Derby kick-off time is a passion killer

PUBLISHED: 14:49 18 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:50 14 September 2010

Tomorrow we will be preparing for the next instalment of the passionate 'old farm derby', only the passion is slowly dissipating into a sleepy Sunday morning fixture.

Tomorrow we will be preparing for the next instalment of the passionate 'old farm derby', only the passion is slowly dissipating into a sleepy Sunday morning fixture.

Like many Norwich fans I am fed up with this game being increasingly treated by the police like a meeting of G8.

We are told by the club they are acting on the recommendations of the police, but do the club ever question or ask for a review of these recommendations.

I would love to be privy to what intelligence it is that dictates the need for keeping hundreds of Norwich fans in a car park at Ipswich station before the match, using police helicopters and the herding of fans through the streets, allowing the opposition fans plentiful opportunity to fuel their hatred, an experience not altogether unpleasant following our victory at Ipswich last year I must admit.

I am in no doubt that the style of policing contributes to giving the game a more violent undertone, I can honestly say that I can't stand Ipswich Town FC a family tradition instilled in me by my father when he first took me to a game 32 years ago, but have I ever had any inkling to take this a step further into actual violent behaviour? No.

Despite the macho bravado of fans on both sides this is still the case for the huge majority.

I firmly believe that what the club and the police are doing is taking the derby day clash on to a new level.

The greatest impact will be on the new fans who only have this experience of the game, if you treat fans like animals (the indiscriminate detaining of fans) and demonstrate they are not to be trusted they will react accordingly, the notion of self-fulfilling prophecy is not without foundation.

My job involves training people in dealing with violent and challenging behaviour and I know this to be true. The club needs to know how futile it is to organise campaigns such as 'shake a hand on derby day' in light of policing policies on match days.

What would the police do if we were to draw Ipswich in the League Cup again, obviously they would manage it. I suspect that we are now doomed to have our derby matches played on a Sunday morning without any meaningful review, other than the police's expressed satisfaction, with no regards for the fan's view or the real impact on psyche of future fans of both sides.

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