Police investigating fan trouble during Blackpool's friendly against Southport
Police are now investigating the fan disorder that temporarily halted Blackpool’s pre-season friendly against Southport.
Play was halted for around five minutes, while the official warned the game would be abandoned altogether if any further incidents occurred.
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It came after a young group of Southport fans made their way around the ground to confront the Blackpool supporters in the away end.
A handful of Blackpool fans breached the fences, causing the group to scarper back to the home end behind the goal. A fence appeared to be thrown as well as a pint of beer.
Blackpool’s chief executive Ben Mansford and secretary Nick Horne left the main stand to make their way over to the corner of the pitch to calm down supporters.
After the cordon separating the fans was moved back to the halfway line, the game eventually restarted in the 36th minute, with Blackpool claiming a 2-0 win in Michael Appleton’s first game back as head coach.
Officers from Merseyside Police were called at 3.30pm, but there was no further disorder and fans left in an orderly manner. There were no reports of any injuries either.
At half-time, Southport appeared to make light of the incident by playing Kaiser Chiefs’ “I Predict A Riot” over the tannoy system, before being ordered to stop.
“Following the events at the pre-season friendly against Blackpool on Saturday, July 2 which led to the match referee having to stop the game for 10 minutes whilst order was restored in the crowd, this is now a police matter,” Southport said in a statement.
“Accordingly, we are working with Merseyside Police and assisting in any way we can to enable its officers to complete their investigation and instigate criminal proceedings, where deemed appropriate by the police, as quickly as possible.
“The club will be making no further comment whilst this investigation is ongoing.”
Merseyside Police is now working with Southport to study CCTV of the incident as enquiries into the incident continue.
Chief Inspector Matthew Moscrop said: “Our message to the small minority of fans intent on carrying out disorder at any match is that such behaviour is unacceptable and will simply not be tolerated.
“We can and do identify those responsible for such incidents and can issue a range of sanctions, including banning orders.
“We will be working closely with both clubs to investigate this disturbance and I want to thank the vast majority of supporters who attended the game in good spirits.
“I would ask anyone who witnessed anything or anyone with information to come forward and we will take appropriate action.”
If you have any footage or information about this incident, direct message Merseyside Police Contact Centre on Twitter or Facebook ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ with reference 22000466789.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information.