Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bangor City 0-2 Rhyl

Footage of this game and the incidents I describe can be seen at the Sgorio website.

I was greeted by a queue of people snaking round onto Farrar Road as I turned up with my camera to this one last night. I snuck through to the press entrance and took my place in front of the Farrar Road stand which Bangor usually attack. Rhyl must have won the toss because they made Bangor swap, and 500 people began the trek round the ground to stand behind the Rhyl goal.

I was on my way too until I noticed the arrival of about 30 Rhyl fans, some of whom began chanting as they entered the ground. They stood on the Farrar End and let rip with a number of tunes regarding their opponents. "I'd rather be a smackhead than a Blue". There were a couple fo songs about in-breeding too, and generally lariness aimed at the large gang of Bangor teenagers who decided to loiter and provoke.

There was only one steward to start with, and he was joined by a couple of others when the game started. The Bangor group edged closer to the Rhyl fans, and insults were freely traded. I nevcer thought I would see a cut-throat sign at a Welsh premier game , but there it was, coming from one of the young Rhyl lads, one of a few wearing Stone Island labels.

To be fair, I never thought it was going to kick off. These were very young kids and there were plenty of sensible heads around to calm things down. And the fuss did start to die down until Rhyl's second goal mid way through the first half.

Then I saw a crowd surge. You don't get many crowds at Welsh Premier games, let alone surges. There were punches thrown and it all got a bit nasty. The stewards bravely stepped in and re-inforcements were called. As the Bangor fans were moved away from the area, further scuffles broke out.

I took a number of pictures from pitch-side, though I'm not sure its in anyone's best interests that I publish them here. From what I could see it appeared that one of the older Bangor lads was trying to grab a flag from one of the Rhyl boys. Rhyl piled in and at one stage somebody was being kicked on the floor by half a dozen lads.

It got pretty messy. It was certainly the worst disorder I've ever seen at a Welsh Premier game, and probably the worst I've seen inside any ground for a few years. Isolated scores were being settled across the terrace and stewards had a tough time.

After that flurry, it was all over when the teams changed ends for the second half. By now the stewards were in the right place and about a dozen police were placed inside the ground.

Bangor will be in trouble for this I'm sure. Despite the extra security they had in place, when it came to the crunch, there were only a few flourescent jackets in amongst the Rhyl fans. I feel sorry for the club. The officials do try their best, but these people are volunteers and shouldn't be having to deal with social disorder issues.

If anybody from the club wants to see my photographs, please get in touch and maybe you can identify and ban a few of the people involved.

On the pitch it was one-sided. Bangor simply had nothing to threaten the Rhyl goal, and the game was effectively over after half an hour.

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