Written by Chris Hammer
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Topics: clubs

Friday, 13 May 2005

image for Premier Clubs Support Pitch Invasions
Unorganised Invasion

Premier League football clubs are set to introduce "controlled pitch invasions" to improve the atmosphere at the end of next season.

After the proposals for safe standing areas were unanimously turned down last week at the F.A's Soho headquarters, some clubs have put forward ideas to allow pitch invasions when their side survives relegation, wins the Championship or qualifies for Europe.

The move follows the constant criticisms that the excitement in the crowds has fallen steadily since the Premier League was formed in 1992.

Garth Fishman, the commercial director at Bolton Wanderers, said: "A group of ten Premier League clubs including ourselves, Chelsea and Charlton want to take steps to prove that those who run the game are not kill joys.

"We have been working on these ideas for some time now and we have secured the services of event managing group Get Set to make sure invasions can be safely orchestrated."

Stewart Perrit, the managing director of Get Set, said a number of practice sessions involving thousands of volunteers at the Reebok have been successful.

"Essentially we will have 50 invasion stewards per stand, who will control different sections of the fans and will allow them on to the pitch at staggered time intervals. There will be no crushes or accidents. End of seasons will never be the same again."

Some clubs who are perpetually involved in mid-table battles have argued that they should be allowed pitch invasions if they manage to improve a position on the last day of the season.

David Goldstone, the owner of Tottenham Hotspur, said: "The way the prize money situation stands, if we finish tenth instead of eleventh we will get an extra half a million pounds. The fans will want to celebrate that a lot, as it pays one weeks wages of our substitute goalkeeper Hans Ogilvy."

Some other clubs are not so keen on the idea. The manager of West Brom, Geoff Byrd, was very critical of the plans when he heard about them last night at their player of the year awards.

"Do people not read about what happens in those African countries where pitch invasions cause the death of hundreds of people. Invasions are human stampedes whether they are controlled or not."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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