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Club News

CLUB STATEMENT: Crowd disorder

Review under way

7 August 2023

Club News

CLUB STATEMENT: Crowd disorder

Review under way

7 August 2023

Carlisle United Football Club can confirm that we have today taken the extraordinary measure of suspending ticket sales in the Warwick Road End of the stadium for the fixtures against Wigan Athletic (Tuesday 15 August) and Exeter City (Saturday 19 August) as we consider a range of options to counter the crowd behaviour incidents witnessed throughout the game last weekend.

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Unfortunately, match referee Peter Wright had to pause the game twice as he asked for a response to a variety of objects being thrown towards the playing area. This was despite a number of advance pre-match warnings and messaging across the club’s PA system pre-game and in-game.

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “Once again we find ourselves in a situation where instead of celebrating the fact that we had close to 10,000 home fans supporting their team in a fantastic manner, we have to react to the actions of a few individuals who are now going to spoil it for the many.

“It also has to be said that the pausing of the game by the referee, due to missiles being thrown, came at a time when we were pushing forward, with Fleetwood under defensive pressure and United in the ascendancy. In my view these actions broke our momentum.

“Therefore we are suspending sales for the Warwick Road End with immediate effect as we discuss and consider the options available to us to help us to deal with this unacceptable behaviour.

“The reputation of this wonderful football club is being dragged down due to actions which are repeated, despite constant warnings from the club and from the football authorities, who, I need to remind everybody, investigate the club in great depth every time a report like this is raised. 

“Our manager Paul Simpson is now being drawn into commenting on this due to the affects it is having on the game.

“In addition, the police have already invited us to a meeting, as they also look at behaviour and ways they can assist us deal with it.

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“We have reached the point where we have to accept that strong messaging is simply not enough. I’m going to be honest with our supporters and tell you that we will be considering a number of possible outcomes, some of which will have a direct impact on people who only ever come to back their team in the right way.

“Ideally, and this is a direct appeal, if anyone has any information on who the perpetrators were on Saturday, or if anyone would like to come forward and apologise, please do so as soon as possible.

“I am pleased to see the overwhelming response of fans was to condemn this behaviour. But the message doesn’t seem to be getting through. Fans will know who is doing this and we appeal to them to tell their friends and spread the word as we try to make sure these people get the message loud and clear that it must stop.

“Aside of that, significant extra stewarding, on top of the increases in that area we have already made, and more surveillance methods are now unavoidable  – both of which have cost implications which we can do without, and will take cash from other plans.

“We don’t need to remind fans that cost implications have a direct impact on the whole club. We do not have back up funds for this so it has to come from other areas – that includes the manager, his budgets and his plans. That is another direct serious consequence from incidents such as this.

“In addition, we will now be discussing options including:

  • Voluntary reduction in the WRE capacity.
  • Increased searching (which will affect entry times and queueing).
  • Implementation of age restrictions so that only those over the age of 18 will be allowed into that area.
  • Closing of central sections near the goals.
  • Sadly, the possibility of a full closure to allow a time-out and a reset in behaviour.

To have to consider these as option is extremely disappointing following the huge increase in fans and the wonderful efforts of the young supporters who are trying to make the Warwick Road End a memorable place to go for all the right reasons. 

We will be discussing fan behaviour again at the next fan group CUSG meeting on 14 August.

We have reached a point where we can no longer rely on everyone to behave in a manner that makes Brunton Park welcoming and enjoyable for everybody.

To confirm – ticket sales for the Warwick Road End for the Wigan and Exeter games are currently suspended.

We will update after Wednesday.

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