Tag Archives: matches

Millwall violence at Wembley: three arrested in dawn raids

Millwall fans arrested in dawn raids after violence at Wembley FA Cup semi-final

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

06:36 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:13 GMT, 23 April 2013

Police have arrested three men in dawn raids in connection with violence at an FA Cup semi-final between Millwall and Wigan.

The men, aged 21, 22 and 27, were arrested at addresses in London by officers from Operation Arrowtip, which targets football-related crime, Scotland Yard said.

So far 23 people have been arrested in relation to violence at the semi-final at London's Wembley Stadium on April 13, during which Millwall fans attacked police and fought among themselves inside and outside the ground.

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Something to hide Police make an arrest during an early morning raid after violence at Wembley

Something to hide Police make an arrest during an early morning raid after violence at Wembley

Flashpoint: Police clash with fans during the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley

Flashpoint: Police clash with fans during the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley

A further 17 pictures have been released of people at the match who police want to speak to.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Barnes said: 'Large-scale violence and disorder at football matches is completely unacceptable. People attending matches expect to be able to do so in a safe and friendly environment.

'We have had an excellent response from the public, who have identified people in nine of the 10 images already released. Some have since handed themselves in to police, and to date, we have arrested 23 people. Three have been charged.

Dawn raids produce more arrests over FA Cup semi-final violence

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Wanted: These are the 17 football fans suspected of being involved in disorder at the FA Cup semi-final

Wanted: These are the 17 football fans suspected of being involved in disorder at the FA Cup semi-final

Wanted: These are the 17 football fans suspected of being involved in disorder at the FA Cup semi-final

Hunt: Police are still searching for more people in connection with the violence during the FA Cup semi-final

Hunt: Police are still searching for more people in connection with the violence during the FA Cup semi-final

Hunt: Police are still searching for more people in connection with the violence during the FA Cup semi final

'The investigation team is working through many more calls and CCTV to identify all those involved in the disorder. We expect to make further arrests.

'Our message is clear. Violence at football is unacceptable. If you were involved in the violence come forward and speak with us. We will pursue all those responsible.'

Anyone with information about the violence or who recognises the people in the pictures is urged to call police on 020 8246 0076 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Nottingham Forest super-fan forced to miss a match for first time since 1973… 1,786 games ago!

Forest super-fan forced to miss a match for first time since 1973… 1,786 games ago!

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

00:53 GMT, 2 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:53 GMT, 2 April 2013

Britain's most dedicated football fan who has seen 1,786 consecutive Nottingham Forest games was left gutted on Monday after he was forced to miss his first match in 40 YEARS.

Loyal Stuart Astill, 67, has spent thousands of pounds clocking up a staggering 2,534 matches since he first went to watch Forest play in 1956.

The obsessed OAP reckons he must have travelled over 100,000 miles by coach, car and plane to watch his beloved side play across Britain and Europe.

No 1 fan: Stuart Astill with his vast collection of Nottingham Forest memorabilia

No 1 fan: Stuart Astill with his vast collection of Nottingham Forest memorabilia

He last missed a game in 1973 when he was an usher at a wedding – but has been to every home and away games ever since.

Last week Stuart was admitted to hospital after his foot became infected but still made it to his beloved team's 2-2 draw at home against Brighton on Saturday (30/1).

But doctors banned the footie-mad pensioner from travelling to Burnley on Monday following an operation on his foot.

It meant devastated Stuart was forced to listen to a Forest game on the radio for the first time in his life.

Retired British Rail engineer Stuart, who lives in Sandiacre, Derbyshire, said: 'This is my first missed game for 40 years.

Last-gasp: Forest's Lewis McGugan scored a late penalty to salvage a draw at Burnley on Monday

Last-gasp: Forest's Lewis McGugan scored a late penalty to salvage a draw at Burnley on Monday

Last-gasp: Forest's Lewis McGugan scored a late penalty to salvage a draw at Burnley on Monday

'The last time was in 1973 – it was at home to Preston and I was an usher at a wedding.

'I'll miss the atmosphere. I knew my run would end at some point but I didn't expect it to be now.

'It's going to be really unusual listening to the game on the radio after how many games I have been to.'

Point gained: Forest boss Billy Davies celebrates his side's battling draw at Turf Moor

Point gained: Forest boss Billy Davies celebrates his side's battling draw at Turf Moor

Stuart started going to football matches with his dad – a Derby County supporter – and his first Nottingham Forest game was a 4-0 win over Middlesbrough in November, 1956.

Remarkably, he has only missed two games since the 1960s and even goes to watch the youth team play.

He was there when captain John McGovern lifted the European Cup after a 1-0 win over Malmo in Munich in 1979 and saw every game of the famous Brian Clough managerial era.

And Stuart said he would 'move heaven and earth' to see Forest play in the Premier League again.

He added: 'Winning the European cups was unbelievable. Seeing John McGovern lift the trophy in Munich, a few tears came to my eyes.

'I'd only seen the European Cup on telly – it was fantastic.

'And I did see every competitive match that Brian Clough managed us in.

'They were an unbelievable team. I feel privileged to say I was there.

'I'm not sure whether I could afford to go in the Premier League, but I would move heaven and earth to do it.'

Loyal Stuart was even rewarded for his loyalty at the beginning of the season when Forest's new owners, the Al-Hasawi family, gave him a complimentary place in the exclusive 1865 club for a year.

A spokesman for Nottingham Forest said: 'It is a great shame Stuart will not be here to cheer us on.

'Everyone at the club would like to wish him a speedy recovery.'

Life-changing: Stuart with the programme from his first Forest game, on November 10th 1956

Life-changing: Stuart with the programme from his first Forest game, on November 10th 1956

Coventry City deducted 10 points

Sky Blues falling down! Crisis club Coventry deducted 10 points by Football League

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

15:54 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:54 GMT, 28 March 2013

Coventry City have been deducted 10 points after entering administration.

The deduction leaves the Sky Blues in 15th place in League One.

A statement from the Football League read: 'The Football League can confirm that Coventry City Football Club have been deducted 10 points, in accordance with its rules and regulations.

Tough task: Steven Pressley (left) recently took over as Coventry manager

Tough task: Steven Pressley (left) recently took over as Coventry manager

'This Sporting Sanction has been implemented with immediate effect. Coventry City have seven days in which to appeal.

'The League has now begun discussions with the administrator aimed at achieving a sustainable future for the club within The Football League.'

Coventry had earlier reached a short-term agreement to play their three remaining home games this season at the Ricoh Arena.

Amid an ongoing row between the Sky Blues and Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), who manage the stadium and claim to be owed over 1.3million in unpaid rent stretching back 12 months, the npower League One outfit last week placed a non-operating subsidiary of the club into administration.

That subsidiary, Coventry City Football Club Limited, held the lease and licence for the Ricoh Arena, covering permission to play home matches at the stadium as well as the rental of the club shop and offices, which have already been emptied, with all staff having moved to their Ryton training ground.

Up against it: The Sky Blues have been deducted 10 points

Up against it: The Sky Blues have been deducted 10 points

It sparked speculation and uncertainty over where City would play their remaining home fixtures this term, starting with tomorrow’s visit of league leaders Doncaster.

But a statement released this morning read: “Coventry City Football Club Holdings Ltd are pleased that an agreement has been reached with ACL and the administrator that enables us to play our last three remaining home matches at the Ricoh Arena.

'We apologise profusely to our fans about the confusion surrounding these fixtures and are delighted that this has now been resolved.

'We can now look forward to playing current league leaders Doncaster on Friday 29th March in the hope of doing the double over them.

'Moving forward we hope that we can continue a constructive dialogue with ACL with the aim of securing a sustainable future for the club at the Ricoh Arena.'

The final line of Coventry's statement suggests the club's long-term future may still lie at the venue, which is jointly owned by the Alan Edward Higgs Charity and Coventry City Council.

The lengthy row centres around Coventry's refusal to pay an annual rental fee of 1.28m, the highest in both League One and the Championship by some considerable distance, while also bemoaning the fact they do not get access to 100 per cent of matchday revenue.

After negotiations collapsed, Coventry and hedge fund owners Sisu found themselves in the High Court in London last Friday battling against an application for administration submitted by ACL.

That initial hearing was adjourned, just hours after City placed their non-operating subsidiary into administration – although insisting it is business as usual as Coventry City Football Club (Holdings), which they claim holds the crucial 'golden shares' which provide membership to the Football League and FA, operates as normal.

ACL on Tuesday returned to the High Court and asked for their own application for an administration order to be dismissed.

They claim to have it on good authority from the Football League and the Football Association that Coventry's 'golden shares' do in fact still lie with Coventry City Football Club Ltd, which has already gone into administration, hence the withdrawal of their application.

All eyes are now on the Football League, who are yet to make an official verdict on the matter, with Coventry appearing to face the prospect of a 10-point deduction.

The Sky Blues are currently 10th in League One, five points off the play-offs, with a 10-point penalty certain to end their promotion hopes for this term.

Sol Campbell joins Chris Coleman for Wales training as he does his coaching badges

Why is the Sol shining on Wales England legend Campbell checks in on Bale and co as he begins coaching badges

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

17:11 GMT, 25 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:19 GMT, 25 March 2013

With Gareth Bale in their ranks, Wales need little help in the attacking department. But having conceded 12 goals in just five World Cup qualifying matches, it is perhaps no surprise Chris Coleman has just him some hired help in the shape of former Arsenal and England defender Sol Campbell.

The towering defender announced his retirement from playing earlier this year and revealed that he would begin earning his coaching badges.

Double, double, double trouble: Sol Campbell has been observing Wales training with Chris Coleman

Double, double, double trouble: Sol Campbell has been observing Wales training with Chris Coleman

Sol Campbell

Speaking in May, he said: 'I want to start sometime in the summer. But it's a slow burner that takes three to four years. The best thing is to get it done and over with. Eventually I want to get into something.

'But it's a long old stint to get your badges for the UK and then the UEFA badge.'

Point to prove: The former England defender retired from playing earlier this year

Point to prove: The former England defender retired from playing earlier this year

Point to prove: The former England defender retired from playing earlier this year

And now he has taking his first steps on the long road with Coleman's Wales, who on Tuesday host Croatia bidding to keep their World Cup 2014 hopes alive.

Campbell, who won two league titles and three FA Cups during his playing career as well as winning 73 caps for England, was a keen observer as Bale and co were put through their paces in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Arsenal's Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell

Sol man: Campbell enjoyed a stellar career for club and country, winning titles and caps throughout

Sol Campbell

Rio Ferdinand to the rescue: Should Roy Hodgson name Manchester United defender in England squad

Rio to the rescue: Is it time for Roy to bring back Ferdinand for England Keown, Redknapp and Sportsmail's team of experts have their say

PUBLISHED:

10:46 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:00 GMT, 13 March 2013

Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad for the World Cup qualifying matches against San Marino and Montenegro and fans are desperate to know if Rio Ferdinand will be in it.

Left out for 'football reasons', Ferdinand has not featured for the national team under Hodgson but, with former captain John Terry now out of the picture, he has been touted for a return.

The 34-year-old has been superb for Manchester United this season and here, Sportsmail's team of experts say whether they feel Ferdinand should take that form back on to the international stage.

Solid: Rio Ferdinand has been tipped for an England return after fine performances for Manchester United

Solid: Rio Ferdinand has been tipped for an England return after fine performances for Manchester United

MARTIN KEOWN

I would bring Rio Ferdinand back into the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. If Sir Alex Ferguson is picking him as his first-choice centre back for Manchester United, that is good enough for me.

Roy Hodgson is one of the only people who could get away with bringing someone back after not picking them for so long. Hodgson is such a nice man and would find the words to make it a smooth transition.

Ferdinand has every right to feel he should have been in recent squads and he’s the best central defender we have. On top of that, Phil Jagielka is out injured and Gary Cahill has suffered a dip in form. He would benefit from playing alongside some as experienced as Ferdinand.

Tiredness is less of a factor now that United are out the Champions League. Ferdinand has fewer matches to play between now and the end of the season than he would have expected so Ferguson should not have a problem with him playing for his country.

I would imagine Hodgson wouldn’t use him for both games because of the recovery time he needs and the only potential problem with that is whether it creates instability in the team. If someone else plays well against San Marino, do you kill their confidence by then dropping them

The answer is probably yes.

Young gun: Ferdinand made his England debut as a teenager - coming off the bench against Cameroon in 1997

Young gun: Ferdinand made his England debut as a teenager – coming off the bench against Cameroon in 1997

JAMIE REDKNAPP

What has he done wrong He seems to have handled his omission maturely… he lost the England captaincy and didn’t cause a fuss. He has played his way back into form. He wants to play for England and add to his 81 caps.

Judging him on ‘football reasons’, he has to be back in for the World Cup qualifiers, doesn’t he Montenegro is a challenge and their centre-forward, the Juventus striker, Mirko Vucinic is a handful as he proved to Celtic in the Champions League. But Rio has handled better strikers.

Okay, he is not the future, but he is the present.

MARK ALFORD

No. Stick by your footballing
reasons, Roy. I'd prefer it if you further explained them to us all, but
as I suspect your argument is that you're building a side – and
specifically a defence – that can win us the World Cup, please go ahead
and conquer. Rio's too old. Yes, he can still pick a pass and play but
he's past his best. He's lost a yard and that's what matters at
international level. In Roy, we trust… There's no other way.

Off the mark: Ferdinand (No 5) scored his first international goal against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup

Off the mark: Ferdinand (No 5) scored his first international goal against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup

Off the mark: Ferdinand (No 5) scored his first international goal against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup

NEIL ASHTON

Yes. He remains the outstanding England defender of his generation. If he can get two games against Real Madrid in the Champions League, he can play against San Marino and Montenegro in the World Cup qualifiers.

LEE CLAYTON

Yes. Pick your best players, qualify for the World Cup, then worry about his age, his ability to play back-to-back games in a short space of time and the future.

There is a risk that England’s future will be an end-of-season tour to the back of beyond while the World Cup is taking place in Brazil. We did that before, let’s not do it again.

Rio must play in Montenegro. What’s to discuss

CHRIS WHEELER

Yes. Forget his age, any personal
issues with the manager and the fact that he might not be the best man
for the job when the World Cup comes around. Ferdinand's performances
for Manchester United this season have proved he's still a defender of
the highest quality. That's all that matters so just go ahead and pick
him.

SAMI MOKBEL

Yes. Simply because he is without doubt one of the best four centre-backs available to Roy Hodgson.

It's been a while: Ferdinand's last England appearance was against Switzerland in June 2011

It's been a while: Ferdinand's last England appearance was against Switzerland in June 2011

DOMINIC KING

No. Roy Hodgson has made his decision
to preclude Ferdinand from international duty, so he should stick with
it. There is sufficient quality in the England team to negotiate a
tricky task without worrying about whether Ferdinand should play or not.
With Phil Jagielka injured, play Joleon Lescott and give the in-form
Michael Dawson a go. Ferdinand is England's past, concentrate on the
future.

NEIL MOXLEY

If he’s the best English player to fill the position – and I think he’s the best option at present – then of course he should be picked. I’m not one for ‘looking to the future.’ It’s a nebulous managerial cop-out. When is ‘the future’ What about the here and now

He’s fit, playing well and wants to resume his international career. What, really, is there to consider

On the box: Kelloggs made special cereal packets for the 2010 World Cup but Ferdinand missed the tournament through injury

On the box: Kelloggs made special cereal packets for the 2010 World Cup but Ferdinand missed the tournament through injury

JOHN EDWARDS

If he doesn’t, then ‘football
reasons’ will no longer wash as an explanation. With John Terry out of
the frame and Phil Jagielka and Chris Smalling injured, there is only
one logical choice alongside Gary Cahill.

Hodgson is to be applauded for
looking to the future, but there is a time and place for experimenting
with potential. A World Cup qualifier away to the group leaders is
neither. That rules out Steven Caulker, while the likes of Ryan
Shawcross, Michael Dawson and Joleon Lescott lack Ferdinand’s proven
pedigree when the international stakes are at their highest.

The San Marino game should be plain sailing, whoever gets the nod, but for 90 minutes in Montenegro, it has to be Rio.

ALEX KAY

Of course he should. Ferdinand is the
best English centre back around at the moment and knows how to keep his
head in big games. Also, the alternatives do not fill you with hope:
Joleon Lescott is in and out the team at Manchester City, Gary Cahill
has a wobble in him and Michael Dawson, though playing well, hasn’t
featured for England for a long time.

MIKE ANSTEAD

If
he’s good enough, then yes. With John Terry out of the picture, England
are seriously lacking top-level experience at the back – Gary Cahill,
Phil Jagielka and Co won’t worry the world’s best. Bring Rio back and
he’s still got time to forge a new partnership ahead of Brazil 2014.

TOM BELLWOOD

No. His inclusion would represent a kick in the teeth to those whose performances warrant place in the team and have a long-term future in the national set-up.

LAURIE WHITWELL

Yes. Ferdinand is by some margin the best English central defender playing regularly. He is managing his body well this season and is a major reason United's defence has tightened up in the second part of the campaign. The experience he brings to international football only adds to the compelling reasoning for selection. Surely you pick the best players on offer at any one point rather than worry about a future that is yet to be achieved.

DAN RIPLEY

Judging by Ferdinand’s current form and fitness, the Manchester United centre-back certainly deserves a recall to the England squad. His composure on the ball and experience would be a key asset to a Three Lions side that has yet to have a stable back four under Roy Hodgson’s reign. At 34-years-old Ferdinand isn’t the future, but Hodgson needs to pick a squad that can pick up two wins later this month, not one that is likely to lead England after Brazil 2014.

Decision time: Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad to face San Marino and Montenegro

Decision time: Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad to face San Marino and Montenegro

JOE RIDGE

Yes. It's crazy we're even asking this question. Along with Michael Dawson and Gary Cahill he's the only Englishman playing regularly at centre back for a top four club – and he's still head and shoulders above those two.
SUNNI UPAL

No. Ferdinand is 34 so it would make no sense going back to him considering he will be 35 by the time the World Cup kicks off next year. England have enough choices in defence and don’t need to turn back to someone who is in the twilight of his career. The decision was, rightly or wrongly, made a long time ago for ‘footballing reasons’ so let’s just stick to those reasons and move on.

Not spoiled for choice: Gary Cahill's form has dipped while Phil Jagielka (below left) is struggling with injury

Not spoiled for choice: Gary Cahill's form has dipped while Phil Jagielka (below left) is struggling with injury

Struggling: Phil Jagielka (left)

RIK SHARMA

No. Picking a defender who probably won't be worth taking to the World Cup itself would only be acceptable if qualification for said competition would be viewed as an achievement. For England it is a necessity. Roy needs to focus on the men for the years ahead.

DECLAN WARRINGTON

No, and particularly not if Hodgson intends on using him for no more than just the next two games. Despite his decline, Ferdinand remains a polished defender and has lately impressed but he's had another inconsistent season in which Manchester United have frequently conceded. Hodgson needs to look at the bigger picture and build a new-look side: in Gary Cahill, Steven Caulker, Phil Jones and particularly Chris Smalling he has several improving, quality options who are already good but need time to develop partnerships for the World Cup. He should stick with them.

BILL RUNGAY

Yes. Age is not an obstacle. He is on track to winning an inevitable sixth Premier League title along with his first FA cup medal whilst showing he is still one of the most solid defenders in the game.

Old head: Veteran defender Ferdinand has the experience of 10 years at United and 81 England caps

Old head: Veteran defender Ferdinand has the experience of 10 years at United and 81 England caps

Big freeze hits sport again

Big freeze hits sport again as football fixtures loses more matches and Cheltenham waits on Saturday's show

By
Marcus Townend

PUBLISHED:

12:25 GMT, 25 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:07 GMT, 26 January 2013

Cheltenham’s big Saturday meeting featuring key Festival trials has passed its Friday inspection but is still subject to a 7am check tomorrow as the track continue to hedge their bets.

No problems are anticipated but the possibility of switching the meeting to Sunday has been retained should unexpected weather hit the track.

A number of football fixtures have also fallen victim to the frozen weather (see below).

Snow joke: The Cheltenham Trials meeting is under threat

Snow joke: The Cheltenham Trials meeting is under threat

Snow joke: The Cheltenham Trials meeting is under threat
Postponed football matches

npower League 1
Tranmere v Swindon

npower League 2
Bradford v Wycombe

Blue Square Bet Premier
Alfreton Town v Tamworth
Hyde v Ebbsfleet United

Kidderminster Harriers v Woking

Scottish Second Division
Albion v Stenhousemuir
Brechin v Queen of South

Scottish Third Division
Annan Athletic v Peterhead
East Stirling v Clyde
Elgin v Queen's Park

The circuit has been cleared of snow but some is expected to hit the course this afternoon being followed by rain.

Cheltenham communications manager Andy Clifton said: 'The course is fit to race and we will be taking the covers off this afternoon, but we have called a precautionary check for 7am.

'The situation is that we are forecast a little bit of snow around teatime today which is then due to be followed by a band of rain.

'Given the more severe weather which is forecast across the country later today, we felt it prudent to call a precautionary inspection just in case our local forecasts are wrong.

'If the forecast is right, which they
have largely been this week, I think we might be able to give the
meeting the go-ahead before 7am tomorrow. If the forecast is right, we
would be extremely confident of racing tomorrow.

Trainers will be required to declare their horses for Saturday and then declare them again for Sunday.

Inspection: Officials will look at the track at 7am on Saturday

Inspection: Officials will look at the track at 7am on Saturday

Clifton added: 'The whole point of us
having that ghost card, even though we are confident of racing, was to
give us the option of Sunday. If there is some unexpected problem
overnight, we have the option to wait until Sunday.'

Cheltenham’s
card features a Gold Cup trial in the Argento Chase and the Victor
Chandler Chase in which unbeaten chaser Sprinter Sacre runs.

Inspection: Officials will look at the track at 7am on Saturday

Hard at work: Groundstaff clear snow off the track on Friday

Hard at work: Groundstaff clear snow off the track on Friday

Hard at work: Groundstaff clear snow off the track on Friday

A few football matches have been postponed because of the freezing conditions.

In League One, the match at Prenton Park between Tranmere Rovers and Swindon Town has been called off, as has the League Two game between Bradford City and Wycombe.

In the Conference, the matches at Alfreton, Hyde and Kidderminster are off, while only one match in Conference North – Worcester City v Histon – has survived.

In the Conference South, the games at Billericay Town, Boreham Wood and Maidenhead United have been postponed.

Five games in Scotland are off as things stand – in the second division at Albion Rovers and Brechin, and in the third division at Annan, East Stirling and Elgin City.

Chelsea fans arrested if flares are set off against Swansea

Chelsea tell fans they will be arrested if flares are let off against Swansea

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

11:09 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 9 January 2013

Chelsea have publicly warned their supporters that they risk being arrested for bringing flares and smoke bombs into Stamford Bridge.

They have even warned supporters that dogs will be used to sniff out any fans that are attempting to smuggle in any illicit objects.

The behaviour of supporters in English football has been in the spotlight during a season that has been blighted by incidents of coin-throwing and racist abuse.

Worrying trend: Flares and coins have been thrown at several games this season

Worrying trend: Flares and coins have been thrown at several games this season

The most recent Manchester derby ended in disgraceful scenes as Rio Ferdinand was struck by a coin just above his eye and blue flame from flares enveloped the pitch.

A statement on the club website reads: ‘Chelsea Football Club reminds our supporters that taking flares, smoke bombs or anything similar into a stadium breaches Ground Regulations and using such objects is likely to result in arrest. Their use is extremely dangerous and risks serious injury to fellow fans.

‘Unfortunately there has been an increase in incidents involving flares and smoke bombs in recent weeks and as well as fans facing prosecution, the club is liable to be charged by the authorities should this behaviour continue.

‘Anyone choosing to break the law regarding flares and smoke bombs at football matches runs a high risk of being caught. During the FA Cup game at Southampton, a person in the Chelsea section of the stadium was arrested and charged with throwing a flare onto the pitch.’

Blue is the colour: A fan was arrested after a flare was thrown onto the pitch as Chelsea played Southampton last weekend

Blue is the colour: A fan was arrested after a flare was thrown onto the pitch as Chelsea played Southampton in the FA Cup third round last weekend

Blue is the colour: A fan was arrested after a flare was thrown onto the pitch as Chelsea played Southampton in the FA Cup third round last weekend

Chelsea also warned their fans not to attempt to take flares into the Liberty Stadium when the Blues head to South Wales for next week's return leg in a fortnight's time.

‘At our away Capital One Cup match at Swansea later this month, South Wales Police will be using dogs in the area of the turnstiles to detect fans carrying such objects,' the statement went on.

‘Should any arrest result in conviction then Chelsea FC will support the police in every possible way to obtain a football banning order.

‘The club, the players and the management greatly appreciate the large number of fans and the vocal support which have backed the team this season, but we ask for good behaviour to be maintained. Please don’t risk a criminal conviction and banning order, or the club being charged with an offence, for the sake of a flare, smoke bomb or firework.’

Arsene Wenger and Theo Walcott hug and make up after Arsenal win at Reading

Wenger and Walcott hug and make up after Arsenal's win at Reading (…but the fans still need some convincing)

|

UPDATED:

11:20 GMT, 18 December 2012

The wrangling over a new contract goes on, but is seems all is forgiven between Arsenal's Theo Walcott and his manager Arsene Wenger.

The fans, however, may take a little more convincing.

The 23-year-old was outstanding on Monday night as the Gunners bounced back in style from last week's Capital One Cup exit to Bradford with a 5-2 win at Reading.

Friends again: Arsene Wenger warmly thanks Theo Walcott after his excellent performance in the 5-2 win at Reading as he is subbed off with five minutes to play

Friends again: Arsene Wenger warmly thanks Theo Walcott after his excellent performance in the 5-2 win at Reading as he is subbed off with five minutes to play

Discontent: This banner calling for Wenger to leave was unfurled in the Arsenal end at the final whistle

Discontent: This banner calling for Wenger to leave was unfurled in the Arsenal end at the final whistle

Arsene Wenger banner

Walcott capped the performance with the fifth goal and then had an embrace with his manager as he left the field with five minutes to play.

His excellent display was a timely reminder to the negotiators that increasing his present 75,000-a-week wages in a new deal may be a price worth paying.

But at the final whistle, and despite the result, a section of Arsenal fans made clear that it's time for a change in the dugout.

A red banner was unfurled reading: 'Arsene. Thanks for the memories, but it's time to say goodbye.'

It reflects the growing feeling in recent months that Wenger's 16-year tenure at Arsenal should be brought to an end as the club look at an eighth season without silverware.

Wenger has been targeted by disgruntled fans during home matches at The Emirates this season when Arsenal have failed to win.

Embrace: Both Wenger and Walcott expressed a desire to resolve wrangling over a new contract after the Reading win

Embrace: Both Wenger and Walcott expressed a desire to resolve wrangling over a new contract after the Reading win

After the match, Wenger was full of praise for Walcott's performance and said he still hopes to thrash out a deal before the winger's contract expires in the summer.

Chelsea, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs have been linked with the England international.

Wenger said: 'I believe he has been educated at Southampton and Arsenal and he has become a top player. I hope that when he considers his future he will consider Arsenal is the best place for him and sign for us.

'I do not want to come out on details of Walcott's contract but simply say our desire and will is clear and he knows that. Hopefully we can get to a happy ending.

Celebration time: Walcott celebrates scoring Arsenal fifth and final goal at Reading, capping a fine individual performance

Celebration time: Walcott celebrates scoring Arsenal fifth and final goal at Reading, capping a fine individual performance

'I believe we have a good core of young English players. We couldn't keep the good core of young foreign players.

'We hope we will be capable of building a team around the young English players and achieve something together.

'It is not my decision – it is Theo's decision as well. If it is my decision it is quickly done.'

Walcott was coy on the status of his contract negotiations: 'Talks are ongoing and it's going to be a slow process. It's taking a long time but hopefully something will happen soon.'

Rio Ferdinand coin: Football must bring in netting after Manchester derby fallout – Martin Keown

It is only luck that has stopped a footballer from losing their sight… now it's time we brought in netting to stop yobs

|

UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 10 December 2012

Sadly, throwing coins is nothing new. We shouldn't be surprised by what happened at the Etihad Stadium.

Just like a small minority of supporters shout racist abuse, some supporters have been throwing missiles at football matches for a long time.

It is highly, highly dangerous. Rio Ferdinand was so lucky his eyes were shut as he could have been blinded by that 2p coin.

Hit: Ferdinand was struck by a coin in the dying moments of the derby while celebrating Robin van Persie's winner

Hit: Ferdinand was struck by a coin in the dying moments of the derby while celebrating Robin van Persie's goal

Confrontation: A City fan makes his way on to the pitch but is held back by Man City stopper Joe Hart

Confrontation: A City fan makes his way on to the pitch but is held back by Man City stopper Joe Hart

It was the thing that scared me most of all on a football pitch. You have no control over what can be thrown at you from the stands, and you cannot defend yourself against what is coming. It is only luck that has stopped a footballer from being blinded.

Earlier this season, working for ESPN alongside Peter Reid, a member of the crowd threw a coin at him which hit him just above the eye. This was at a lower league FA Cup tie so it can happen anywhere.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Under siege: The United defender holds his head after being struck by a coin thrown from the crowd

It leaves you feeling so exposed, particularly for anyone who is taking a corner or a throw-in. Earlier in the match, long before Ferdinand was hit, Wayne Rooney was being pelted by coins before he took a corner.

I think it's time we brought in netting to deal with this around the corner flags and certainly behind the goals. When there was fencing up at old grounds you could hear the coins hitting the fencing. It was all part of the intimidation back then but safety has to be paramount. You cannot ever completely stop it, and you cannot have nets at every ground in the lower leagues, but it will surely help as a deterrent.

Target: Rooney holds aloft a coin after being pelted with objects whilst taking a corner for Manchester United during the derby

Target: Rooney holds aloft a coin after being pelted with objects whilst taking a corner for Manchester United

CCTV should be able to capture the guilty fans but you also need crowds to police themselves, just like when dealing with racism.

The last thing we want to stop is spontaneous celebration. We cannot lose that from football. When you score a goal you're not always able to remember where your fans are. In many situations you don't necessarily even mean to celebrate in front of the away fans. Sometimes there's no time to think.

At places like Old Trafford, the away fans only get about 10 seats up in the gods so what are you to do when you score You can't apologise for the goal.

West Ham want to introduce safe standing at Olympic Stadium

West Ham will consider safe standing areas in their Olympic Stadium plans

|

UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 7 December 2012

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West Ham co-owner David Gold has told fans he is ready to explore the possibility of incorporating a 'safe standing' area at the Olympic Stadium.

The Hammers were this week chosen as the preferred bidder for the site in Stratford which hosted the Games in such spectacular style through the summer.

To a question posed by Twitter user @Jamie_Seagrave, asking if safe standing could be used, Gold responded: 'I do hope so.'

Hammer time: West Ham will look into ideas to have safe standing should they take over the Olympic Stadium

Hammer time: West Ham will look into ideas to have safe standing should they take over the Olympic Stadium, like German clubs have incorporated in the Bundesliga (below)

German clubs, like Bourissa Dortmund (pictured), have safe standing areas

German clubs, like Bourissa Dortmund (pictured), have safe standing areas

SECTION 11 OF THE FOOTBALL SPECTATORS ACT 1989

'The
Secretary of State may, by order, direct the licensing authority to include in
any licence to admit spectators to any specified premises a condition imposing
requirements as respects the seating of spectators at designated football
matches at the premises; and it shall be the duty of the authority to comply
with the direction.'

A 19-strong London Legacy Development
Corporation board led by London mayor Boris Johnson unanimously agreed
to make West Ham their first-rank bidder – hopefully signalling at least
the beginning of the end of a still interminable legacy process.

But
there is still plenty of hard talking to go on before West Ham move in,
which is still not likely be until the 2016-17 season, if indeed it
happens.

The Premier
League and successive governments have until now also opposed any
changes regarding standing areas to the Football Spectators Act 1989,
brought in after the Hillsborough disaster which cost the lives of 96
Liverpool supporters in the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s
stadium

How it used to be: Aston Villa were keen to explore plans for a return to safe standing

How it used to be: Aston Villa were keen to explore plans for a return to safe standing

Big Sam: West Ham must not create 'white elephant'

Sam Allardyce has
warned it would be a ‘disaster’ if West Ham move to the Olympic Stadium but do
not have the team to fill it with supporters.

The 58-year-old said: ‘You cannot
build a white elephant. The white elephant would be a great stadium and
no team. Disaster. We have to manage our finances carefully because of
the overriding debt of the football club. What David Sullivan and David
Gold do is top it up with their own wealth. But somewhere down the line
they want to create a situation where that does not have to happen.

‘The long term future of the football
club is not only a new stadium but a new training facility. Years of
good financial management is needed as well as success on the field.’

Allardyce is well aware of the impact
a brand new stadium can have on a football club. He used the Reebok
Stadium, finished in 1997, to build a solid Premier League club at
Bolton when he took over in 1999 and spent eight years there.

And Allardyce is keen to build a new
history for the club at the stadium. He added: ‘There’s always a lot of
disruption when a club decides to move from what is a huge history. West
Ham’s huge history is always going to be upsetting for some of the very
loyal supporters we have. [It’s a chance] for me to try to build a new
history.

‘You never forget what’s happened before. It’s instilled in the football
club. But you want to build a new history for the young fans who come
to support West Ham, they want to have something to remember when they
get older. They can’t really remember when it happened way back in the
Bobby Moore days when the club was at its heights.

‘We’ve got to try to create a new history, well if you can do that in a
new stadium you’ll never forget the history but you take that with you
and try to build a better one.’

Once safety is secured in the Premier League this season, Allardyce will
sit down to discuss a new contract so he can be a part of building that
history.

Sam Cunningham

In October this
year Aston Villa became the first Premier League club to publicly back a
new campaign for trials of standing areas for fans in top-flight and
Championship matches.

The
campaign has been launched by the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF)
and with Birmingham MP Roger Godsiff, Aston Villa and Peterborough have
both given their support to calls for the Government to allow
'small-scale trials of safe standing areas'.

Peter
Daykin, Safe Standing Coordinator at the FSF, said: 'For two decades
since the Taylor Report, the overwhelming majority of football
supporters have favoured a choice of standing and sitting at football,
and fans continue to stand throughout all levels of the game today, even
in the Premier League and Championship where it is against ground
regulations and facilities are designed for sitting.

'Standing
was outlawed on grounds of safety, and yet successive governments have
agreed that standing is safe – it's hard not to when it is done
perfectly safely every week at rugby grounds, lower league football
grounds and in top football leagues all around the world.'

Last year the Hillsborough Family Support Group opposed any move to bring back standing areas.

HFSG
spokesman Margaret Aspinall said then: 'The Hillsborough Family Support
Group are totally against any form of standing whatsoever. We are
absolutely against it and always will be. Our football clubs should
remain all-seater stadiums.

'People
always say they have standing areas in Germany, but we don't play any
part over what happens in that country – we just believe there's no such
thing as safe standing in this country. We will not be encouraging the
government to change the law.'

Responding directly to the FSF campaign, a Premier League spokesman dismissed the idea.

He
said: 'Since the introduction of all-seater stadia the supporter
experience has improved significantly and we have seen more diverse
crowds attending Premier League matches including more women and
children.

'The police,
safety officers and licensing authorities remain clear on this issue and
have consistently informed us that crowd management has improved as a
result of all-seater stadia being in place in the top two divisions in
this country.

Tragedy: The Hillsborough Family Support Group are opposed to plans for safe standing - the 1989 stadium disaster saw all-seater stadia introduced to top-flight teams in England

Tragedy: The Hillsborough Family Support Group are opposed to plans for safe standing – the 1989 stadium disaster saw all-seater stadia introduced to top-flight teams in England

Open to ideas: Hammers co-owner David Gold responded to a fan's question on social networking site Twitter

Open to ideas: Hammers co-owner David Gold (L) responded to a fan's question on social networking site Twitter

'We will not be encouraging the Government to change the law.'

In 2011, prior to their relegation to
the fourth tier in Scotland, Rangers revealed they are 'willing to
explore the possibility' of a safe-standing section at Ibrox. Celtic and
Motherwell followed suit.

Scotland is not bound by the law which banned standing areas in top-flight football in England.

Artists impression of what the Olympic Stadium would look like should West Ham be handed the keysArtists impression of what the Olympic Stadium would look like should West Ham be handed the keys

Artists impression of what the Olympic Stadium would look like should West Ham be handed the keys

ADAM SHERGOLD: MY VISIT TO HAMBURG HAS CONVINCED ME THAT SAFE STANDING SHOULD BE INTRODUCED TO ENGLISH GROUNDS…

I've been a big advocate of Safe Standing for many years and
a recent trip to Germany confirmed my belief that it's the way forward here
too.

I went to watch the Bundesliga match between Hamburg and
Stuttgart at the Imtech Arena with three mates and there was no doubt in our
minds that in order to experience it properly, we would have to be standing.

In contrast to the top divisions in England, Safe Standing
areas are the norm in every Bundesliga stadium and have been for a number of
years.

Because UEFA regulations are different, all of them can be
quickly converted into all-seated sections with bolt-in seats for Champions
League and Europa League games.

Plenty of colour: Hamburg fans at the Imtech Arena get the atmosphere going prior to their Bundesliga match with Stuttgart with a display of flags, scarves and banners

Plenty of colour: Hamburg fans at the Imtech Arena get the atmosphere going prior to their Bundesliga match with Stuttgart with a display of flags, scarves and banners

Unlike the vast, dangerous terraces of yesteryear, the Safe
Standing areas are ticketed to control numbers and fans can stand behind
retractable barriers. At Hamburg, there were also tall fences separating
'blocks' to prevent everyone rushing to the middle.

Standing also means a cheaper ticket – I was pleasantly surprised
to pay 15 euros (12) for my ticket, a price which included Metro travel to and
from the ground.

It's a point frequently made but a budget airline ticket and
a match ticket to a place like Hamburg, booked enough in advance, work out only
fractionally more expensive than admission to a big game at Old Trafford or the
Emirates.

As for the matchday experience, I must say it was excellent
– let down only by Hamburg losing 1-0.

Great view: The safe standing section at Hamburg offered great views of the action and the entire ground

Great view: The safe standing section at Hamburg offered great views of the action and the entire ground

The section was full but didn't feel cramped and the view of
the pitch was excellent. Stewarding was friendly and low key, you could happily
move to another spot if you wanted and easily escape to the snack bar for
another delicious hot dog.

It's so relaxed out there that fans drank Holsten in plastic
glasses in sight of the pitch – something long forbidden here – and there were
even Stuttgart fans stood behind us watching with Hamburg-supporting friends
and family without a hint of antagonism.

Before kick-off, there was a wonderful choreographed display
of flags and banners as streamers and tickertape fluttered down from the upper
tier.

Low down to our right, one of the Ultras clung to the
netting to conduct hundreds in boisterous singing and bouncing to the
relentless beat of the drum.

Noisy: The Hamburg Ultras with the flags in the centre of the stand generated an excellent atmosphere throughout the game

Noisy: The Hamburg Ultras with the flags in the centre of the stand generated an excellent atmosphere throughout the game

The noise quickly spread throughout the rest of the stand
with everyone clapping along, twirling their blue and white scarves and belting
out their backing with heart and passion.

It was a superior atmosphere to anything I've experienced in
the Premier League and there's no question that was because fans who want to
sing were allowed to stand.

Its introduction in the Premier League should also be used
as an opportunity to reduce ticket prices (though I'm not holding my breath)
and win back some of those, particularly young, fans who fall out of love with
the game because they can't afford to watch it live.

My experience at Hamburg only strengthened a long-held
belief that Safe Standing should be pursued with vigour by the Premier League,
its clubs and politicians and I can’t wait to get out to a German game again
soon.