Following the recent incidents of anti-social behaviour, we have brought in some additional safety measures for our home games under the advice of the police.
We acknowledge that almost all supporters are well-behaved and some will feel these are unnecessary measures. However, even standing near the touchline waiting for the game to finish makes stewarding harder and identifying genuine troublemakers difficult to identify in a crowd.
We are faced with ever more serious sanctions for crowd problems so we have to act to protect the wider interests of the club and its supporters. We have noticed other clubs, both professional and non-league, face similar problems over the weekend and this is a concerning trend in football which needs to be addressed.
The first three rows of the South Stand have been cordoned off and will not be available for use. This is to prevent people from rushing towards the side of the pitch when a goal is scored. All supporters will be required to remain in the stand unless leaving the ground or moving to or from a kiosk or the toilet. When moving please keep away from the pitch.
As a result the South Stand capacity will be reduced by around 500 seats and we will open the Cemetery End on Tuesday night and on Saturday against Burscough. We will keep an eye on South Stand ticket sales and decide if it needs to be made all ticket on a game by game basis. The Cemetery End will remain pay-on-the-gate and we will encourage away supporters to this stand, acknowledging some may have already bought tickets.
No alcohol will be served from kiosks. We have explored way of allowing alcohol sales with restrictions but the advice received from various third parties has consistently been that trying to manage alcohol sales in a restricted manner, such as stopping sales at a certain time or limiting consumption to inside the kiosk, is more likely to cause trouble than stopping alcohol sales altogether. Nobody working in a kiosk is responsible for this decision and they will have no alcohol available to sell.
Anti-social behaviour is not acceptable.
You can report it to a steward, and the club has acted on reports, including referral to the police for potential criminal investigations. The club has a clear policy on this with sanctions. We have excluded a small number of supporters from matches this season already, with bans ranging from months to an indefinite amount of time. We will not make statements about specific individuals where this might prejudice criminal proceedings, but please do not take this as a lack of action.
We don’t think this should make the match any less enjoyable for the vast majority of supporters. It will be a safe and comfortable environment, and very similar to how things were prior to the 2019 league expulsion.
You can now have a drink in Starkies before and after the game, as long as you do not take your drink into the stands. You can make as much noise as you like. We are there to watch football, let’s not risk losing that again.