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West Yorkshire Police horses outside Leeds train station ahead of Leeds vs Millwall

Arrests and policing on the decline at Leeds United

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West Yorkshire Police horses outside Leeds train station ahead of Leeds vs Millwall

West Yorkshire Police horses outside Leeds train station ahead of Leeds vs Millwall

Arrests made at Elland Road on match days are set to decline for the second season running, with the cost of policing also set to decrease.

Just 61 arrests were recorded at Elland Road last season. Significantly lower than the 2012/13 season where 104 fans were detained over the year.

The cost of policing at Elland Road has also decreased over the previous four years. The 2011/12 season saw Leeds United pay West Yorkshire Police £1,062,700 in comparison to the £209,600 this season, with just seven home fixtures remaining.

The West Yorkshire side argued that policing the streets and car parks is in fact the force’s responsibility as opposed to the Championship club.

In 2014, Leeds United claimed that the West Yorkshire Police still owed the club £800,000 for overcharging policing at home games.

“There’s always a high number of police officers and private security at our home matches,” said season ticket holder, Luke Wroe. “Most fans just want to come and watch the side play, without looking to cause trouble. If anything, it’s the police that are more likely to provoke us than the away contingent.”

Earlier in the month, Millwall fans travelled to Elland Road for the fixture against Leeds United, which passed without any major trouble.

Leeds United fans have argued they are always singled out by police and opposing fans as the bad boys of football, wherever they watch football.

“West Yorkshire Police have got it all wrong,” said Matty Gavan. “Fair enough, there are always a minority of fans that do look to cause trouble, but every club has that. It feels as though the police and the Football League are using Leeds United as a scapegoat.”

Leeds vs Millwall has always been known as the fixture that is liklely to cause the most disruption on matchdays. As a result, West Yorkshire Police placed a restriction on the amount of away fans they could let into Elland Road, offering just 200 tickets to Millwall FC, of which 60 fans turned up.

Sven the Oracle posted a message on Telegraph’s website: “Millwall have been causing trouble for decades. Any restrictions they have placed on them have only themselves to blame for.”

The measures that were put in place meant that visiting Millwall fans had to report to a service station on the motorway, whilst being filmed by police.

“Millwall have caused a lot of trouble in the past,” added Leeds United fan, Gavan. “If I was a Millwall fan, I’d have been livid at the ticket allocation we were given.

“Yes, they are troublemakers. However, to make them have to pick up their tickets from a service station is ludicrous.

“What about those fans that wanted to take the train up? Or maybe the ones that don’t live in London but wanted to watch the game. I think that West Yorkshire Police definitely ruined this fixture.”

In an outburst after Millwall’s 1-0 defeat to Leeds, Ian Holloway told reporters: “It’s only when we play Leeds, we don’t get it anywhere else. It’s not an issue anywhere else.

“I don’t get it. Years ago it was fashionable to do certain things, but we’ve moved on. For me, West Yorkshire Police, get off your arse and don’t treat our supporters differently to anyone else.”

Pre-match atmosphere from the away end. (Picture Courtesy of Brian Shotton)

1. FC Köln ban hooligan fan group following violence against Borussia Mönchengladbach

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Bundesliga side 1. FC Köln have taken drastic measures after fans lit flares and stormed the pitch following the final whistle of the Rhein Derby against Borussia Mönchengladbach. 

Pre-match atmosphere from the away end. (Picture Courtesy of Brian Shotton)

Pre-match atmosphere from the away end. (Picture Courtesy of Brian Shotton)

The “30 white-clad anarchists”, as Bild called them, were unauthorised pitch invaders who had scaled the 10-foot high barrier out of the visitors’ section, and onto the pitch, before riot police moved in – which resulted in one officer being injured.

In a statement released by the club on Monday morning, Köln announced that they had revoked the fan-club status of ‘boyz’, and are in the process of banning 40-known offenders from the home game against Hannover 96 at the weekend.

Lifelong Köln fan, Randall Hauk told RivalTalk in an exclusive interview: “Their actions hurt me more than did the Branimir Hrgota dive, the Granit Xhaka game-winner, or anything else. It was a huge dampener on Karneval weekend.”

The German club published photographs asking for help to identify the perpetrators, which saw a quick response from fans of the club, which boasts over 70,000 members.

“The message does need to be delivered in a dramatic way that will probably be shocking and may cause unrest among the fan groups,” said Hauk.

Köln’s reputation as a club has been tarnished as a result of the actions from the minority of supporters following the final whistle.

Hauk added: “The image of the club reaches beyond those of us who follow German football. People may not know the result of the match or even that the Mönchengladbach-Köln rivalry exists, but they’ll see those images.”

The club’s official statement read: “FC justifies its drastic measures because of repeated, intentional club-damaging behaviour from within the ranks of the Boyz.

“Leading members of the group were involved in the use of illegal pyrotechnic as well as pitch invasions after the final whistle at both the derby in Mönchengladbach as well as other mass organised events.”

The German Football Association (DFB) have also reacted on fans’ behaviour since the turn of the year. Hertha Berlin are just one from a number of clubs that have been fined due to use of pyrotechnics.

Violent scenes following the final whistle. (Video Courtesy of Football Network)

Hauk added: “Get rid of them [hooligans], and you’ve sent the right message to the DFL, which maybe helps mitigate fines in future instances, but you’ve also told the majority of the club membership and fan base that you can handle it and get back to the reason we all came in the first place: football.”

There’s no question that Köln have acted quick on the matter. Now German football followers can just hope other clubs follow suit should further incidents arise.

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Francesco Totti celebrates scoring equaliser with a selfie

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Francesco Totti takes Selfie in front of Roma Ultras (Reuters)

Francesco Totti takes Selfie in front of Roma Ultras (Reuters)

Italian Gladiator Francesco Totti celebrated his equalising brace by taking a selfie with Roma’s Curva Sud in the Derby della Capitale.

After going two goals down after half-an-hour to Stefano Mauri and Felipe Anderson, Totti turned the game around just after the break before smashing home an equaliser after 64 minutes.

The 38-year old will go beside the names of Alessandro Del Piero and Roberto Baggio in the Serie A record books when the veteran retires from football.

“Footballers often get criticised for taking selfies on the pitch,” said Roma follower, Josh Lawless. “Personally, I thought it was excellent. I would have probably done the same thing.

“To score an equaliser against your nemesis, I think Totti has the right to go a little crazy. I loved it.”

The question remains however – Is Totti the coolest footballer ever?

However, Totti is not the first sportsman to take a selfie. Lukas Podolski, on loan at Inter Milan from Arsenal took a selfie with Arsenal fans in the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

The result means Roma remain behind Champions Juventus in second place on goal difference. A won would have taken the Giallorossi above the Turin club.

Totti made his debut for Roma in 1992, having been at the club from the start of his professional career in 1989. The talisman has found the back of the net on 239 occasions in 573 games for Roma.

The Italian has also played 58 games for Azzurri. Totti has 28 honours to his name, including five Italian Footballer of the Year awards.

 

Video via YouTube (FootballHighlights)

The game was perhaps overshadowed by what happened in Paris just a week earlier. Roma manager, Rudi Garcia placed pencils on the chair of every journalist attend the derby, prior to kick-off, as a mark of respect.

Rolando Aarons has netted two goals this season.

Rolando Aarons ruled out of the Tyne-Wear Derby

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Rolando Aarons has netted two goals this season.

Rolando Aarons has netted two goals this season.

Newcastle United have been dealt a huge injury blow ahead of the Tyne-Wear Derby match against Sunderland.

Newcastle United have been dealt a huge injury blow ahead of the Tyne-Wear Derby match against Sunderland.

Rolando Aarons has suffered an injury setback that will see the youngster miss tomorrow’s Capital One Cup quarter-final tie against Tottenham Hotspur and Sunday’s derby against Sunderland.

The 19-year old has been sidelined since early last month with a hamstring injury, and is yet to return to full fitness.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew had hoped Aarons would be back in time for the cup game tomorrow. However, the England Under-20 international is expected to miss a further two weeks.

Aarons made his way on the scene during pre-season after signing his professional contract last year.

The winger has made three started twice for the Magpies, whilst making a substitute in the Premier League on three occasions, netting against Crystal Palace and Manchester City.

More to Follow..

Sunderland fans will arrive at Newcastle Central Station. (Creative Commons)

Tyne-Wear Derby: Northumbria Police will not escort Sunderland supporters to St James Park

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Police chiefs have announced plans to reduce policing in the Tyne-Wear derby between Newcastle United and Sunderland on Sunday.

Sunderland fans will arrive at Newcastle Central Station. (Creative Commons)

Sunderland fans will arrive at Newcastle Central Station. (Creative Commons)

The two sets off fans will be able to mix before the match after Northumbria Police have said that Sunderland supporters will not be escorted from Central Station.

The tense rivalry between the Toon army and their rivals has always meant there has been a heavy police presence when the two teams meet.

Police are encouraging Sunderland supporters to make use of the free coaches from the Stadium of Light, or to use designated trains.

Despite history between the two sets of fans, Chief Supt Neill told Chronicle Live: “My message to the fans is this – It’s your derby. These are always fantastic occasions and it’s going to be even more so this year.

“It is 21 December, people are going to be excited about Christmas, and people will be excited for the football match and I want that excitement to really come through on the day and for it to be a really positive experience for everyone, that’s the ethos of the whole operation.”

Relationships between Newcastle United and Sunderland fans seem to have improved after Sunderland supporters raised over £20,000 in memory of John Alder and Liam Sweeney, two Newcastle fans who were killed in the MH17 crash.

However, the 2013 Tyne-Wear derby will be remembered for the wrong reasons after a police horse was attacked by a Newcastle supporter when violence erupted outside St James’ Park after a defeat to their rivals, Sunderland.

“The fans want the passion of the derby but some of the things that have happened in previous years now need to be consigned to history. The disorder of 2013 reflected badly on everybody concerned,” said Chief Supt Neill.

“This is about two groups of passionate supporters coming together. Having the sheer number of such passionate football fans in such close proximity is a great thing to celebrate.”

The two sides meet on 21 December 2014 in a 1:30pm kick off.

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RC Lens vs LOSC Lille: Derby du Nord returns to Ligue 1

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RC Lens and LOSC Lille will meet for the 108th time on Sunday in what is Les Douges 70th year anniversary since the merger of SC Fives and Olympique Lillois.

RC Lens mosaic ahead of tie against LOSC Lille in 2009 (Creative Commons)

RC Lens mosaic ahead of tie against LOSC Lille in 2009 (Creative Commons)

RC Lens were relegated to Ligue 2 in 2011. However, the game will not be played at Lens’ Stade Felix Bollaert and will instead be at the Stade de France in Paris due to their home stadium being renovated.

The Derby du Nord dates back to the 1930s when RC Lens first took on Olympique Lillois – which became an even bigger derby when Lens gained promotion to the first division in 1937.

“With only 40km between the two cities, it is one of the true regional derbies that France can claim to have,” said Lille season-ticket holder, Andrew Gibney.

Like the Derby du Rhône and Le Classique, the two teams have a class divide. Lens is a city known to be more working class whilst Lille, are known as being more “bourgeois.”

There has been no clear dominance from either of the two teams. Lille have won on 40 occasions and Lens 33, whilst both sides have had stretches of not winning in five attempts.

The first meeting of Lens and LOSC was on September 23 1945, the visitors won 3-1. Just two years later, the two teams met in the Coupe de France, Lille winning 3-2 in what would be their third Coupe de France trophy.

The majority of adult male fans support Lens, as 20-years ago, Lille was playing their football in the second division, whilst their rivals, Lens won the title in 1998.

Ahead of the European Championships held in France next year, Lille built the Stade Pierre Mauroy, a 50,186 capacity stadium. Despite being the bigger of the two cities, Lille struggle to fill their stadium, whereas Lens as a town, has a much smaller population, often getting 40,000 plus at the Stade Felix Bollaert.

The main fan group at Lille is the DVE “Douges Virage Est,” who are this season celebrating their 25 years as the clubs main group this season. Made up of young men, they bring banners to every away, whilst sitting in the Tribune Nord during home matches.

RC Lens fans against PSG, 2014 (Video Courtesy of Elitexzone_Fr)

Violence isn’t as such a big issue in France as it has been made out to be in the past.

“They just want to show their colours and represent their city and team,” said Gibney. Also within the fans at Lille, you have much smaller supporter groups, Y’est D’Dins and the Douges D’Honneur, for the mature fans.

Despite both sides struggling for quality at the minute, neutrals can expect blood and thunder on the pitch with plenty of vocal support from the stands, with Lens having the bigger core support.

RC Lens have been struggling off the field of late. Due to not having a stadium as theirs is being renovated for Euro 2016 – the French club have agreed a deal to play 16 ‘home’ games at SC Amiens 12,000 capacity stadium.

With a win this weekend, Lens can move out of the relegation zone and possible above their rivals, depending on other results and goal difference.

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Dinamo vs Split match abandoned as fans and players boycott tie

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Hajduk Split refused to play Dinamo Zagreb yesterday afternoon in the Eternal Derby, after approximately 50 supporters were blacklisted from the Maksimir Stadium.

Dinamo Zagreb's Bad Blue Boys at Maksimir Stadium. (Creative Commons)

Dinamo Zagreb’s Bad Blue Boys at Maksimir Stadium. (Creative Commons)

Croatian media had reported that out of the 1,000 travelling supporters, 50 of these who made the trip from the Adriatic coast were listed as troublemakers, barring them from entering the stadium. Hajduk players followed suit and refused to play the tie, the biggest in Croatian football every season.

According to Croatia FA rules, the match will be registered as a three-nil win for Dinamo, while Hajduk face a maximum six points deduction and possibly even being thrown out of the division.

Dinamo director Tomislav Svetina told the clubs official website: “We will sue Hajduk to refund us the expenses of the match organisation. Hajduk only makes a mess of Croatian football. This is one of the saddest moments in Croatian football, and this was planned to create a chaos in our football.

“It was Split police who gave us the list of 92 persons who have stadium bans. And as soon as the first of them arrived, he was denied entrance. And than Hajduk asked for the match to be postponed! For what?! Because fans registered as hooligans could not get in!? Hajduk should be severely punished.”

This is not the first scandal to rock Croatian football. Just last week, Croatian supporters twice held up play against Italy in the Euro 2016 qualifier in Milan. Fans hurled flares on to the pitch as the Croatian FA to condemn their behaviour, urging the government to crush hooliganism.

“Although Hajduk Split are lagging further behind their Zagreb-rivals, hardly making the fixtures decisive for titles. The Eternal Derby between Hajduk and Dinamo steals more or less all the attention and focus in Croatia,” Runar Nordvik told RivalTalk.

The return tie in Split, is expected to draw a much bigger crowd as Hajduk always sell out at the Poljud stadium, providing great atmosphere when Dinamo arrive. Which is the opposite of the game in Zagreb as there are often boycotts.

Hajduk Split's Torcida's at Stadion Poljud. (Creative Commons)

Hajduk Split’s Torcida’s at Stadion Poljud. (Creative Commons)

Since 2010, Hajduk have only won the Eternal Derby on one occasion, a 2-0 win in 2013 with Mario Pašalić scoring a brace, meaning Dinamo have dominated of late.

One of the most controversial transfers between the two teams is that of Niko Kranjčar who left Dinamo for Hajduk in 2005, and to this day the Bad Blue Boys (BBB), Dinamo’s ultras are yet to forgive him.

The BBB started up in 1986, alongside many other supporter groups in the former Yugoslavia who came in to the football scene in this decade. Hajduk’s ‘Torcida’ supporters group were the first recognised group in Europe when they came on the scene in the early 1950’s.

Dinamo’s BBB became a major force in the hooligan scene back in the early 1990’s as the infamous game at home to Red Star Belgrade broke out in riots, making BBB also a symbol of Croatian independency.

“The actual game has often been referred to as what made the Balkan Wars break out,” said Nordvik.

At present, the BBB are still a force in Croatian football.

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Warren Feeney banned from dugout ahead of fierce rivalry against Glentoran

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Windsor Park

Windsor Park, venue where Linfield will play Glentoran. (Creative Commons)

Linfield manager, Warren Feeney will be forced to watch the Belfast’s Big Two derby against Glentoran from the stands on Saturday.

The 33-year old was sent off in the game six weeks ago against Ballymena in a management capacity, and the touchline ban is only being put in place now.

“Unfortunately my ban is from the Ballymena game, which I don’t really know why – six weeks down the line from when it was but you have just got to take these things,” Feeney told Belfast Telegraph.

“It will be hard for me because I’m not one of them who likes to sit and watch football, I like to be vocal but I will get my bits and pieces across the boys an hour or so before the game.”

Linfield play hosts to Glentoran tomorrow at Windsor Park, and the visitors will be looking for revenge having lost to The Blues last time out at The Oval.

Feeney’s men have improved their form of late after recording wins over Glenavon and Dungannon Swifts to raise spirits having lost three games on the bounce.

Glentoran on the other hand, have suffered a dip in form of late, with defeats against Glenavon and a cup defeat to Ballinamallard United.

Former Northern Ireland international, Feeney is expecting Glentoran to put up a fight tomorrow afternoon: “They are a decent side and they play football the right way. I know how football works and if you aren’t fully focused on the job then you will get punished.

“This will be a very difficult game for us.

“It’s a local derby, a Big Two derby and although Cliftonville have been champions for the last two seasons I think everyone understands the magnitude of this fixture in the Irish League.

“No matter what other people think I still consider that opposition teams relish the chance to beat Linfield and it should be a great occasion but it’s important the players don’t get caught up in that.”

The last meeting between the two sides ended in favour of Linfield as Glentoran threw a two-goal lead away before Linfield’s Aaron Burns scored the winner right at the death.

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