Blues fans deserve answers after QPR game

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    Another away day sell out, fourth in a row to be exact for the travelling Blues fans. The last time such good support was present by the Birmingham City faithful in the Capital was against Fulham in November, however this fixture was one to forget, not just because of the result.

    3,228 away fans is a lot for any club in this Championship, however not all of them got into the gates before kick off. In fact, some even described it as ‘another Hillsborough disaster waiting to happen’. You may have read from reports that a couple of ‘drunk Blues fans’ were to blame for hundreds of fans not being able to gain entry into the stand on a narrow side street.



    It is understood from witnesses in the ground that two fans had a scrap close to the turnstiles so they (QPR stewards) stopped all away access into the ground. This is what caused Blues fans to be cramped and even trampled on, according to a number of eye witnesses present.

    That news was overshadowed by the ‘Blues hooligans’ that were throwing missiles (coins) at the QPR fans in the adjacent stand. Not only that but the day was summed up by a QPR fan confronting the Blues end with a Blues fan feeling it was best to leave him on his arse (below).

    https://youtu.be/CSYmeRTWl-k

    We are not saying that was acceptable behaviour and it shouldn’t be addressed, but what should also be addressed is the dangerous organisation and events that took place outside the ground before kick off. Many fans were left in shock after with one report saying a crying child had to be lifted over shoulders to avoid the mess.




    The Football League, police and no doubt both clubs will be looking into what happened, but how much is to be investigated about the events that took place outside Loftus Road remains to be seen. If they are true, questions need to be asked. You can read the Met police statement here, although there is no mention of what happened outside the away stand.

    There is an away fans survey provided by The Football Supporters Federation (FSF) to see how away fans are treated, filling this form out could allow them to help Blues fans get answers.

    As part of Blues Collective we will be more than welcome to put forward any issues or points that you would like to raise – you can contact us directly at bcfcfollowers@hotmail.co.uk. We hope the Collective directly raise any concerns, along with Blues Trust who have already said they will be looking into it:


    You can read into more detail about what happened on Saturday here, as told by Johnny Borell who was at the game.

    To contact QPR directly to complain please email their Supporter Liaision Officer Andy Rees at andyr@qpr.co.uk

    To make a complaint about the Metropolitan Police please follow this link https://secure.met.police.uk/complaints/

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    5 COMMENTS

    1. I was at QPR with my 6 year old son and I saw enough to convince me not to return next season despite being based in the SE. We arrived at the upper tier entrance at about 2.45, which is a bit later than ideal but didn’t seem that unreasonable based on all other away days. There was a caged holding pen about 6 meters wide by 20 metres long outside the gate, which was essentially at an opening to a narrow alley between houses. The small number of turnstiles were at the end of the alley. Essentially the system was a crude funnel with chain link fence, walls and metal gates – not the type of design where you want a surge placing huge pressure on relativly few at the front. The holding pen was empty except for literally one or two blues fans and a dozen or so stewards, who were preventing access to the pen to a growing crowd of hundreds. Police were nearby in the road, watching but not really getting involved. At first I thought that the stewards were just thoroughly searching people or checking tickets but then it seemed like virtually nobody was being allowed in, without any announcements or obvious reason. The crowd had grown significantly and I had to lift my boy over my head as the pressure increased from the back and people became understandably frustrated and vociferous but certainly not violent as far as I could see. To the great credit of those around me they saw me struggling with my lad and they pushed and shoved people to slowly but surely squeeze us forward and alerted stewards who allowed us to escape the crush and enter the pen. We then queued in the pen for a few minutes with about ten other blues fans, waiting to go through narrow gate into alley where a couple of searches were being conducted at a time before being allowed to enter the queue-free turnstiles. I guess I was there just before the reported singing, batoning, surging, gate kicking etc as I got into the ground at about 3.10. I didn’t see anything unusual from the crowd outside, in terms of particularly bad behaviour, to warrant the hold up. It seemed that the system and infrastructure are simply not good enough to allow access to 1,800 people over the course of 30mins, let alone the likely 1,000 that turned up with 15 mins or less to spare. The concourse inside was also massively over its capacity at half time. Overall, it wasn’t a good experience. Completely avoidable tension and potential flashpoints were created. Yes I know people shouldn’t behave and react the way they often do but, if you’re controlling a football crowd, you should consider and allow for the fact that alcohol will be a factor. Was I scared for my life? No but I feared the possibility that the situation could easily escalate. Was my boy upset? Yes but he quickly got over it. Am I glad I wasn’t there with my 6yo when the inevitable dangerous surge and violence (either fans, police or stewards) occurred. Absolutely.

      • I was there as well. There were certainly a large element of fan misbehaviour with deliberate pushing causing crushing at the front. The stewards were well out of their element. Then the police turned up on horseback and running up the street with batons in hand causing more problems in the building crowd. I accuse the QPR organisation of being more concerned with crowd control rather than crowd safety. Their access control directly creating a larger backlog, a deliberate bottleneck and annoyance amongst paying customers as well as danger to younger or less able supporters.

    2. There are multiple issues here but let’s not conflate undeniably unforgivable bad behaviour on the part of some fans with real issues for majority of fans around ingress design, layout, plans, processes, the interactions between stewards/police and management of change in a common-or-garden football crowd scenario. Yes there are interfaces between the two things but the former does not negate responsibility for the latter. Please do not be distracted by the false dichotomy.
      I think the two-tone statement from the club acknowledges this important nuance. It is right that the club both helps to weed out criminal elements AND represents the genuine interests of the average match-goers. Well done Blues. Special thanks BCFCs Dave Boston for his support and Amanda at FSF – both are interested in considered observations from anyone else present, who will all have experienced events slightly differently. Please contact them if you have something reasonable to add.
      Treating all fans as if they are the same as the small but significant and culpable criminal minority is complete folly. As a society, we readily fight against this kind of bigotry and abuse when waged against other, more popular sub-sections of our community. I fear that the kind of regressive crowd control tactics employed at QPR can only end up perpetuating the myriad mistakes of the past. Most other clubs seem to deal with this kind of challenge in a much more effective way. I hope QPR can be persuaded to learn from the great strides being made elsewhere and to treat average away fans as visitors and not intruders. We don’t need to be pampered, just treated with a modicum of respect and I truly believe that those managing the crowds may be pleasantly surprised by the impact. I don’t merely base this on guesswork but on many years of observation of cause and effect around the country with the same set of fans.
      Just to be clear this does not absolve any Blues fans of responsibility for any criminal activity, which has been well publicized and rightly condemned loudly and for as long as I can remember. This is a chronic problem but right now I think we also need to shine a light on the other, equally serious, acute problems encountered at Loftus Rd on Saturday.

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