Arrests follow Norwich-Leeds clash
Steve Downes Police today welcomed a job well done as their “most challenging” match of the season at Carrow Road passed with relatively few arrests.There were sporadic skirmishes before and after the top-of-the-table Norwich City v Leeds United clash, but Supt Jim Smerdon of Norfolk Police said officers were “on top of the situation”.
Police today welcomed a job well done as their “most challenging” match of the season at Carrow Road passed with relatively few arrests.
There were sporadic skirmishes before and after the top-of-the-table Norwich City v Leeds United clash, but Supt Jim Smerdon of Norfolk Police said officers were “on top of the situation”.
His comments were challenged by some Canaries fans, who criticised the decision to allow the Leeds fans to leave at the same time as the home supporters, and said some of the behaviour they witnessed from the Yorkshire followers was “intimidating”.
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One fan, who did not want to be named, said: “We sit in the River End and came out about five minutes after the final whistle. As we approached the Jarrold Stand it was clear the Leeds fans were being let out.
“No police were present and Leeds fans were picking off the city fans as they walked past. I saw a grown-up Leeds fans spitting at a 10 year old and his dad as we walked past.
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“It must be 15 years since I've felt so intimidated at a home match. Why the police felt the need to let them out as they had just lost in the 90th minute is beyond me.”
Another fan, writing on the website carrowroad.net, said a woman and her four-year-old had encountered a group of Leeds fans in Dereham before the game.
He said: “A few of them walked across towards her shouting and swearing at her and the terrified little lad. On getting back to her car she had to spend 30 odd minutes trying to persuade her boy to go to the game as he thought he was going to have go through it again. Sadly that was the case as she walked to the ground right near Carrow Road.”
Supt Smerdon said: “It was a top-of-the-table clash that was very significant for both teams. It was always going to be passionate and Norwich scoring in the last minute did not help us.
“It's fair to say that the game attracted factions from both clubs that we don't want to see at football matches.”
He added that there were “six or seven arrests” and said: “There were some policing challenges. But we were up to the challenges on the way in and on the way out.”
Supt Smerdon defended the decision to allow the Leeds fans to leave at the final whistle, saying: “Holding fans back is a tactic that has to be pre-planned and needs extra resources. We have to balance it against the safety of the fans in the stadium.”
There were reports of confrontations between fans before the match on Prince of Wales Road and outside the ground immediately after the game, but he said the incidents were “very short”.
Police were called to Dereham to deal with “rowdy behaviour” after 200 Leeds fans arrived in the town before the match, with one coach breaking down nearby.
Many congregated in and around the Red Lion pub on Quebec Street, where officers were sent as a precaution in case of any trouble. But a spokesman for Norfolk police said no serious incidents were recorded and no arrests were made.
He said: There was some rowdy behaviour but nothing untoward was recorded and they all got back on the coach when asked.”