I know very little about football, and I have never attended a football match in my life. But I have learnt quite a lot in the last few weeks about the mindset of a football fan and how it differs vastly from that of a rugby fan, which is a game I am passionate about.
I have been working as a steward at the London Stadium, more oft en than not at the West Ham home games. I have listened to many of the fans’ gripes as they enter and leave the stadium and I read with interest Alex Shilling’s comments about the crowd control issues that the fans are not happy about.
Alex is right on one point about the crowd control – ‘if you get a couple of idiots pushing and shoving, chaos ensues’. But he’s wrong on many levels about the crowd control being ‘a nonsense’. In terms of the actual problem of trying to safely ensure that 50,000 to 60,000 people can arrive and leave the football match without too much bloodshed, crowd control is not a nonsense.
So far it has been relatively successful. Yes there are the few idiots who refuse to wait 30 seconds to let a backlog of a couple of thousand people entering the Stratford tube station entrance to safely step on to the next tube/train.
‘I need to catch my train’. Really? Th is is quite a ridiculous excuse to use to start giving people abuse. What do they want to do? Push a few hundred people onto the railway track so they can catch the earlier train. Most of the stewards and the security guards are football fans and all they want to do is ensure that fans get home safely aft er the match. As they would want to do if it was their own team playing.
If anyone can come up with a better solution to the red and green stop/ go signs I am sure the independent security firms working outside the London Stadium would welcome their suggestions.