Braintree Town Football Club have reported serious crowd control issues at the end of their Vanarama National League fixture on Saturday 13 October 2018 at Salford City to the National League and The Football Association.
Braintree Town supporters were allocated a segregated area to the left of the main stand directors box seating. The total present were approximately 40-60 in total. At the end of the game they were directed out of an exit and up a walkway towards their coach. There appears to have been only one apparently inexperienced steward supervising this and the Braintree Town supporters were immediately confronted by a group of home supporters who then set about them.
The witnesses state that they were subjected to severe intimidation and physical assault.
Chairman Lee Harding was called to the scene after a few minutes and saw three stewards keeping the groups of supporters apart: “I asked to speak to the Safety Officer or a senior steward and was met with an abusive response. I replied that I was the visiting Club chairman and concerned about the well-being of our supporters.
“I then spent a few minutes explaining their responsibilities as stewards, especially reminding them of the need to keep segregated groups of supporters apart, even after a game had finished. One man shook his head at me and walked away. However one steward did then apologise for the problems and advised that they had only just started stewarding games there and were still learning.
“After ensuring that Braintree supporters were safely back on their coach I then met with the Salford City chairman. I explained to her what I had seen and what I had been told had happened. I advised that I would be contacting both the League and The FA on Monday and would copy my comments to her.
“In my experience, Braintree supporters rarely seek confrontation and will have been a little subdued after conceding a late equaliser. The stewarding arrangements for a crowd approaching 3,000 did appear to be lacking and those that were ‘in position’ did appear to be inexperienced. Those stewards or staff that I spoke with were either confrontational or struggling to meet their basic responsibilities.
That this sort of incident should happen on Non-League day, a celebration of the game at our level, is also a matter of regret.”
There has been no comment on these claims by either Salford or the governing bodies.
In the match, the hosts scored a last minute equaliser to prevent basement side Braintree from going home with all three points.
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