A lot has been said about the policing and stewarding of Notts supporters at Mansfield on Saturday. Now I'm not for one second going to claim that our fans are all angels, although find me a club that doesn't have it's fair share of idiots, but year in year out when we go to Mansfield we get treated like absolute dirt, and it's becoming a joke.
When we go to Mansfield, we're banned from the town centre and pubs. When they come to us they get free roam of the city. There was a pub near the station actually advertising itself as being open to Notts fans, yet when Notts fans arrived at Mansfield station police blocked the route towards the pub and forced us straight to the ground.
I saw families with young children trying to make their own way to the ground, being told by police to wait and being forced to join the police escort to the ground. For what reason? Who's going to start a fight with a mum & dad and two young children?
I know football is tribal, and that's what makes it so special. I don't like Mansfield one bit, but I think 99% of us are quite capable of walking to a ground without feeling the need to assault somebody for wearing a different football shirt to us.
When we got to the ground it was supposed to be a full search policy before we were allowed in. Some people were not searched at all, some were searched in a completely over the top and somewhat degrading manner. I wasn't searched, yet my overnight bag was virtually emptied. Any need?
You then get crammed into a small caged area behind the stand which is nowhere near big enough to accommodate that many fans. You've got young children and disabled people being squeezed in amongst that.
You've then got completely needless heavy handed stewarding inside the ground, stewards trying to snatch flags from fans. I saw a steward physically grab a fan by the neck for taking photographs of our fans!
Then coming out of the ground we're again herded like cattle back to the station, and then East Midlands Trains in their infinite wisdom lay on a train made up of 2 coaches to transport Notts fans back to Nottingham. We were crammed in like cattle, and you had police shouting at us to move down the train, even though we barely had room to breathe! If I had been on that train for much longer I would've been sick.
We got hammered on the day and deservedly so, so this probably sounds like sour grapes, but come on, why do we get treated like animals? Not just us at Mansfield, but football fans in general. By no means am I saying it's like it was in the 70s and 80s, but it's far from good. Treat people like animals and they will behave like animals.
It's 2017, surely they can now differentiate between normal football fans just going for a day out with their mates to watch their team, and complete idiots who are there with the sole intention of causing trouble.