Having a free Saturday I decided to try to buy tickets for Wigan’s home game against Sunderland, I’ve never been to Wigan and the brochure looks nice. I simply asked them over the phone if I could get a ticket at the ground, “No you can’t!” came the first part of a curt reply.
– “….You need to be on our database”
“Can I buy one now, off you?”
– “No, you need to be on our database” “
So I can’t go then?”
So that’s it, everybody is a potential hooligan, no-one’s allowed to go to football matches in Wigan without identification in triplicate.
With one plan dashed I could follow Plan B. This allowed me to finally go to the Deva Stadium, even though I’d always sworn that I would never darken their doors. This attitude was mainly due to the rampant anti-“The Welsh”-ness of their fans. It affects the whole town of Chester and you can’t tell me otherwise; “The Welsh” aren’t allowed to see what time it is (the clock on City’s City Hall should have 4 faces but only has 3 because it doesn’t have a face facing Wales), “The Welsh” can be can be shot in the back by an archer on the high street and the bastard perpetrator can remain free of prosecution. Then there’s the shithole of Blacon…
When gingerly walking through the charming industrial estate you don’t feel as though you’re walking up to Chester’s football ground, it more like you’re onsidering what to buy from the superstore with blue roofs. The away terrace was closed (I wasn’t sitting with Blacon’s finest) and the home terrace was shut as well. I eventually found the away seating. I paid my money. I went in. I caught sight of the Eastbourne fans. Bloody hell, I know it’s a long way for them but Bangor have taken more to Caersws than Eastbourne managed to bring up to Chester.
The match was quite enjoyable, proverbial “end to end action”. Chester belied their negative status by taking the lead three times. One of those goals was a smart looking free kick as well. Eastbourne’s second equaliser was scored by a Welsh U19 international, Kayne McLaggon (his dad, sitting next to me, told me so.) One interesting note throughout the match was junior gloaters, obviously trained by their proud parents. Their trainers looked on smugly as their offspring strutted past the away fans with open arms and a comment. “Easy, Easy, Easy!” they chanted when Chester scored. That fucker Lovejoy will be well pleased that more young fans see that behaviour as somehow reasonable in a football ground.
Unfortunately, or fortunately if you’re not a Daily Mail reading type, the match will not be remembered for the scoreline or quality of football. The match will be remembered for the two pitch invasions that led to its abandonment. The first one, in the first half, happened in slow motion, as if the invaders were unsure they would get away with it. The second one, in the second half, was far more defiant. Both invasions were led by young men in cagoules. When you saw that banners were being carried you knew that this wasn’t an ordinary pitch invasion.
Just after the first invasion, a softly, softly approach was used and the invaders were herded back into the stand. Now we could see what their banners were all about. “Fuck Off Vaughan” read one, “Chester Casuals; Vaughan Out!!” read another, “Adolf Hitler; Pol Pot; Stephen Vaughan” read the third one. The last banner was a slight over-reaction, the Chester owner may be many things but maybe not a mass-murdering dictator.
If you are unsure why some Chester fans acted in this way then read two hundred percent’s view and that will enlighten you greatly. (You can also read the stages of the current situation; One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Six.) Vaughan also has extremely dodgy connections.
Even with their anti-“The Welsh”-ness it is impossible not to feel sympathy for their anger. Their club has gone from the Football League to the brink of relegation to the Conference North in a such short space of time. Then you must consider that for last decade and a half, generally speaking, the ownership of the club has veered between ineptitude and attempted carpetbagging. The events of this period directly led to the present incumbant, or “gangster-owner” if you will, running the show. To further add to the cheery tale Chester City might not even be here much longer due to the actions of Vaughan.
You had to admire the stand being taken, especially by those so young. Young people you say, you don’t mean the apathetic hoodies that we all love surely. The admiration wasn’t shared by all, the Chester Casuals may be screaming “Vaughan Out!!” but the Eastbourne Formals were saying “Jesus Christ!! Call yourself a club, in all my years….” Not even the distribution of green readmittance cards could quell their annoyance.
It was obvious that the second pitch invasion had been taken a bit more seriously than the first one. In the period between the halting of play and abandonment you could hear a multitude of sirens getting closer. This seems to be a typical Police reaction; they don’t show up at first (Their presence could have prevented a second invasion) then they send too many cars (15 at the last count). Now they’ll probably punish the transgressors severely, a possible 3 year ban from enetering any football grounds.
People say that we’re living in a society that has lost it’s moral compass. It’s a society where people can be deprived of pursuing their interest for years because they set foot on the wrong piece of land, in order to protest about something they care deeply about. It’s also a society where you can play football against people that have a record of assaults as long as the proverbial arm (and then try to add to this record during matches). It’s a society where you can encounter people, in football club car parks for example, with dubious records for running football clubs still running football clubs, (You know, the type of people that name the stands of grounds after themselves). Yet these two groups of people have their liberty undisturbed. Maybe “The People” are right.
A bloke at the bus stop seemed to have his finger on the pulse; the pitch invasion was due to Wrexham fans infiltrating the Deva, if it wasn’t Wrexham fans (I challenged him!) it must be “The Welsh” then. That moron will be the first to cry when he has no club to support. I walked to town.