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An insight into our Inbox

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

As an insight into the types of queries and complaints we receive we thought it’d be useful to share some of the contents of our Monday morning inbox – following a full weekend’s fixtures there’s always some interesting emails. Many of the issues are being investigated by the FSF as we speak, so it wouldn’t be right to name the clubs involved (yet), but we do hope it gives you a taste of the sort of things that we can help supporters with.

If you have a problem contact the FSF here.

There were a number of complaints from one set of travelling supporters who thought fellow fans had been unfairly slung out of a Premier League stadium. At the same game another pair of supporters claimed their seats were taken upon arriving. When they informed stewards they were told there was nothing that could be done, so they found some seats elsewhere only to be thrown out of the ground for sitting in “media seats”, despite having valid tickets.

Another supporter got in touch to say he’d been banned by his club after police arrested him for a Section 5 public order offence. The offence relates to the use of words or behaviour – swearing or sticking your fingers up, basically – which could cause distress or alarm to those near by. He’s yet to be convicted of any offence although police are likely to apply for a Football Banning Order (FBO), meaning the supporter could be banned from football for three years without ever having the chance to defend himself in front of a jury.

FLAGS AND BANNERS

A common complaint is the attitude of clubs towards supporters bringing into the ground their own flags and banners. You’d think clubs would welcome these shows of support, especially given how much they love using them in their own promotional literature? You’d be wrong.

Clubs often invoke health and safety legislation to prevent fans taking in flags at all or they’ll set seemingly arbitrary lengths such as banning flag poles in excess of 1.5m. However, this isn’t a universal rule, and this morning we heard of one set of fans who were turned away for carrying 1.4m flag poles.

Don’t forget to make your flag or banner fire retardant either or you’ll not get in – and that can cost hundreds of pounds even for relatively small banners. Although the dimensions vary on a club-by-club basis flags over a certain size do need fire-proofing. Another set of fans got in touch having been told by their club to remove their flags that had been in use at their ground for some time for this very reason.

While many supporters feel this insistence is disproportionate to the fire risk posed by flags and banners it often follows advice from a club’s Safety Advisory Group which the club has to follow if it doesn’t wish to risk its safety certificate. We’d advise all supporters to contact their club and make the relevant enquiries before buying a banner.

FANZINES

While we’re working with all the fans above on their complaints and queries, there was an email we received that, sadly, we could do very little about. Stevenage Borough’s The Broadhall Way fanzine has ceased production. First released in 2004/05 the fanzine gave Stevenage FC (formerly Stevenage Borough) supporters the chance to have their say.

Unfortunately due to the increasing dominance of online fanzines and forums sales have dwindled and the publication is no more. Farewell the Broadhall Way, and well done to those editors still battling to put out a fanzine at their club, whoever they may be.

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