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Great Coates to be "Hooligans' Wembley"?

By: Juan Neill
Date: 01/04/2002

The Fishy has obtained a confidential FA report that has raised the possibility of the new Great Coates stadium staging some England matches.

However, the downside is that these games would be of a specific type - those likely to have a hooligan element.

The report, commissioned by the FA from sports consultants Faporillo to suggest alternatives to Wembley for England home games, earmarks the planned new Grimsby Town stadium as having "significant advantages" in matters of "player security" and "abnormal crowd situations". The report suggests that "the proximity of Humberside Airport and ferry sailings to Kingston-upon-Hull could facilitate the ingress and egress in controlled conditions of potentially troublesome foreign supporters". In other words, foreign thugs can be escorted from and to ferries in Hull and specially-chartered planes more easily. It also means that there is a significant possibility of the same "potentially troublesome foreign supporters" being "troublesome" in Grimsby town centre.

The report also suggests that - despite the fact that the new stadium will be located close to the A180 and therefore easily accessible via the motorway network - the location may "discourage disruptive elements of the home support from travelling to matches due to the disadvantageous location". Basically, Dr. Vlad Beckvoor, the report's main author appears to think that Grimsby is some remote and inaccessible part of the country, and no-one will turn up to watch.

The news, however, is not all bad. Despite the prospect of being home to the undesirables of two nations' supporters, it does mean that there would be significant financial input from the FA to construct the new stadium. The report says that "in order to fulfil the requirements of international visitors" it will be necessary to "expand the current stadium design to include high quality training facilities and luxury accommodation". The training facilities would obviously be used by GTFC at other times, and there may be a financial return for the Mariners from the use of the accommodation when not is use by foreign players. The FA's plans would also put GTFC at a distinct advantage at any future inquiry or government decision over the giving the Great Coates stadium the go-ahead. The report also proposes that a court and detention centre should be built in close proximity to the stadium to provide 'fast track' justice for any detained during crowd disturbances.

We have approached the FA about the report's revelations but they have declined to comment.

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