Date:Friday March 30 2007
The Andorra vs England Euro 2008 qualifier has created headlines for days with the media attacks on the tactics, players and Steve McClaren. One other point raised has been the re-emergence of numerous football 'offenders', who seem to have highlighted the match as a re-union.
FA officials recognised many known troublemakers, as fears of football related violence and hooliganism re-surfaced. It was noted that many of those present, had served their banning orders and were now free to travel.
Letters were sent to all those fans with current banning orders advising them not to attampt travelling. The letters were sent to fans in England and Wales, of which the Cardiff City representative is worryingly high.
Cardiff City had the third highest number of banned fans, with 109 (behind Leeds and Portsmouth, 115 and 110 respectively). Whilst this number is based on orders served since the introduction in 2000, many Cardiff City fans remain banned.
Times have changed considerably in recent years, with a vast improvement in fan behaviour. In fact, it has been noticable that the behaviour of rival fans e.g. Wolves and Birmingham has caused more concern.
Despite this, Cardiff City fans were given a blanket ban at Molineux, as their reputation continues to haunt them, several minor incidents have occurred as they struggle to shed the image and it appears some of the idiots remain. The Cardiff / Spurs FA Cup clash involved a flare and minor scuffle.
The number of banning orders attributed to Cardiff City is worryingly high, especially given the modest average gates received by the club (around 14000). It is testament to Sam Hammam, Peter Ridsdale and the dedicated work of supporter's groups (like the Valley RAMS) that times are changing for the better for Cardiff City. Incidents are minor and sparse, while any involvement in trouble at England matches will not be due to Cardiff City fans.
Public perception is changing, but there is a long way still to go.
Date:Friday March 30 2007
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