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Steff's Letter to Forest

By: Steff Keightley
Date: 25/02/2001

Paul White
Club Secretary
Nottingham Forest Football Club
The City Ground
Nottingham
NG2 5FJ

Dear Paul,

I am sorry that I have to write this letter, but after the heavy-handed treatment and double standards of your Stewards on Saturday during the game, I feel I must.

Firstly, there was an incident where a Grimsby fans was making obscene gestures to your fans, a Steward ASKED him to desist, to which the fans said yes apologised and stopped. Very well handled and a situation was avoided.

That I am afraid is the end of the good points.

To begin with, we were told we were not allowed to move from our seats, when there was plenty of space elsewhere. The reason for this, we found out from one of your stewards, is the fact that your club made a mistake during the week for the Sheffield Wednesday game, when you only expected 1500 fans and 3000 turned up. So did you decide to treat the Grimsby fans in such a disgusting and in humane fashion as to clear your guilt?

Next, during half time at least 2 coins were thrown at us from the Upper Bridgeford, 1 hitting a couple behind us and another narrowly missing my Partner and her 5 year old son.

I brought this to the attention of 1 of your stewards, who said that it might just have rolled down the steps, until another steward told him that he had seen the coins land and pointed out the general direction of the thrower.

I then asked for a supervisor or a Police officer to attend this situation, but was told there was none available.

Then during the 2nd half an episode happened, just after Forest equalised. A steward, according to eyewitness accounts, struck a 12 year-old boy, who he had also been intimidating for nearly an hour, whether by accident or not is not the question, but the boys older brother, demanded an apology, which should have been given immediately.

The young man then allegedly swore at the Steward. Put yourself in his situation before you reply with 'He should never have sworn'. How would you feel if it was your brother, son, daughter or wife? Admittedly I would have reacted the same. I would not have been happy at all and, I believe neither would you!

What happened next was disgusting. Security guards manhandled this young man using severe arm locks, which brought tears to his eye, and he was quite obviously in pain. These 'security' people were obviously exceeding the law of 'the use of minimum force', for which they can be brought to justice for.

Also during this 'incident', I could clearly see fans in your Main, Clough and Upper Bridgeford stands gesticulating obscene gestures towards us. There were Stewards sat right near these fans, but did they do anything? NO! Not a thing was done, but your stewards jump in on the away fans don't they!

Another case of double standards for away fans, being treated like second class citizens.

Would it not be a better idea to try to let some of these situations ride? As in the majority of occasions a mob handed approach, as on Saturday, only antagonises the situation fuelling further aggression. You do for your home fans!

Also another question for you. Why are there no concessions for away fans? I know there was the one for Kids accompanying an adult for a £1, but that is a one off, I am talking about Student rates and Unemployed rates. I know other clubs do not do it, but why not take the lead?

I have already reported on this incident for 'The Fishy', the story can be read at:

http://www.thefishy.co.uk/story.php?sid=909&p=2&stid=8076285

A copy of which is enclosed.

I look forward to hearing your reply.

I am also sending a similar letter to other clubs to find out their views on this sort of arrangement.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this, I only hope it could have been on better terms.

Stefan Keightley

Ed - Stefan's address and phone numbers have been removed, but are available on request.


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