Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday December 12 2008
Lancashire police have scuppered plans for Stoke to take 7,000 fans to Blackburn Rovers next week as the club tried to recreate the winning atmosphere of the Brit at Ewood Park.
The boys in blue have forced Rovers to limit ticket sales to Potters fans to 4,700 after Stoke had tried to take their entire allocation of 7,000 with an offer of free coach travel for anyone buying a ticket.
It seems desperately unfair on Stoke amid yet more accusations of police victimisation that is effecting the vast majority of law-abiding travelling Stokies. Hull City and Liverpool both had more fans travel to Blackburn earlier this season and this seems to be another case of the police overreacting. Potters fans have had to put up with changes to match days and times for the games at Manchester City and Wigan this season with Greater Manchester police citing 'intelligence'. There was also the infamous case a few weeks ago when a coach load of Potters fans were forbidden to enter Manchester for the game at Old Trafford and were issued with Section 27 notices despite there being no reported cases of trouble - again the police cited 'intelligence' reasons.
There was some trouble in Newcastle last weekend with several people from Stoke-on-Trent being arrested. But they can't be regarded as 'fans' since the arrests happened in the city centre during the game after reports that it was pre-planned with some other Geordie low-lives.
The club have now said that they have sold out of tickets for the game at Ewood Park next Saturday and will be taking 70 official coaches, so it should still be an impressive turn-out.
Date:Friday December 12 2008
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