Police prepare for clash of Cup fans

PUBLISHED: 15:30 15 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:05 14 September 2010

Transport police could be forced to travel with Canaries fans heading to London for the team's FA Cup fifth round tie with Chelsea - because Ipswich fans will be boarding trains to the capital for their game with Watford at the same time.

Transport police could be forced to travel with Canaries fans heading to London for the team's FA Cup fifth round tie with Chelsea - because Ipswich fans will be boarding trains to the capital for their game with Watford at the same time.

The Canaries' extra time cup heroics against Blackpool, which secured a plum tie with the Premiership champions, delighted fans but have resulted in a headache for British Transport police.

Thousands of Norwich fans will be joined by Blues fans at Ipswich on Saturday, with both sets of supporters remaining on the train until London Liverpool Street, where they will head for underground to get to Stamford Bridge and Vicarage Road respectively.

Transport officers have been preparing safety plans ever since the fifth round draw but are now trying to figure out how many officers they need to deploy.

Simon Lubin, a spokesman for the British Transport Police, said having Norwich and Ipswich fans heading for London at the same time was a concern.

“There is a history between Norwich and Ipswich fans - it's something we will be looking at,” he said.

“We will have a look at the probable travel plans and then make a decision about deployment. That could mean having people at Norwich or Ipswich and London. They might want to target some trains with travelling officers as well.”

Mr Lubin said a final decision would be made after all travel arrangements were confirmed, but officers would certainly be on duty in London to deal with any potential problems.

A spokesman for Norwich City Football Club, said: “Norwich City fans have earned an excellent reputation when travelling to opposing grounds and we hope all our fans going to Chelsea have a safe and enjoyable day.”

Roy Blower, chairman of the Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association, (NCISA) said: “I would hope there' are no problems - it is a football match after all. We all know what it means to Norwich and Ipswich fans but trouble we don't want and hopefully it will pass peacefully.”

Peter Meades, a spokesman for One, said: “British Transport Police will be out and about and our staff will be aware that both sets of supporters will be on the trains.

“The majority of Norwich City and Ipswich Town fans are very well behaved and often travel to away matches and we don't experience any problems. There's no reason to assume that should be any different.”

Mr Meades added that pre-planned engineering work between Norwich and Diss meant supporters would have to get replacement buses on Saturday, but the rail operator would ensure sufficient replacement buses were in place.

Last June, the Evening News reported how 15 fans from Norfolk and seven from Suffolk with banning orders did not go to the World Cup in Germany after handing in their passports.

Ü Norwich and Ipswich fans travelling to London on Saturday have been advised to contact One in advance to check train times on 0845 600 7245 or log on to www.onerailway.com

Ü Do you have a crime story? Call Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772439 or e-mail peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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