Hot on the heels of the controversial tactics employed after the last South London derby at Selhurst Park, which led to a review and consultation with both Addicks and local residents, this weekend police lines blocked any Charlton fans wishing to walk up the famous Floyd Road immediately after the game - access to Ransom Walk was also blocked due to fears over the number of fans who would converge there when access to Floyd Road was denied.
According to the official club site, these decisions “were made jointly by club safety personnel and the police to assist supporters to leave the area as quickly and safely as possible” however it was the final paragraph
of the communication which would have infuriated many Addicks the most - “although holding back away fans for a short time after the game was considered, this would have meant that Millwall supporters would have missed the additional train services running into London from Charlton”, it seems strange that a club would want to ensure away fans had the convenience of the train station when denying it to their own.
That similar consideration was not given to Charlton supporters at Selhurst this year with away fans penned in along Park Road and memories of being locked inside the Den for a considerable period post the 4-0 humiliation a couple of seasons ago still fresh in the memory the decision to prioritise 3,000 away fans over the entirety of the clubs own support will seem a bitter blow. If the reasoning, as has been suggested elsewhere, were to ensure the police could disperse all 3,000 Millwall fans from the local area immediately via train to London then this clearly failed, as anyone who encountered large numbers of Lions supporters making their way (peacefully) down the Woolwich road will concur.
In common with the problems post Selhurst this season was the feeling that there was no cohesion to the plans. Initially as advertised by the club in Fridays communication Charlton Lane and Hasted Road were open, but then confusion as both were blocked - we assume to stop fans converging via Woolwich Road although that hadn't been the stated intention of the Police actions and certainly not part of the plans the club had released previously. This then forced fans to reverse back up and already overcrowded Charlton Lane Southwards (the opposite direction from the level crossing) - and not a megaphone in sight, perhaps cut backs have really set in? After blocking Hasted it was then subsequently re-opened with many hundreds of Charlton fans walking down this road and arriving at the level crossing barrier. Those who chose to remain in the ground were treated to the delights of the North Lower kiosk staying open, at full price, for 25 minutes after the match ended.
It is clear that additional policing tactics have to be employed for the derby matches, and the growing element of unacceptable behaviour at the these games has been very worrying this season. However the decisions made by the club’s safety personnel and the police this time round have been wholly unsatisfactory, as was the decision to announce the measures a 24 hours before the game.
We welcome your feedback about events on Saturday and will compile a report to give to CAFC at a later date, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.