You’ve probably all heard different sensationalist reports after what happened at Aggborough yesterday so I thought I’d clear things up.
County had brought around 2000 fans to Kidderminster, a few hundred got locked outside, according to our figures (numbers through the away turnstiles) we had just over 1,800 but Kidderminster had that figure around 400 less to justify their lack of policing and stewards - costs more for over 1,500.
Now, there was us and around 1,600 other County fans in an away terrace where there were no problems at all. Then there was their grandstand which County were allocated around a third of, the rest of our support was here. Most of them were sat down but a group of around 80 surged forward and stood. They also kicked the advertising boards right up to pitchside and the stewards just retreated, they went so far back they were almost on the pitch - this is before the game had even kicked off.
There was no real trouble in the first half beside a few idiots standing on an advertising board, or putting their leg over which seemed solely to provoke the stewards in an attempt to look cool. Even then it felt like nothing was going to happen.
Then the second half kicked off. Tensions were riding high as results were going our way - we just needed to beat Kidderminster. We probably just shaded the first half, but that’s because they didn’t really turn up. I don’t know if it was nerves but they were not right and we could have capitalized on this but, in all honesty, we never looked like scoring. They came out all fired up and 6 minutes into the second half they scored, then it happened…
A group of about 20 ‘supporters’ - I use the term very loosely because these really weren’t - started kicking these boards onto the pitch, the stewards did absolutely nothing until the game had restarted then they started kicking them back. Not actually picking them up but kicking advertising boards at a group of hooligans.
This is where the trouble started. County won a throw in right in front of these thugs, as Alex Kenyon came over to take it one of them came on the pitch - which the stewards did absolutely nothing to stop. He came on, put his arm around Kenyon and started to berate the midfielder. At this point a few more spilled onto the pitch, Kidderminster and Stockport players tried to restore order when punches started flying and Lee Vaughan of the Harriers got hit on the back of the head.
The ref blew up, brought all the players away whilst some idiots remained on the pitch, at this point all the stewards in the ground came over. All 10 of them. TEN STEWARDS. Over 6,000 fans and just 10 stewards. It was absolute chaos. The fans then got back into the stand and were just shouting at the stewards. Every few minutes another one would run onto the pitch to for no apparent reason, which yet again, the stewards just allowed. One fan from from the terrace walked on and was going up to the home terrace, our youth team coach had to intercept him.
The whole fracas was a shambles, and pretty much all Kidderminster fans have accepted that this was due to stadium mismanagement. Half an hour later, Police finally arrived. I have NEVER been to ANY football match where there wasn’t a police presence already in or around the ground. I always assumed it was mandatory, that a club was legally required to have an event like this policed. Once the police formed a line infront of the trouble makers, absolutely nothing happened. I think one arrest was made and that’s it.
Now, just a few points to put across for afters. First of all, this was a minority. probably less than 1% of County fans who were present actually caused any trouble. Secondly, I have no bad blood with Kidderminster but to risk the safety of everyone inside that stadium just to save money is an absolute joke and IF they end up in the Football League(which I hope they do, they were so close to winning the title, those players and Steve Burr really do deserve it) this really needs to be looked at. Finally, whilst this was going on the packed terrace full of Hatters supporters were booing and scalding the morons. These do not represent our football club and they actually ruined the whole day. The delay meant that by the time the match had restarted from suspension, our fate had already been sealed. The players had dropped, and it was the worst atmosphere ever. Due to the chaos, the team went straight off and didn’t even come and applaud the real fans which was so disappointing.
One glimmer of hope was being applauded by Kidderminster fans and their warmth and genuine commiserations as we sang our hearts out, particularly chants like “Sit down, Shut up” after the PA asked the neanderthals to remain seated and “We’re only here for the football” during the skirmish.