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"Double Standards" Part 2
By: Steff Keightley
Having written the letter to Paul White, I still had no reply from the club by Thursday. So I called Forest and left a message on his voice mail.
At 18:15 on Thursday I received a call from Eddie Curtis, the Grounds Safety Officer.
Curtis made his apologies for not getting back to me sooner as he had had family difficulties, and only just got back to work.
Curtis asked me what the problems were, to which I said, have you seen the letter - yes, he replied, he had also seen it on the Forest Rivals site. But said that the club had to wait for a traditional form of conveyance before they would answer any form of query, so I went through all that I had previously stated in the letter.
He then proceeded to inform me that Forest do not have double standards at their club, they attempt to treat away fans the same as home fans. I find this hard to believe as he didn't know that Forest have concessions for Children (Under 16), OAP's (over 60) and Students (on production of NUS Card) for home fans but not for away fans. He did say though that he would check up on this, but I believe the answer for this should come from Paul White, the Forest club secretary, not the Ground Safety Officer.
He did make several pertinent points regarding the Game, i.e.:
- There is always an antagonistic element in any crowd, home or away, which allegedly reared its head at the game.
- Fans tend to complain more about Stewards if their team loses than if it wins.
- This is not the first time that trouble has occurred whilst Town have played Forest.
Another thing that Curtis brought up was the fact that there were several elements in the crowd who were there to goad and entice the stewards into retaliation.
One such alleged incidence was the abuse of the female steward, with red hair, who has alleged that the crowd were being rude and abusive to her, now IF they were then they should be dealt with in the strongest possible way.
Another alleged incident was a fan asking a Steward for a cigarette, but on being told that he didn't smoke was called a few choice words. Later in the match the same fan allegedly ran towards the steward, who raised his arm to protect himself, shouting 'Give us a fag you Prat'.
OK fair enough, the Stewards have a thankless task, apart from the man in the middle, they must come a close second to being the most hated person in the ground! It's something which I would not do for love nor money, but my hat goes off to these people, well the ones who try to help and are sensible.
Regarding the coin throwing, all Curtis could say was that, the people who do this sit with the coin between their legs and flick it over the parapet, so evading capture.
The next point I broached was the amount of force that the two security guards were using on the 15 year-old, which I again reiterated the 'rule of minimum force' to which he replied. 'I have spoken to the security guards and they said that this young man was quiet strong...' Now I saw the size of these security guards, they were pretty big blokes, one of these men would have been more than enough to subdue a 15 year-old.
Finally the way the stewards reacted when their fans were gesturing to us, he said that the stewards are taught to ask people not to do this. I clearly saw, on 3 separate occasions, nothing being done.
After listening to his side of the story, yes there are some points that he came up with, but I feel, personally, that he tried to deflect away from the issue that some of his stewards are clearly, intimidated by fans, or not up to the job. I am not saying all stewards are poor, but there are some, maybe not many, who feel intimidated or are there to see a free game.
There was a discussion regarding the incident, but due to the ongoing Police investigation I feel it is not appropriate to comment on the conversation at the moment.
Readers may also be interested to read the Forest Site's reply to Steff's letter.
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