Over the past few days quite a few Villa fans have been asking MOMS what went on in L7 of the Holte End with the police and stewards seemingly ejecting the Brigada 1874 group of Villa supporters during the Villa vs Manchester United game on Friday night.
Several fans have also offered their eye-witness accounts to us and I have to say they all match the account below that the Brigada 1874 have detailed in their statement on the night’s events.
It’s not the first time Brigada 1874 have been targeted in situations that could have been avoided with better communication to fans and with a dedicated SLO (Supporter Liaison Officer) at the club. Also, the quicker safe standing is introduced, the better for everyone – the club need to get back on the front foot in lobbying for it.
Brigada 1874 statement regarding events at Aston Villa vs Man Utd
Brigada 1874 were targeted by police and stewards for the above match.
Many people witnessed the police filming us from the moment we entered into the ground, and whilst we recognise this is their prerogative, from the point of view of the group this can only be seen as an act that suggests we need to be viewed with suspicion.
Almost from kick-off the stewards were telling us to sit down and generally harassing us. They then told us they were unaware we had moved from our previous position in L8, which only suggests extremely poor communication between different departments at the club. One of the main reasons we moved from L8 was because of persistent seat blocking by the club’s ticketing department in that area, stifling the growth of the group. We also felt a more central position nearer to the pitch would help us to grow as a group, and also enable us to influence the lower Holte as a whole into generating a greater atmosphere.
As a group who have entered into discussions with the club on numerous occasions, in order to ensure that any disturbance to other fans that may not enjoy the atmosphere we try and create so much is kept to a minimum, we feel let down by the club on this occasion.
The club have publicly stated blocks L7 and L8 were designated as ‘singing sections’. This surely means that anyone who has tickets in these sections should expect fans in these areas to be doing exactly that. Singing, creating an atmosphere, standing, supporting the team as loudly and colourfully as possible. This is precisely why Brigada 1874 chose to buy tickets in this area, and to be targeted by stewards and police for doing precisely what the area we were in was advertised for is, at best, poor communication between the club and the stewards it employs.
Our decision to leave the ground (and it was a decision made by the group, we were not ejected) was made because the stewards and police targeted one of our members and asked to ‘have a word’, when questioned whether this was a word or whether this really meant they were being ejected, the steward replied that it was indeed just to talk, but the police officer replied that they were being ejected. It must be said this seems to be underhanded tactics on behalf of the steward.
As a group we will not let members be singled out in this way so we made a decision to leave at this point (on approximately 60 minutes) and discussions continued in the concourse.
Brigada 1874 do not want to, and never have gone out to cause upset or issues for other fans, and we feel that since our inception in 2010 we have made great strides in our relationships with both other fans and the club itself.
Nevertheless, if the club and other fans truly want the atmosphere at Villa Park to be as loud and colourful as Brigada 1874 are attempting to create, then targeting us for doing just that will only have the opposite effect.
As an Ultras group we need to be in an area where other fans not only tolerate us, but get involved with us to help create an atmosphere all Villa fans can be proud of, and that will cause other teams and fans to take notice when they come to visit Villa Park.
For more on Brigada 1874 check out their forum
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