for their good behaviour after the opening weekend of the World Cup passed 'without major incident' in Lowestoft.

And while the first week of South Africa 2010 may not as yet have reached the highs of previous tournaments, excitement will again reach fever pitch tonight as England return to action in their second group game with a 7.30pm kick off against Algeria.

Fervent England fans turned out in their hundreds to cheer on Fabio Capello's men on Saturday as they packed out pubs across Waveney to watch the 1-1 draw against the USA.

Police chiefs were pleased to report there no major incidents, but said extra patrols would be carried out for tonight's game - and also for next Wednesday's crucial afternoon clash with Slovenia.

Safer Neighbourhood Team Insp Sarsfield Donohue said: 'It was a busy evening, with licensed premises around the town full of England supporters early on, however there was no football-related violence and the night was comparable to a normal busy Saturday in many respects.

'There was a high-profile police presence around town with Safer Neighbourhood Team officers joining response and Special Constabulary colleagues to try to ensure the evening passed off without major incident, and we carried out licensing visits at several venues in the town.

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'The message this week is the same - have a good time, but please enjoy yourself responsibly,' Insp Donohue added. 'Officers will be out on patrol during the games to deal with any incidents of disorder.'

Many pubs and clubs in Lowestoft were showing the game on Saturday night and saw takings boosted.

Sarah Youngson, manager of Notleys in Royal Thoroughfare, said Saturday's match had been as busy as expected, as scores of fans chose to watch the action on its big screens.

'Compared to previous World Cups the scheduling of England's games are perfect for the leisure industry,' she told The Journal. 'From a trading point of view, last Saturday's result was significant in that it will place huge significance on the final game, which will attract a big audience. We reached our maximum numbers one hour before kick off on Saturday, so unfortunately we had to turn people away.'

With this in mind, Notleys are reminding football followers to 'get there early' for England matches.

Ms Youngson added that it was 'surprising' to see that about 30pc of those watching Saturday's game were women.

MOST pubs and bars in Waveney are currently reaping the benefits of World Cup fever.

But at least one village local can claim to be a football-free zone.

Steve Mabbutt, landlord of the Angel Inn at Wangford, has vowed that he will not be putting up screens to show matches.

'With the majority of pubs in the area showing football we believe people not wanting football forced upon them should have somewhere to enjoy a quiet drink and meal,' he said. 'I am not against football or the World Cup and really want England to do well, but I do believe that there are many people who prefer not to

have the noise of supporters around them.'

Steve and his wife Diane took over the pub last December.

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