Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Chair and board of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust would like to wish our members, affiliates, friends and all Chelsea supporters, wherever you may be, our best wishes and compliments of this festive season. However you choose to celebrate, we hope you enjoy every moment.

May your new year be healthy and  prosperous but, most of all, let it be BLUE!

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West Ham EFL Cup Game – Follow Up Meeting

Following on from our EFL Cup game against West Ham at the London Stadium, Amanda Jacks, Caseworker at the Football Supporters Federation facilitated a meeting between parties involved with game management; stadium operators LS185, Met Police Football Unit and British Transport Police plus representatives from the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and West Ham supporter organisations.

The meeting took place on 9 November 2016 and with the agreement of all present, the following notes have been drawn up by Amanda and address many of the issues and concerns raised by our supporters who attended the game.

We would like to thank Amanda for her involvement and work in getting all parties together, and we look forward to a safer and more enjoyable experience when we return for our Premier League game in March 2017 (assuming we aren’t drawn there in the FA Cup beforehand).

We would also like to thank the many Chelsea supporters who sent us  reports of their experiences at the London Stadium on 26 October 2016. Significantly, the reports were consistent in their accounts of the evening’s events and were used to form the basis of our complaints to the relevant authorities.

Amanda Jack’s notes:

“Following the recent West Ham Utd FC v Chelsea FC EFL Cup Game, I asked the Met Police if they would facilitate a meeting to discuss the fixture.  They agreed to this and together with the interim Chair of the newly reformed WHU Independent Supporter Association, two Board members of the Chelsea Supporters Trust, a representative of the WHU fansite Claret & Hugh and an individual WHU supporter invited by the clubs dedicated football officer, we all met on Wednesday, 9 November the earliest day after the game all parties were available.  Also in attendance were the Heads of Safety & Security and Commercial from LS185 the London Stadium operators, the clubs (very new) Supporter Services Manager and a Sergeant from BTPs Football Unit.

After introductions, I opened the meeting by stating the obvious; that all supporter representatives in no way condoned the behaviour of those whose actions were well publicised and that we were all there to raise genuine concerns raised by many of our members. The common themes in communications from both home and away supporters included policing and stewarding and whether or not it could have been more effective in reducing anti-social behaviour and possible criminality.  The concerns were balanced by a recognition that individuals must take responsibility for their own behaviour but equally the legitimate question was asked – could more effective policing and stewarding and overall match day operation reduced the likelihood of disorder and anti social behaviour.  A candid discussion by all parties followed.

Broadly speaking the Met Police were happy with their operation but acknowledged, as did LS185 that the stadium and the vast surrounding areas present unique challenges. The design of the London Stadium does not afford natural segregation meaning there is freedom of movement inside that is relatively unusual.  Unfortunately, while the vast majority of fans stayed in their designated seats a small number took advantage of the freedom and came together for no other reason than to take advantage of closer proximity to the away fans.

Supporters around the table said that they’d observed behaviour in the first half of the game (goading, gestures etc) and questioned why those responsible weren’t spoken to or even ejected at half time which is more or less common practice elsewhere.  Many of those who’d contacted their respective fans reps had said they’d also witnessed stewards not taking swift action to deal with ASB.  There was a admission from LS185 that in some instances the stewarding was not as proactive as it could have been and this is being addressed. Fans could expect to see more stewards in the future although it was suggested it wasn’t the number of stewards that mattered, it was their quality and competence that was important.  This wasn’t disagreed with by LS185 but the reality is there isn’t a limitless pool of stewards to recruit from. 

LS185 said it should also be taken into account that they have a duty of care towards stewards and they will not send stewards in to remove supporters whilst the game was ongoing to prevent them (stewards) becoming a target and consideration also needs to be given as to whether or not intervention could cause an escalation of behaviour.  

Externally, numerous supporters raised concerns as to the lack of sufficient signage a lighting.  While this was acknowledged as being an issue, the reality is given the land around the stadium straddles three different Boroughs and with many organisations (such as Thames Water) having lawful access and rights over the land, identifying one party responsible practically and financially for the provisions isn’t easy.   This is frustrating to say the least and I committed to write to the Mayor of London to ask him if he can assist in cutting through “red tape” and work towards ensuring facilities that assist towards health, safety and security are provided. 

One specific issue raised by the Chelsea Supporters Trust was to ask about a number of their supporters who had been escorted from Highbury & Islington to Hackney Wick station and thereafter the stadium by the police.  Some had been issued with dispersal notices whereas others had been allowed access into the stadium but not in time for the first half of the game. 

The Met went into some detail about this aspect of their operation and explained that the group were all known to them, that they were ‘risk’ supporters and the intention was to ensure they did not cause disorder before, during or after the game.  CST explained that while this may well have been the case, within the group were fans caught up in this operation who had no intentions of doing anything other than supporting their team and were targeted unfairly.

With regard to the holdbacks that fans from both sides were subjected to pre and post match, these were imposed by the police as part of the ‘risk’ group/fan management and it was acknowledged by the police that their communication (with loudhailers, perhaps) to those innocent fans caught up could have been better and that they resolved to improve this for future such incidents, where appropriate.

The Met acknowledged that sometimes innocent fans may well be inadvertently caught up in such escorts and were sorry if that was the case on this occasion.  However, they explained that the officers managing the escort are able to exercise discretion and will always make a case by case decision if fans ask them if they can make their own way free from an escort.  Equally, the police will proactively pick fans out of the escort if they’re not known to them – for example pensioners or those with young children with them – and let them leave of their own accord.

The meeting drew to a close after a discussion lasting over two hours.  All questions and points raised by supporter representatives were addressed with total transparency and there was no shying away from difficult subjects.    Ultimately, the stadium operators have to work with the stadium as it stands and likewise the police have a vast area to manage externally.   Each game presents different challenges and while there may have been healthy debate on some aspects and some questions raised more issues than answers, we were all broadly reassured that while solutions may not be immediately found, both LS185 and the Met are in no doubt as to fans legitimate concerns and are working hard to address those, so as far as is reasonably possible the ‘match day experience’ for all is a positive and safe one.”

 

Next Fans’ Forum meeting on 7 December 2016

The next Fans’ Forum meeting to be held with Chelsea FC is set to take place on Wednesday 7 December 2016.

The main topic of discussion is scheduled to be about ticketing. However, we are also due to be joined at the meeting  by senior representatives from Hammersmith &Fulham Police and the  Central Football Unit. 

If you have any questions or comments for the police or on ticketing please submit them to us by Friday 25th November to ensure that your issue can be raised. (For your information, the police can’t discuss the West Ham away match in detail.)

Please send your questions and issues to us at [email protected] or direct to our Fans’ Forum rep Debs Coady at [email protected]

Fixture scheduling meeting with Sky

On Wednesday 2 November a number of top-flight fan representatives met with members of the team at Sky Sports who work across football coverage and fixture scheduling. It is hoped that this is the first of many meetings between match-going fans and broadcasters. The full statement can be found on the Football Supporters’ Federation site here. 
 
Our co-opted representative Tim Rolls attended the meeting and provided the following update:
 

Members surveys by Premier League supporters organisations including Chelsea Supporters Trust have clearly shown that rearranged kick-off times at the demand of Sky or BT Sport are a significant frustration for match-going supporters, particularly but not exclusively travelling ones.  The impact on cost, work arrangements and family life of these rearrangements should not be under-estimated.

The recent meeting I attended with Sky, following on from a meeting of supporters representatives with the Premier League in July where the matter was discussed, was a necessary step in heightening stakeholder awareness of the impact of rearranged fixtures on match-going supporters.  It is, however, by no means the end of the process.  Further stakeholder dialogue needs to take place, involving PL, Sky, BT Sport and supporters representatives sitting round the same table.  Only by doing this is there a chance that supporters needs are effectively taken into account when PL fixtures are rescheduled.

We would like to thank Tim for his ongoing work in this area, along with other Premier League Trust representatives. This is an important and frustrating issue for many of our members. Thanks also to the FSF for facilitating the meeting as we look forward to some positive progress.

West Ham Away Follow Up Statement

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West Ham Away – Follow Up Statement

We met with senior club representatives last night to share our membership’s views and experiences from before, during and after the West Ham game.

We believe that the Club did everything within their power prior to the game to mitigate the issues that arose during the evening, but it should be noted that as the away side they were limited in terms of what they could realistically do to manage the situation.

Thank you for your feedback which culminated in a report to the club which they have taken on board and will consider going forward.

We will also be sharing that same information with West Ham and the Met Police.

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust Statement – West Ham United v Chelsea 26th October 2016

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust note with disappointment the events surrounding the West Ham United v Chelsea EFL Cup tie on the evening of Wednesday 26th October 2016.

Clearly we would not wish to condone the behaviour of a minority of fans involved in unsavoury incidents.

Many Chelsea supporters, including young children, were subjected to coins and other missiles being thrown at them during the game and an intimidating and confusing walk back to various public transport hubs after the game.

In addition, procedures for the stewarding and segregation of opposing fans within the stadium appeared to be less than adequate, particularly given the nature and history of this fixture.

Issues of this nature were reasonably foreseeable given the number of well documented problems with stewarding, policing and the segregation of opposing supporters at the ‘London Stadium’ since West Ham took residency and it is clear that in failing to address this, those responsible for crowd management and safety continue to fail in providing a safe environment for football supporters.

We are currently collating an evidence based report from supporters caught up in any pre and post-match and segregation related incidents.  We will be meeting with representatives from Chelsea FC together with the Chelsea Supporters Group, and we will also meet with the Football Supporters Federation and the Metropolitan Police to determine how these issues might be resolved going forward.

In the meantime if you were at the game and wish to share your experiences with us, good or bad, then please email: [email protected] and we will include them in our report.

A PDF copy of the above statement can be downloaded here.

Chelsea Supporters Trust SGM 23/10/2016 with Kerry Dixon Q&A

 

After the wonderful win against Man Utd the Chelsea Supporters Trust held their first Special General Meeting of the season to discuss the new Board; the new Working Groups and to reveal the key points in the results of the annual Members Survey.

sgm-7-mediumAfter all that we wrapped up proceedings with a Q&A session with much loved Chelsea legend Kerry Dixon.

The agenda for the meeting was as follows:

Chelsea Supporters Trust – Special General Meeting

Sunday 23rd October 2016 at 18.30

Atlas Pub 16 Seagrave Road London SW6 1RX

Agenda
1. Introduction (David Chidgey) (5 mins)

2. Working Groups Report (25 mins):

• Atmosphere (Richard Weekes)
• Supporter Issues (Cliff Auger)
• Stamford Bridge Redevelopment (David Johnstone)
• Affiliations (Cliff Auger)
• Community (Cliff Auger)

3. Membership Survey (Celia Mindelsohn) (20 mins)

4. Questions (10 mins)

5. Any Other Business

6. Kerry Dixon Q&A and Book signing (45 mins)

A special guest for our Special General Meeting

Our next Special General Meeting (SGM) will take place on Sunday 23 October 2016, 6.30pm upstairs at The Atlas PH, 16 Seagrave Rd, London SW6 1RX, immediately following our home game against Manchester United.

We plan to kick off proceedings promptly at 6.30pm and to conclude official business by approximately 7.30pm. At the meeting we aim to bring news of recent Trust activities, including our latest membership survey results. An agenda should be available nearer the time.

The meeting will be recorded and posted as a podcast shortly afterwards by the Chelsea Football Fancast, and we are also hoping to broadcast the event live, technology permitting!

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We are also extremely delighted to announce that Chelsea legend Kerry Dixon will be joining us for the meeting, and for an hour or so afterwards to chat about his exploits and to sign a few copies of his new book Up Front, available to buy on the night.

Please come along and find out what’s happening with the issues that matter to you. And to meet Kerry of course!

This is a Chelsea Supporters Trust members only event. You can sign up on the door, or join us through our web site here.

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The continued search for Chelsea FC’s heritage

Our firmly established Brompton clean up group reconvened on 8 October 2016 during another international break.  The intrepid gardeners gathered at the Fulham Road gates of Brompton Cemetery and did the rounds of the final resting places of Messrs Janes, Kirby, Maltby and Mears, tidying up around the plots and leaving them clear and accessible for visitors and fans of Chelsea FC interested in learning about our heritage.

But before leaving Brompton Cemetery we headed to an area near to the main entrance where we found the unmarked common grave of former Chelsea player Jack Whitley, Here we worked on marking the plot for further work to be carried out at a future date.
Jack was very loyal to the club, he first played as a goalkeeper in 1907 then worked as a trainer, dedicating over 30 years to Chelsea FC. Jack specifically requested to be buried near his beloved Stamford Bridge when he died in 1955.

Satisfied our work was done at Brompton, three of us headed off to a small village church in Hampshire, invited to tend to the grave of Chelsea ‘godfather’ Frederick Parker, the man who came up with the initial idea to create Chelsea Football Club.

A satisfactory days work, an ongoing project to keep our heritage alive so that fans present and future can learn about our club’s roots.

Our grateful thanks to gardening stalwarts Steve, Adrian and Debs, Cliff for his dedication to the project and Rick Glanvill for the research and the inspiration.

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West Ham v Chelsea in the EFL Cup

Update: Ticket details have now been announced, Chelsea supporters have been given an allocation on 5182 tickets.  Details can be found on the club’s news statement here.

Following our victory at Leicester, Chelsea were drawn to play away at West Ham’s Olympic Stadium in the 4th round of the EFL Cup, on Wednesday 26 October 2016.

The CST is pleased to note that Chelsea FC have requested the full 10% allocation (5.7k), in line with competition rules.

This will be the first game at the Olympic Stadium involving two big rival teams and the management of large groups of rival fans will be under heavy scrutiny as a result of issues during the visits of other teams. The Metropolitan Police Football Unit along with Amanda Jacks  FSF Caseworker invited supporter reps of both clubs to police headquarters to discuss their event management and control.

The match day commander was keen for supporters of both teams to disseminate messages from the meeting to our respective fans. The following was written with the assistance of Amanda Jacks.

Main points raised:

  • The game has been designated as Category C, which is high (but not the highest) risk.
  • The police are aware that “old firm” Chelsea and West Ham fans may be in attendance. Amanda Jacks suggested they may well be but this doesn’t automatically mean they are out to cause or involve themselves in disorder which was agreed with.
  • The police actively want fans of both sides to mix freely and enjoy the match but they are also planning to identify an anticipated very small number of “troublesome individuals” and will deal with them appropriately.
  • Those attending with ideas other than supporting their teams need to understand the extent of CCTV coverage in and around the ground and that even if arrests are not made on the night, the police will work with the clubs to identify and arrest individuals.
  • The police will be monitoring potential flashpoint areas such as Liverpool Street, where fans of both sides might converge.
  • The police have a number of options at their disposal, but only should the need arise, including S35 dispersal powers and S60 stop and search powers.
  • The police will have a proportionate number of officers deployed on the operation plus support units.  It has yet to be decided what their dress code will be.
  • It is now common practice in London that police are not deployed inside football stadiums and this will be the case for this fixture.
  • However, police can and will enter the stadium if required and they will be deployed outside the ground and it’s vicinity before, during and after the match.
  • There will be barriers in place outside the stadium to assist with segregation.
  • It should be stressed that while it is fully understood the dynamic has changed due to WHU’s new stadium as far as the Met Police are concerned it’s just another game between two teams that have met on many occasions.
  • However, there will be more police on duty compared to a fixture at the Boleyn but this is simply because the ground and the surrounding area is larger.

Information for Chelsea fans:

  • Tickets will be sent out with a map of the stadium & surrounding areas. Allow at least 20 minutes to walk from Stratford Station to the Stadium. You may wish to take this map with you on the night. Do not rely on being able to take short cuts through the Westfield centre!
  • There are no designated away pubs in Stratford, and police advise that Liverpool Street and King’s Cross offer a good option for pre-match drinking, both with quick, direct transport links to Stratford.
  • Fans are advised to arrive early; the ground opens 2 hours before kick off, with food and alcohol on sale. All bottled drinks will be decanted into plastic cups.
  • Supporters with mobility issues can contact West Ham to arrange transport between Stratford Station and the Olympic Stadium. Details on pages 6 & 7 of the Away Fans Guide.
  • There will be 100% bag searches for both home and away fans plus eight turnstiles will be in use for away fans, so extra time should be allowed.
  • There are no plans for police to be deployed on segregation lines inside the stadium, SIA trained stewards will be in that role. If there is a reduction in our allocation it may be used to widen the segregation line, possibly up to 13 seats.
  • As with any policed match, holding away fans back at the final whistle is always part of a contingency plan but any decision in this regard will be made on the night of the game. As a tactic, it is very much one of last resort.
  • After the game egress will be managed by club stewards and police will be on hand at the stations.
West Ham seating plan
West Ham seating plan