There is no need to remind any true football fan of the sensitivities of safety concerns and policing at football matches. At the same time we should not sensationalise the problem, more take this opportunity to address the recent problems and move forward.
No one can pretend that the Police have an easy job, however it is not and has never been acceptable for a large group of ordinary people going about their business to be treated like violent thugs or even potential ones, whatever the reason, and this will be evermore exposed in our electronic social media age. It is time for a change in the relationship between Police and Fans, and for football fans to shake off the often unfair image that has been attached to them.
In relation to the particular incident a the recent Palace vs Charlton derby, I believe it is also totally unacceptable for an avoidable situation to arise which allows for children and elderly people to be put at risk of being crushed or trampled by a crowd of 2-3000 who have been herded and then held by snarling police dogs, because of a simple absence of a loud hailer, or effective communication beforehand.
What we would like to see is far better communication with Police and fans in advance and in general in relation to flashpoint situations which for a Club like ours mainly relates to away games against our local rivals. Hopefully we are at the beginnings of that.
Additionally, it seems that for too long fans have relied on their clubs for representation, and I believe the emergence of independent, democratic groups with a strict constitutional basis like Supporters' Trusts can change this situation for the better and perhaps better represent fans in this regard - and that's in no way intended to be a criticism of Football Clubs who have done what they can in this area.
What a Supporters' Trust may be able to help do as well as opening up direct communications with Police, is give fans more ownership of the problem and of their Club’s reputation - regardless of whether or not a Trust has any physical ownership of the supported club.
We're not suggesting that supporters should start conducting citizens arrests, nor are we suggesting this will cure the poor behaviour of some 'fans' overnight, but simply that fans may be affected over time to become more responsible in themselves and towards the behaviour of fellow fans.
One immediate concern and result of the actions of a very small minority is the possible large reduction in away tickets for these very popular derby matches, and badly needed revenue for clubs; as well as the inconvenience of early kick offs. At the same time if certain clubs fans are continually guilty of such wholesale damage inside stadiums as is apparently the risk of keeping fans back inside stadiums, perhaps it is time to start reducing their away allocation to zero if need be.
Barnie Razzell - Interim Chairman, CASTrust.org
CAS Trust - Have You Joined Yet?