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Brentford ready to greet us with “the biggest police operation in their history”
Thursday, 19th May 2022 13:01 by Tim Whelan

According to the ever-reliable Daily Mail, ‘disorder is expected whatever the result’ of our vital game at Brentford on Sunday, so 950 police officers and stewards will be on duty. Which is more than one for every two Leeds fans who have managed to get tickets, an incredible number.

The paper report that Brentford have earmarked the Leeds fixture as a security risk for some time and have been working with the Metropolitan Police and Hounslow Council to mitigate any trouble. The result being that the number of Police officers on-duty will be increased from the usual 100 to 800, and the number of stewards from 100 to 150.

Apparently this is the biggest police operation in Brentford’s history. Really? I would have thought that one or two additional coppers might have been on hand for their local derby at home to Chelsea earlier in the season, but I doubt that the Mail have bothered to check their numbers in their rush to publish a sensational article.

The article also says that pitch invasions at Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest have increased fears of trouble on Sunday (as if they had anything to do with us) and mentions the city centre trouble that happened when we played Man U this season home and away. Actually, we don’t have the same level of disdain for Brentford, even if they did beat us in a vital game near the end of 2018/19 as our promotion campaign fell apart.

And they also mention the disorder in Bournemouth back in 1990, and the missile throwing in the home game with Brentford this season. On that occasion it was down to Sergi Canos needlessly provoking the Kop after he’d scored, and he then dived on the floor once he’d been hit by something. He was perfectly all right a minute later.

As I’ve already reported in the Awaydaze article, Brentford have placed extra restrictions on who can buy tickets for the home stands for this game. As well as the usual requirement to be a member they are only on sale to those who have been to at least three of their Premier League games this season, and there are dire warnings of stadium bans for anyone found to have passed a home ticket on to a Leeds fan.

Despite the restrictions the game has now sold out, so if you haven’t got a ticket already you won’t be getting in. Brentford will also be introducing external ticket checks away from the stadium for the first time, presumably to stop anyone hanging around trying to buy a ticket on the day.

With the numbers of tickets for the Leeds section of the stadium restricted to 1,725 (the normal 10% away allocation per Premier League rules, as the total capacity is only 17,250) all this seems a bit over the top, as there will hardly be sufficient Leeds fans there to do any rioting.

OK, there is the precedent of Bournemouth 1990, “a weekend of horrific violence”, but that was a bank holiday weekend by the seaside. As pleasant as the banks of the Thames undoubtedly are, they don’t quite have the appeal that would attract thousands of ticketless Leeds fans to camp out overnight.

So why do the Daily Mail report that the authorities “fear that Leeds fans will go on the rampage, regardless of the result”? Won’t we be too busy celebrating if we stay up? As the sone goes, “we’re the best behaved supporters in the land…when we win”. Aren’t we?


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