Mansfield Vital Comment : Gate or No Gate?
We question the ridiculous decision to keep a gate closed on one side of the ground for certain matches, meaning fans are coming together on the ring road in Mansfield.
Ever since away supporters were moved from the Quarry Lane end to the North Stand at the One Call, following serious disorder after the Stags had played Doncaster Rovers a few years back, the Safety Advisory Group in Nottinghamshire have been questioned over their decision.
That is more so these days, after the introduction of a large steel gate between the Ian Greaves Stand and the now away fans based in the North Stand.
Dubbed the 'Gabbitas Gate' after local PC officer Carl Gabbitas who we beleive was the original twitter poster on advising when it would be closed or not and for which game.
These days, the official club twitter feed will advise when and not supporters can make their way between the stands.
Basically, any local derby game with the potential for the base for trouble will see the gate shut firmly for most of the day.
Now, we have no issue with crowd control, even with the hundred or so police officers on duty for the Stags early kick off with Grimsby for a League 2 game and just a 4,500 odd crowd to look after.
As someone recently said to me, how can the same police force, control Notts Forest against Leeds United at the City Ground, for a 17:30 kick off, and a 25,000 plus crowd, but not a league 2 game for a 3pm kick off?
What we do have issue with, is that due to the gate now being shut, home supporters wanting to return to town, the bus station or the train station, now walk behind the Quarry Lane end, and left onto Portland Street.
They are then met with away supporters coming the other way from the North Stand who have parked in the many retail parks or streets at that end of town.
The potential for a flashpoint is now greater than having the gate open, or dare we suggest, putting the away supporters back in the Quarry Lane end.
Can we ask how on earth are we safer walking into 3-400 away supporters coming from the north stand as we head up from Quarry Lane?
For the Grimsby game, and others, we have heard several comments from opposition supporters along the same lines as we have passed them.
Someone will get hurt one day, not least by being hit by a vehicle as the crowds end up spilling onto the road.
So far we have mainly seen pushing and jostling but how long before a brawl gets out of hand?
Needs addressing we feel, but then again where is the common sense with the SAG, perhaps our esteemed Stadium Director could bring this up as a priority, instead of trying to look pretty in his blue suit.