Here at the FSF we often hear of fans that have been unfairly targeted by stewards and subsequently found themselves kicked out of games, or worse, banned from grounds. So we are pleased to highlight the case of 17-year-old Sam Jones who feared the worst when he was thrown out of Upton Park.
Sam, a Manchester United supporter, travelled to London with a group of mates to take in their away fixture with West Ham on February 8th, which ended in a 1-0 victory for the current Premier League champions.
During half time there was a melee on the concourse and the police had to intervene. Sam was there, but not involved in the incident. Unfortunately he found himself arrested after a steward identified him as somebody who had tried to throw a punch at him. Sam was then taken to Plaistow Police Station. After a short interview he was released without charge. Sam then got in touch with the FSF for advice and support.
The FSF contacted West Ham and exchanged correspondence with their safety officer Ron Pearce and chief inspector Carl Lindley. West Ham agreed, as a gesture of goodwill, to refund Sam the cost of his ticket. While West Ham maintain their steward acted in the correct manner, it reflects positively on the club that they were willing to listen to both sides of the argument and eventually refund Sam.
“Sam is, of course, delighted at this result and the FSF would like to thank both Ron Pearce and CI Lindley for their help and co-operation,” said Amanda Jacks, of the FSF’s policing and stewarding group, who liaised with both Sam and West Ham.
“The FSF does a lot of behind-the-scenes work and we’re happy to hear from any fan who feels they’ve been unfairly dealt with.”