Over-zealous stewarding?

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Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by Sandie on Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:49 pm

https://www.change.org/p/tom-fox-hands-off-brigada-1874

The passionate support of fans in the Holte End is being strangled by over zealous stewarding. Last Sunday against Man City this culminated in 12 fans being ejected and receiving 3 game bans for standing and supporting their team. We urge the club to adhere to the principles behind the "singing section" that was established in L7 and L8 last season and allow fans the freedom to support their team. We ask that the ban on those fans ejected v Man City is lifted and that flags, banners and displays in support of the team are once again allowed to fly in this area of the Holte End.

What do we make of this? For reasons I've never quite seemed to grasp Brigada tends to divide our support so I tend to keep out of discussions about them. Honestly, I think that any attempt to produce a livelier atmosphere at Villa Park should be welcomed though I understand that there are rules against persistent standers and that with them being sat at the front it may have an impact on the views of those behind.
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Re: Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by villabromsgrove on Tue Nov 10, 2015 4:05 pm

The only issue with them is that they persistently stand in front of other supporters. I believe they requested a move from the back of the Holte where they weren't interfering with anyone's view, which seemed a bit of a strange idea. A lot of clubs turn a blind eye to persistent standing if it's at the back and reasonably 'out of sight', but Brigada didn't want to be out of sight.

My message to Brigada would be to make as much noise as you like, but don't restrict the view of other fans who've paid a lot of money for their seats. In other words return to the back of the Holte.

(Don't forget I'm an old codger, who wouldn't be able to see anything from behind these guys.)
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Re: Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by GadgetMan on Tue Nov 10, 2015 6:18 pm

I dared to have this convo on Twitter last night and boy did I piss people off. My take on it is this. #

I don't have a problem with standing, I think it does add to the atmosphere and it makes waving flags and singing easier etc etc! BUT it's illegal, this is where the club have a problem. They have to be seen to enforcing it or else they get fined again and the threat of stand closures etc! So there are clearly two sides/camps.

Ones that wish to create an atmosphere via standing, singing, flag waving etc and then those that are trying to uphold the law as instructed.

Here are my thoughts on both sides of it.

I think some stewards take the letter of the law and use it to abuse their authority and some act like little hitlers and can definitely be labelled with being overzealous, sometimes where good communication and common sense can prevail, a rigid interpretation of the laws is applied.

Then there's the other side and here's my problem with them. They have the same few that are overzealous and aside from just wanting to create a good atmosphere, there's also an element of aggression, antagonism and abuse (not of power like the stewards) but verbal and intimidation.

So there are faults on both sides for me. Brigada need to come down hard as a group on the 'thug' element (you only have to scour YT for a few seconds to see videos where stewards and police are called all sorts and intimidation happens) likewise you can witness the little hitler element of the stewarding, so Villa need to address that too.

What I suggested was, until the law is changed and safe standing is introduced, there will always be the potential for conflict and a drawing of lines. People thrown out, therefore others then abuse/ a few go OTT, so are then thrown out and Stewards overreact etc etc!!

VB your solution seems the simplest. If you wish to make noise and get away with standing, then go under the radar and be a little more discreet. Right at the bottom of the Holte in full view of cameras and everyone, it's going to be stamped out, add into the mix the above confrontations and they now have a big target on their backs.

I was told know one has died from standing?????? This is where I lose respect for the argument for standing, as we clearly all know that not to be the case. Also having personally being dragged out of the Holte End as a teenageer due to 'surging' (by stewards incidentially, who helped maintain my safety) I can tell you that it is both frightening and real.

Whilst that is far less likely these days due to the seats being there, i still see why the club need to enforce the law. The club under Faulkner campaigned hard for safe standing areas, so they're hardly opposed to the idea. They also agreed to move the Brigada to the Front for a 'singing' section, not a singing whilst standing section. Sadly it seems from the discussions I've had, the attitude is, if you're not with us, then you're against us. Which is a real shame.

That's my view of both sides, without even touching upon the 'third' side, those that get their view disrupted by people standing in an all seater stadium. Just looking at the main two points, is enough to see there's a big problem and both parties are miles apart.

In summary, I'm massively for a better atmosphere and everyone having fun, I'm also pro safety for ALL and get the club need to act accordingly to ensure that happens.

I don't have the answers or the solutions, but I know aggression and intimidation by any party won't solve anything.

Maybe the answer is for a few of the more articulate and calm members of Brigada, the police, The Trust, The Club etc! meet again (apparently they already have) and and set very clear and agreed boundaries, or agree to go back to being under the radar and less visible. Out of sight (not sound) may lead to less pressure to enforce the law.
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Re: Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by villabromsgrove on Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:31 pm

You've covered just about everything GM, but whatever both sides say or do there is really only one outcome .... it's currently against the law to stand persistently. The club have to enforce this, and Brigada have to accept it or get banned from the stadium unfortunately.
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Re: Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by Sandie on Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:21 am

Trust statement: http://villatrust.org.uk/?p=1505

Both members and other supporters will be aware of the impasse between the Club and Brigada 1874. We have attempted to see whether a compromise could be achieved. That has not been possible. However, Aston Villa FC have issued the following statement setting out their position and the attempts that they have made to reach a solution acceptable to ALL parties including those supporters who sit in the adjacent areas.

AVFC STATEMENT

The club has been approached by the Supporters Trust to clarify the actions taken at the weekend in relation to the group known as Brigada.

Throughout this season, the club has been contacted by numerous season ticket holders and match day fans complaining about the conduct of the group and the negative impact they were having on matchday experience.

We have been in contact with the group at various points this season, and have shared that contact with those who have made complaints and also with the Aston Villa Supporters Trust.

On numerous occasions, we have requested them to modify their conduct, based around two very simple principles:

Join in with the Holte End – when everyone stands at moments of excitement then by all means join in. When everyone sits down, then sit down.
Be mindful and respectful of those around you.

At our recent home match versus Swansea, the group carried out a set of deliberate and coordinated actions that showed the club that they have little or no respect for the fans around them, and that they have no intentions of modifying their conduct as requested.

As a result of their actions versus Swansea, we contacted the group (prior to Manchester City) to let them know there was no workable solution that would allow them to continue their presence in L7, asking them to relocate to an area at the rear of the Holte Upper we had identified where their conduct would offer the least amount of disruption to those around them. The area has sufficient capacity to accommodate their numbers (there are at most 15 to 20 fans participating and identifying with the group on match days). They chose to stay in L7.

Therefore, at the match versus Manchester City, we identified and ejected 11 fans in total who were intent on ignoring our previous warnings and subsequently will miss the next three matches at Villa Park. They will then be allowed to return, but only in the area identified and offered to the group at the rear of the Holte Upper. Anyone wishing to relocate with the group should contact our consumer sales team who will be happy to facilitate seat moves on 0333 323 1874.

Our primary motivation throughout this season has been the feedback received from fans. These are as passionate about supporting the Villa as the next fan and have also contributed to the noise and atmosphere that has helped the Holte End gain a reputation as being one of the loudest and most passionate “ends” in football.

Whilst many of those who have contacted us to complain do not have children with them at matches, there have been suggestions on social media that the Holte End is not for families and that anyone bringing children to the game should use the family enclosure. There are 1,600 junior season ticket holders on the Holte End, whose families are looking to ensure that the tradition of the Holte End is continued for years to come. To suggest that the actions of a small group of 15 to 20 fans should take away this choice or force people to move away from friends they have sat next to for years is frankly wrong, and the clubs actions have been fair, consistent and representative of fans’ interests.

In closing, the club have always recognised that Brigada’s ultimate aim is to drive atmosphere. It is clear from monitoring the Holte End on matchday that they are not inspiring fans to join in with them. Up until Sunday, there has been no occasion this season where they have started a song with which the rest of the Holte End has then joined in. Ironically, a brief chorus of “Stand up – if you love Villa” on Sunday was the first time, and we noted with interest that within a minute of the song being sung everyone in the lower tier had sat back down again.

Once the group have relocated and settled in to the new area, we will happily see if we can support the reintroduction of their flags and banners, to help them drive atmosphere and support for the team. The club is 100% behind fans creating an enjoyable and vibrant atmosphere. All we ask is that supporters are mindful of other fans and help us to adhere to our ground regulations.
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Re: Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by villabromsgrove on Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:36 am

Assuming that the above statement from the club is factual, then I think it reasonable and inevitable that Brigada comply with relocation to the back of the Holte. The current law regarding persistent standing, and the fact that they choose to stand in front of other compliant fans means that the club have to react. The club's statement implies that when Brigada (15/20 fans?) relocate the stewarding will be more relaxed.

It's good to see the Trust in a more active even though unsuccessful role in this case.
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Re: Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by Sandie on Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:40 pm

It all seems fair enough to me, will be interesting to see how Brigada react.
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Re: Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by South London Villan on Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:30 pm

At the recent Palace game I had to sit with the Palace fans, next to the Holmesdale Road stand and close to the Palace Ultras.

I was impressed at the level of noise, fervour and stamina of the Ultras. They sang, and sang, creating a magnificent atmosphere.

THey stood up throughout, banging their drum and led the Palace fans in unison with all the songs they could muster.

Everyone around me followed their lead and joined in, young and old, male and female. They sang with fervour and passion.

The songs they sang were in full support of the team and had no swearing. They were catchy and easy to pick up.

What did make me chuckle was watching a guy who looked like Buster Blood Vessel of Bad Manners get ejected for getting too carried away and excited and not sitting down.

He went quietly and the steward told him if he wants to stand up he should go in to the Lower Holmesdale where he can stand up all game. His response was that he wanted to be there but there was a waiting list for season tickets in that section and he is unlikely to get one soon.

I thought to myself how we are at Villa Park. My son's first game to see the Villa was at Wembley, the semi final against Chelsea. His mother asked him if he had had a good day and her 6 year old son said yes I learnt to swear in brummie and sang my old man for her.
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Re: Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by Sandie on Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:40 am

Palace's support is superb. It does seem a bit of a shame that the attempts to get a singing section going at Villa Park, in Brigada, has developed into such a problem. Especially considering that our players have seemingly found it a problem to play at Villa Park in recent seasons. Maybe an uncompromising atmosphere (for opposition players) would be the thing to help that?
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Re: Over-zealous stewarding?

Post by villabromsgrove on Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:15 pm

Sandie wrote:Palace's support is superb. It does seem a bit of a shame that the attempts to get a singing section going at Villa Park, in Brigada, has developed into such a problem. Especially considering that our players have seemingly found it a problem to play at Villa Park in recent seasons. Maybe an uncompromising atmosphere (for opposition players) would be the thing to help that?
I think SLV hit the nail on the head. Palace sing songs without swearwords. I won't join in with Villa chants that are foul mouthed and frankly pretty rubbish. We need songs .... they don't even have to be Villa related.
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