Tag Archives: crowd trouble

The York rampage



Here is how Paul Morgan of the Daily Express reported it:

Rioting fans forced Brighton’s match with York to be abandoned yesterday as hooliganism returned to blight English soccer – six weeks before the start of Euro 96.

The trouble – which followed a rampage by Dutch and German fans in Rotterdam four days before – was witnessed by the FA’s head of security, Leslie Walker, and will force a major inquiry.

Several supporters were injured and a woman was carried away on a stretcher atter being hit by a missile.

Hundreds of angry Brighton fans ran on to the pitch after 16 minutes’ play to protest at the sale of the Go1dstone Ground and the Second Division club’s plan to groundshare with Portsmouth. Goalposts were pulled down and an attempt made to storm the players’ tunnel, with wooden stakes and corrugated plastic ripped up anti-thrown.

Police reinforcements arrived to restore order but by this time referee Ian Hemley had called the game off. Five fans were later charged with criminal damage.

FA media manager Steve Double said: ‘We had observers at the game and we view the matter extremely seriously.’

Much more sensationalist in the News of the World:

Rampaging fans turned Brighton into a war zone yesterday in sickening scenes that shamed soccer. The Goldstone Ground erupted into violence as thousands of fans stormed across the pitch – smashing both sets of goalposts and forcing the game against York to be abandoned after just 16 minutes.

Riot police battled to control the mob, and one injured fan was stretchered to hospital as advertising hoardings and metal billboards were hurled into the stands.

FA director of communications David Davies last night promised an immediate investigation.

He said: ‘Everybody who cares about football will condemn behaviour like this, whatever the reason. It is obviously unhelpful that this happened so near to Euro ’96.’

After swarming on to the pitch, fans charged up the players’ tunnel and attempted to smash into the dressing rooms.

The dug-out and tunnel were wrecked as fans screamed for the men who run Brighton – David Bellotti, Greg Stanley and Bill Archer – to quit.

Terrified parents rushed crying children to safety and one distraught fan, June Whiston, 45, sobbed: ‘I’ve been a fan since I was at school but now I’m ashamed.’

You can find video coverage of the abandoned match here:

The match was eventually replayed, surprisingly not behind closed doors. It took place on the morning of Thursday 9th May as an all-ticket match with tickets only available on the day before. A gate of 2,106 saw Albion lose 3-1.

Brighton also incurred a suspended three point deduction, two of which were docked after another pitch invasion, on Tuesday 1st October 1996, in the match against Lincoln.


Perimeter fencing goes up at the Goldstone

In the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report, it discusses the Harrington Report of 1968 into ‘hooliganism’:

1.40 Noting the tragedy at Burnden Park, the Report instructed ‘appropriate authorities’ to respond ‘before another disaster occurs’. John Harrington warned that perimeter fences ‘could be dangerous in the event of massive crowd disturbances as safety exits to the field would be blocked’. Gangways and tunnels servicing terraces created bottlenecks, rendering them ‘useless’ for evacuation in an emergency.

Ten years on from Harrington, Brighton faced Tottenham on 15th April 1978. As Tim Carder and Roger Harris’ history of the club ‘Seagulls!’ put it:

The all-ticket visit of Spurs was the most glamourous match of the season, but it brought the worst football-related violence the town had ever seen. Mobs from London invaded Brighton on the Friday night, and the ‘aggro’ continued at the Goldstone the following day with 51 arrests and 85 casualties, 20 ending up in hospital. Tottenham supporters, supposed to be confined to the East and North-East Terraces, infiltrated the North Stand in large numbers. The resultant fighting spilled onto the pitch and referee Alan Turvey was forced to take the teams off for fourteen minutes. There were five further minutes of interruption throughout the match…

Despite Harrington’s report, the Football Association ordered Brighton & Hove Albion to erect a perimeter fence around the Goldstone pitch the following season.

Although Albion supporters disliked being caged in, Littlehampton Welding were proud enough of the job they did to advertise themselves as the company behind it in the matchday programme during the 1979/80 season:


The death of Liverpool supporters in the FA Cup Semi-Final in 1989 led to the removal of the hated fencing at many clubs. However, as the Morning Star reported on 19th April 1989:

Before the Hillsborough disaster Brighton had taken down two thirds of their fences and they only remain in front of the North stand and part of the East Terrace where visit supporters are segregated.

Secretaty Steve Rooke said: “We are satisfied that in the event of a major incident supporters could escape in a matter of minutes through our large fences, which open both ways.”