11th Dec, 2019

Games could end up being played behind closed doors if smoke bomb trouble continues, warns Bromsgrove Sporting chairman

Craig Gibbons 10th Jan, 2018 Updated: 10th Jan, 2018

BROMSGROVE Sporting fans have been warned to expect crowd sizes to be reduced and games to be played behind closed doors if pyrotechnics are used inside the Victoria Ground.

The caution comes after Sporting fans had thrown smoke grenades during Saturday’s FA Vase game at Wisbech Town.

There had also been reports of them being used in the league game against Worcester City on Boxing Day.

Sporting’s club chaplain Rev Steve Levett revealed at Monday’s supporters’ forum his son had been hit in the eye with a smoke grenade thrown by a Wisbech fan while one came agonisingly close to hitting manager Paul Smith on the touchline.

Mike Burke told the Standard that if smoke bombs are thrown at the Victoria Ground in the future it would put the club into serious trouble.

“A full closure is at the most extreme end of the scale but there will be sanctions put on us before then,” he said.

“We could be forced to play games behind closed doors or have a reduced number of fans for key cup games which would really upset the supporters.

“We do not want the Victoria Ground to be considered a dangerous place to come and although we can do checks, smoke bombs are hard to find so it is important the fans police themselves.

“The fans who travelled to Wisbech on Saturday were pretty fed up and have had enough of smoke filling the goalmouths.

“People that throw smoke bombs are not ‘true fans’ as they have been out drinking, are with their mates and looking to cause trouble.”

He added anyone found carrying smoke bombs would be given a permanent ban from the Victoria Ground.

A dedicated Sporting supporter, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted the Standard to say that he was glad the issue of smoke bombs was brought up at the forum as there had been other times when they had been used at the Victoria Ground

“When the crowd was celebrating promotion on the pitch last spring, a green flare was let off which was concerning,” he said.

“I suffer from a heart condition and the dense green smoke made it difficult to breathe, which was quite frightening.

“Then a large black flare was let off in the Birmingham Road, which stopped the traffic and burned a hole in the road surface, although the club can not be held responsible for incidents outside the ground.

“Sporting should ban culprits permanently. People who throw lighted missiles into crowds of innocent people deserve a lifetime ban.

“I take my family to the home games at the Victoria Ground, but I can not bring them if it is not a safe environment.”

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