Preston North End supporters hit out at "worst policing ever" at Blackpool FC match
Preston North End fans say they are 'disgusted' by the way police handled their match-day visit to Blackpool FC yesterday (Saturday, October 23).
The Lilywhites were beaten 2-0 at Bloomfield Road as Blackpool scored in each half, but it was the tactics of police before and after the match which left PNE fans frustrated.
North End supporters have criticised Lancashire Police's handling of their match-day visit, with some describing it as "an absolute shambles" and the "worst policing of a football match ever".
Some supporters were held on coaches until after kick-off, causing them to miss the start of the match. Others said they were 'kettled' outside the ground and diverted through a maze of side-streets to avoid hostility with Blackpool fans.
But the diversions reportedly didn't go to plan, with PNE fans saying the route they were ordered to take led them straight into the path of oncoming Blackpool supporters, causing heightened tensions before and after the match.
Blackpool FC supporters have also expressed shock at the manner of policing at Bloomfield Road, with one fan saying he was "appalled" at the treatment of PNE supporters.
PC Paul Elliott, the forces' football officer for PNE matches, said he was aware of "some issues" and has urged supporters to email him with their concerns.
He tweeted: "Struggled with signal most of the day and aware of some of the issues today, unfortunately can’t reply to everyone. So please email me your complaints/observations and I’ll collate them as best I can. [email protected]"
Lancashire Police, Preston North End and Blackpool FC have been approached for comment.
Here is what PNE fans had to say on social media.
@Gary16923921 tweeted: "Probably the worst policing post match I have witnessed. Aggressive tactics, antagonising and inappropriate behaviour topped only by the most stupid diversions putting opposing fans together in side streets. I'm a Blackpool fan and the treatment of PNE fans was appalling."
@martynrolly said: "Police closed Bloomfield Road without notice at 2.15pm, leaving huge traffic queues to build up coming into Blackpool. Kettled us after then let us down a side street to run into the home fans and charged them with mounted police."
@pnegal63 tweeted: "Worst policing of a football match I've ever experienced in my 50yrs of going to matches, how that away stand passes for safe beggars belief.... & don't get me started on the holding the coaches pre match.... We arrived in Blackpool at 1.40pm yet missed ko... Absolute shambles!"
@pete_eccles said: "The policing post-match couldn’t have been much worse. North End fans contained outside the ground and then led head on into Blackpool fans on streets with no Police presence. Shambles."
@prestonmike tweeted: "the policing after the game was ridiculous, hold all the PNE fans back then release them down a side street where we met the Blackpool fans with no police presence, it'd have been safer to let us straight out onto Central Drive."
@markmurphyi4c said: "I don't like criticising the police, it's a tough job. But today was a shambles. What were police surprised about, that a lot of fans were coming, that it was a high risk match? Seemed like the home fans were given favourable treatment & the away fans were treated like cattle."
@Andy0James tweeted: "@SeasidersPolice have a lot of questions to be answered and heads need to roll. I'm all for supporting police but this was organised to cause chaos and put people at risk."
@PaulSlater31 said: "Always going to be a hard day but hopefully lessons learnt. My biggest note was the decision to block access to the main car parks after the game which would of been used by many a fan. Driving fans down unknown and under-supervised roads is unacceptable."
@pj895 tweeted: "Literally lambs to the slaughterhouse at the end of the game. Keeping us boxed in for 15 mins the letting us loose directly onto oncoming blackpool fans with no police presence. Shambles."
@therealbriman said: "Have to say Blackpool Police were rubbish, the only thing worse than our performance on the pitch."