The Guardian’s letters pages online
Questions over handling of football needs answers
My son and I have watched Chorley FC, home and away for many years and I have not witnessed even the slightest hint of any trouble.
In their recent history Chorley have had a few ‘big’ games where large contingents of both sets of supporters have stood side by side without any bother, so what was different about this game in particular?
It obviously all stems from the first fixture back in September which Chorley won 2 -1 in Chester. Granted, some Chorley supporters ran on the pitch to celebrate the goal and we celebrated the victory like we had just won the FA Cup, though in mitigation it was probably our most famous win in years.
Aside from this, Chorley supporters caused absolutely no trouble and no damage. Every Chorley supporter left the stadium that day having had a great day out and looking forward to the rematch.
Unfortunately some Chester supporters didn’t see it that way and seemed to take umbrage to the fact we celebrated too much.
Hardly earth shattering events, but still, just one day after that match in September, posts were being made on the Chorley forum from Chester supporters threatening revenge using terminology such as “we can’t wait until February where we expect every hooligan from Deeside to Birkenhead to descend on Chorley”
That comment at the time, along with other veiled threats, was treated with the disdain in deserved.
When the ticketing details were announced, the forums suddenly became awash with speculation and threats from Chester supporters.
Whether they were true or not, comments like “we’ve got 500 tickets for your end” or “there are hundreds coming without tickets” did nothing but inflame the situation.
As soon as these type of comments appeared, word soon got around the town. It’s not just an important football game any more, suddenly every idiot in Chorley who couldn’t give a hoot about the football, fancied a bit of the action.
I am convinced that if these threats and taunts had not been made (none of which originated from Chorley fans) only genuine football fans would have bought tickets and the game would have passed without incident.
I am not condoning any of the actions, there were obviously two sets of supporters out to cause trouble on Saturday, but I would urge all of those people who have vowed never to watch Chorley again to have second thoughts..
Michael Brotherton, Cherry Tree Grove, Chorley
I was stood on the Duke Street end of Victory Park. At approximately 2.50 pm I was showered with missiles from Rangletts recreation ground by a group of Chester thugs.
That group then entered the ground at the designated Chester end and proceeded to attack the temporary barrier segregating the rival groups - at one point nearly breaking through.
Chorley’s thug element then responded in kind during and after the match.
I know for a fact that many of the thugs from Chester had been drinking and causing problems in Chorley town centre pubs before the match.
Who in their right mind would have allowed this fixture to go-ahead without it being properly policed?
How much intelligence did the police and the clubs want of impending violence?
It was patently obvious that there was going to be trouble.
Neil Young, the Chester manager, has mentioned the role of the Internet.
One only has to follow the vile, defamatory rhetoric of the forums to give you an inkling of what to expect.
Basically, the Chester ‘fans’ who contribute to this forum think Chorley should be wiped off the map.
If they could they would get Colonel Gaddafi to do it, but they think he is too moderate.
Stephen Catterall, Chorley
I was among the 3,200 spectators at Victory Park last Saturday to witness the Chorley v Chester fixture.
May I begin by congratulating both sets of players on the pitch for a decent trouble free game.
Sadly the same can not be said about the behaviour of a large number of so-called fans, mainly from Chester, but by no means all at this non-league match.
I found it depressing to see so many policemen needed to control both sets of supporters once a separation barrier had been knocked over.
There was a rush of people wanting to attack each other but on the whole the police put a stop to it.
What the cost to Chorley FC for this policing will be I cannot guess but it won’t be cheap and will no doubt come out of the gate receipts.
Throughout the match there was much “fan” and police baiting over on the grassed area of the ground and I witnessed a number of youths in the home segment, some dressed in light coloured jackets pretending to be tough (do you recognise your sons mum?) by acting aggressively towards the police and opposition fans, who of course were no better.
The language from the visiting supporters was appaling and I didn’t know that so many words in the English language began with the letter “f”.
This from a club who lost their place in the Football League, and to be honest it wouldn’t bother me if they were kicked out of the Evo-stick League too.
Finally to all you “tough guy” Chorley and Chester supporters why don’t you all grab a rifle and go and bait the Taliban in Afghanistan? Not feeling so macho now I suspect.
Neil Farnworth, via email
Why Mayoral needs cutting
The cost of operating the Mayoralty, currently £100,000 per year cannot be exempt from an examination of the value for money it represents (Guardian, Feb 23).
I feel we all agree that many of functions carried out by the Mayor, as our first citizen, are welcomed, and we wish these to continue and are happy that these be paid for out of council tax income
However, we find the cost of some aspects of the Mayoralty do not give value for money.
For example the understandable desire of past Mayors to raise charitable funds is costing considerable more than the money raised.
We feel this aspect does not represent value for money and hence the need to reduce the cost of the Mayoralty .
At the same time we do not wish to see local charities, chosen each year by the new Mayor to suffer.
Therefore we shall find alternative ways of helping those selected charities.
Coun Peter Goldsworthy, leader of Chorley Council
Market set for Royal Wedding
I’m always keen to ‘Fly the Flag’ for Chorley’s excellent market, but this time they are ahead of me.
On Tuesdays market day, as I walked around getting my usual bargains, I spotted flags for sale in readiness to celebrate the forthcoming Royal Wedding of Kate and Wills. Who says our market is old fashioned? That item alone makes it bang up-to-date!
St. Michael’s Close, Chorley
We must make ourselves heard
With autocratic regimes, dictators and despots being toppled in North Africa and the Middle East, where could it all end, could 2011 be the year of people power?
Even back home in Blighty the Con/Dem government had to eventually listen to an outraged nation and shelve plans to sell off our state owned forest and woodlands.
Here in Chorley plans to spend a small fortune on the Town Hall have finally been ditched in the face of indignant opposition.
Sanity prevails, but at least in the UK we don’t have to lay down our lives to bring about change, just make a lot of noise. So we now have a duty to make a lot of noise and if we ever think that this task is arduous then spare a thought for those who have had to pay with their lives to bring about change in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Steve Holgate, Peel Street, Chorley
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