Minor over Major
Known as one of the more feisty derbies in the English football, the Second City derby’s latest chapter between Villa and the Blues was low-key affair in terms of off the field incidents.
In a news release on the West Midland Police website they called their operation ‘robust’ on the day with a high presence of police officers.
Also, several measures were put in place on the day to avoid confrontations between the rival fans. As well as the early kick-off, there was a restricted away ticket allocation, away fans were kept behind after the game and there was a non-sale of alcohol to away fans.
While there was no major incidents on the day ala the League Cup quarter-final in 2011, the police reported a series of minor incidents which lead to 14 arrests by officers for offences including violent disorder, pitch encroachment and affray.
There were also raids on three addresses ‘linked to suspected football-related drugs offences’ with one arrest on suspicion of possession of cannabis.
The WM Police report added:
‘Unfortunately there were some pockets of minor disorder and officers have launched an investigation after flares were thrown inside the ground.
‘There were 14 arrests made by officers this afternoon for a range of offences including violent disorder, pitch encroachment and affray.
Match commander, Chief Inspector Nick Rowe, said: “There has been a lot of planning in preparation for this fixture and we are pleased the majority of supporters were able to enjoy the game in a safe environment.’
Breakdown of arrests
THE arrests around the Villa vs Blues match included the following:
One man aged 48 on suspicion of affray – bailed pending further enquiries
One man aged 22 on suspicion of possession of cannabis
One man aged 37 on suspicion of possession of a flare
One man aged 29 on suspicion of pitch encroachment
One man aged 26 wanted on recall to prison
One man aged 22 on suspicion of violent disorder
Three men aged 24, 20, 29 and two further men were arrested on suspicion of public order offences
Three men arrested on suspicion of affray at Moor Street train station.
Overall, judging by a tweet on the West Midlands Police account, the police seemed content and happy with the behaviour of the visiting 2000 Villans:
— Aston Villa WMPolice (@WMPVillaFC) October 30, 2016
The police’s website also concluded, “Overall there was a fantastic atmosphere with two sets of great fans, the majority of fans embraced the feel-good factor of the day and were well-behaved.”
Alleged trouble involving knifes at the Yenton pub, which several police cars were called to deal with, don’t seem to be covered in the police’s news report and arrest count. MOMS doesn’t currently have the full information on that to comment.
Overall, while the restrictions in play certainly shaved a bit of fun off the enjoyment of the day, it’s certainly progress in terms of recent encounters between the teams, although it’s unlikely the rivalry will cool down any time soon.
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