CROWD control at Chester City FC has been branded “a disgrace” after overcrowding led to away fans being escorted around the pitch to home seats.
Saturday’s Cheshire derby against Stockport County was called off after 59 minutes of play because of a waterlogged pitch.
But mid-way through the first half, 200 away fans were escorted around the edge of the pitch as play continued.
They were kept waiting near the corner flag for several tense minutes before being moved from the overcrowded Liversage Stand to a corner of the Vaughan Stand, where the majority of Chester’s fans were watching the game.
A line of police officers separated the two groups of fans in the stand.
Stockport County manager Jim Gannon said after the game: “It’s bizarre. It’s a disgrace that the fans, paying customers, should be marched around the inside of the stadium to seats. It’s endangering players’ safety. It’s endangering their safety.”
More than 2,000 Stockport fans are estimated to have attended the game – making up more than half the 3,783 crowd.
Football liaison officer, PC Jerry Alcock, added: “I believe the overcrowding was due to a breakdown in communication between the inside of the stadium and turnstile operators.
“There comes a point where the turnstiles should have been closed and they were not.
“The Safety Advisory Group decided to make this a general sale match because for the past two matches Stockport County have brought only 1,200-1,400 supporters. The rescheduled match will be a ticket-only fixture.”
As The Midweek Chronicle went to press Chester City FC officials were meeting to arrange a date and security details for the rescheduled match.