Thursday, December 29, 2011
United, top of the league
Manchester United have finished top of a 'league of shame' for match-day arrests.
The champions had more fans held by police than any other team in the Premier League during last season – almost twice as many as second-placed Sunderland.
The figures, released by the Home Office show that the number of United supporters arrested rocketed from 165 in the 2009-10 season to 276 last year.
Some 117 fans were held at home games and 159 at away matches.
The vast majority of the arrests were for alcohol offences (127), followed by violent disorder (63), ticket touting (26), pitch invasions (20)(In Holland one bloke runs onto the pitch and the whole country goes berzerk, the media are often refering to England's football law which should be the solution for all Dutch problems too. I'm sure Joe Public will sleep well when footballfans are punished harsher than rapists and other proper scum. AR), public disorder (15) and possessing offensive weapons (11).
City joined United in the top four of the list - with 108 arrests last season.
Bolton had 52 fans arrested and Wigan 27.
Outside the top flight, Rochdale had seven arrests, Stockport five and Bury just one.
United said the figures should be seen in context of the fact Old Trafford had a bigger capacity than any other ground.
A club spokesman said: "These figures should be presented as a percentage of the stadium’s crowd, rather than as individual figures."
Mark Longden, from the independent Manchester United supporters association blamed the high number of arrests on 'over-zealous' policing at football grounds.
He said: "We're one of the very few teams that sells out their ticket allocation wherever we go.
"We all have our bad eggs but I think most sections of supporters are the same. The main issue is over-zealous policing.
"The way supporters are policed in general is conducive to getting arrested. The police release these figures every year which are designed to show football supporters to be hooligans carrying bricks and knives.
"It's in their interests to talk up the aggro."
Manchester City declined to comment.
The figures also showed that 23 fans were arrested in the Premier League for racist or indecent chanting – including two United fans.
Total number of arrests - home and away
Manchester United 276
Manchester City 108
Aston Villa 103
Birmingham City 74
Stoke City 70
West Ham 68
Bolton Wanderers 52
Tottenham Hotspur 48
Blackburn Rovers 37
West Brom 35
Wigan Athletic 27