Furious Bristol Rovers call for probe into policing at Vale Park

Bristol Rovers chairman Steve Hamer has asked Port Vale FC and Staffordshire Police to provide reports on incidents in the away stand on Saturday.

According to media reports in the West Country supporters complained of overcrowding in the Signal One away stand.

Video posted on YouTube. Please note: strong language

According to reports:

  • One steward was videoed throwing punches.
  • Staffordshire Police used pepper spray.
  • A supporter with Multiple Sclerosis was knocked to the ground.
  • Two fans were taken to hospital where one was treated for minor head injuries and another for crushed ribs.
  • One supporter was arrested for disorder and another for a racially aggravated offence. One steward was also arrested. Eight people are believed to have been ejected from the ground.

The reports also say that:

  • Bristol Rovers safety officer has contacted Port Vale to try and ascertain what happened.
  • The Bristol Rovers chairman is asking for reports from both Port Vale and the police.
  • Staffordshire Police say they will issue a statement on Monday.
  • According to media, Port Vale have yet to comment on the incident.

Bristol Rovers chairman Steve Hamer told the BBC: “You don’t go on a Saturday to watch a game of football and support your team and end up being pushed to the floor and punched and pepper sprayed – it’s something you never want to hear. We’ll do our damnedest to make sure it never happens again.”

Vale and the Police… not a harmonious relationship

Port Vale have long had a fractious relationship with Staffordshire Police. The Football Supporters Federation received over fifty letters from Vale fans complaining about heavy-handed policing during a home game with Wolves in 2013. Chairman Norman Smurthwaite blasted the police as “embarrassing” when the club’s home game against Doncaster Rovers was labelled as “high risk”

The club also claim that Police have pressed the club into changing parking arrangements, switching the Vale Park pub into an away fan bar and constructing an expensive fence.