POLICE chiefs are warning football fans that “disorder will not be tolerated” at this weekend’s cross-border derby.
The zero-tolerance message comes ahead of Saturday’s midday fixture between Chester and Wrexham FC – their second meeting this season.
The first game between the clubs on August 31 was marred by crowd trouble, with a series of arrests on the day, leading to prosecutions and subsequent banning orders.
Now Cheshire Police’s chief inspector for Chester West, Richard Rees, has called on people to behave themselves at the weekend or face the consequences.
“Clearly there is a history of trouble between the two sets of supporters and we don’t want to see a repeat of the disorder witnessed last time,” he said.
“We’ve worked with North Wales Police (NWP) and the relevant services ahead of the game and we hope the bubble match travel arrangements will ensure everyone is safe and it is an enjoyable day.
“We want to make sure families and individuals have a good day out, enjoy the spectacle of a big match in our region, and remain safe.
“Disorder from either set of supporters will not be tolerated by our officers and criminal behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated either.
“It is only a small element of people who cause trouble.
“We ask that everyone behaves themselves and enjoys the day.”
NWP Wrexham town centre inspector Paul Wycherley issued a similar message to supporters travelling back to Wrexham after the game.
“The message to supporters is clear: enjoy yourselves, support your team but behave yourselves,” he said.
“We have extra staff on throughout the weekend and we will have plenty of officers in town when fans return from Chester.
“This is our third busiest weekend of the year and we’ll have an increased presence in the town centre from Friday right through until Monday.
“We have every confidence Wrexham will be a safe environment to shop and socialise this weekend.”
Insp Wycherley added extra officers would also be out in force on Easter Monday, ahead of Wrexham’s 3pm kick off against Lincoln, with the Bank Holiday resulting in additional numbers of shoppers in the town centre.
Calvin Hughes, Chester FC’s football secretary, said: “We echo the comments of the police. We have worked hard with Wrexham FC to ensure the safety of supporters this Saturday. There’s a lot riding on this game for us and the last thing we want is for there to be trouble, which could land us in trouble with the FA.
“We want this game to be remembered for footballing reasons, not the wrong reasons.
“What the fans don’t see is the relationship between the clubs behind the scenes and there has been a good relationship ever since we were promoted last year.
“We have a community ethos to uphold and hopefully the match goes well.”
Peter Jones, Wrexham Supporters Trust chairman, said: “As a fan-owned club, everyone needs to be on their best behaviour on Saturday.
“I’d urge the fans travelling to Chester to enjoy the day, behave, and hopefully we’ll get a win to finish the season on a high.
“It is important the supporters uphold the great name of Wrexham.”