Action needed over football ‘hooliganism’
Thursday, 13 April 2017
BALLYMENA'S traders are to join forces with the police and Mid and East Antrim council to draw up plans to combat football hooliganism which is damaging town centre business on 'local derby' match days.
The issue was discussed at last week's monthly council meeting when councillors discussed a report on disturbances on the day of a recent match.
It led to Ulster Unionist councillor Stephen Nicholl labelling some so-called supporters who travel to Ballymena to cause disruption as "hooligans."
Speaking at the council meeting, councillor Nicholl said that such people were "not real football fans" and he hoped the PSNI would keep a closer eye on "hooligans who travel from Coleraine to Ballymena."
His comments followed a report presented to councillors relating to incidents arising out of the Ballymena United versus Coleraine football match on Saturday, March 4.
While the vast majority of fans from both sides behaved impeccably, members were informed that over recent years isolated incidents of trouble had flared at the derby games.
On the run up to the match on March 4, the chairmen of both clubs issued a joint video message encouraging both the Ballymena and Coleraine fans to behave appropriately before, during and after the match.
Coleraine fans arriving at the train station on the Saturday afternoon appeared to arrive early and subsequently made their way to the Showgrounds through the town centre.
The PSNI report indicated that along Broughshane Street, a number of the Coleraine fans appeared to get into an altercation with United supporters.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.
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