Don’t shield these fans

The nearly finished  stand at Post Office Road home of Featherstone RLFC.

The nearly finished stand at Post Office Road home of Featherstone RLFC.

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HALIFAX RL chairman Michael Steele last night urged fans not to shield yobs involved in bloody brawls at Thursday’s Fax match.

Trouble flared after Thursday night’s Halifax RLFC game at Featherstone Rovers.

Mr Steele has urged true fans to name and shame those who instigated and got involved in the fights

He pleaded with fans of both clubs not to show “false loyalties” to any of the trouble-makers.

He said: “Those who instigated and participated in threatening, abusive and violent behaviour when the match was over should not have done so, regardless of the provocation.

“As a club we shall pass on information we receive, and any Halifax ‘supporter’ involved in violence will not be welcome at our matches in future.

“There must not be any false loyalties. Halifax people who became involved in disorder will be banned by the club, and those who can identify them must do so,” he added.

Featherstone Rovers have also urged their fans to come forward.

Fax won the semi-final thanks to a Danny Jones golden point drop goal, putting them in the Northern Rail cup final.

Inspector Lisa Kirkland, of the Featherstone and Normanton Neighbourhood Policing Team, said both fans were went onto the pitch after the match.

“Disorder broke out which then spilled onto the car park and onto Station Lane, where the two groups confronted each other on opposite sides of the roads,” she said.

Officers split the two groups up and put the Halifax supporters on their coaches.

There had been reports a fan was hospitalised, but police say a woman who was found collapsed in the street was likely to have suffered a fit or seizure.

It is not the first time there has been violence between the two teams.

Just eight months Fax fan David Singer was hospitalised after the sides met in the Grand Final.

When they met at The Shay the fans were segregated, but the old-style of the Post Office Road stadium means they cannot be kept apart.

Fax fans described the scenes as “horrifying” and the RFL has launched a formal investigation.

Matt Gormley, 19, said: “There was always the potential for trouble but there weren’t enough there to cope with it.

“There was no segregation so both sets of fans were walking out together. Within five minutes of the whistle 30 or so fans charged over, looking for trouble.”

“It was a tiny minority but a lot of fans jumped on the band wagon so it just escalated.

“I have never seen anything like it at a rugby match, it spilled out across the whole ground. It all seemed to happen within 10 minutes.”

Chris Gray, a 27 year-old Fax fan wants action to be taken to stop future incidents.

“There should be more punishment towards the club.

“I have never seen violence like that at a rugby game. I go to about 90 per cent of away games and I have never seen violence at other games.”

“It’s a shame for Rugby League. They’re just dragging down the game. Everything is taken out on the pitch but we don’t take it away.”

One 21-year-old fan was arrested and has since been bailed pending further enquirires.

Anyone with information is asked to contact 0845 6060606.