I was on that train

It’s all getting a bit heated isn’t it? Large scale disorder at railway stations, lines of police meeting trains coming in from away matches and ill-feeling on both sides of the apparent law.

I’ve read with interest the reports today about disorder on the trains back from Notts and trouble at the railway station too. I was at both places when the so-called issues happened and I’m not sure they’re being reported in the correct manner, in fact I’m damn sure they’re not.

After the game platform 6 was a bit rowdy, nothing more than I’d expect when a large group of football fans are about to embark on a journey home. Nobody was fighting though, nobody was vandalising anything and nobody was being deliberately intimidated. The Notts Police were spot on I thought, keeping a good distance from our lot and maintaining order. There must have been several hundred people waiting for the special and amongst that around fifty or so were chanting and singing. It seemed good-natured but eventually it turned the other way. A few started directing their songs at the police and one threw a can of beer in their direction.

Obviously that caused the police to advance and get edgy and rightly so. I’d say if you were in that group and know who threw the can it is your duty as a fan to report it, because that one incident sparked what followed.

For some reason the Lincolnshire Police are itching to confront our so-called hooligans and what better reason than someone essentially throwing an offensive weapon? That is what a full can of beer constitutes you know, an offensive weapon. Once that had been launched, sadly the police had every right to wade in all boots and dogs. With respect to them they didn’t, they closed in but there were no ugly scenes. Nobody ‘ran amok’.

I was on the 5.38 train to Lincoln, the eight-carriage special packed full of drunken, rowdy football fans that the media have tagged as ‘creating havoc’. I can’t speak for all eight carriages, but certainly in ours and the one in front and behind nobody ran amok. I didn’t see anything that caused me to get anxious or worry about what was going to happen. Remember, I’m effectively a neutral here. I’m not one of the lads singing and chanting on the station platform and I’m not a police officer either.

What I do know is disembarking in Lincoln was an unpleasant an inflammatory experience. I’ve read that incidents on the train prompted the response, but I’ve also read that some violence occurred between two fans on a later train. Either way, let me ask you a question. If you’re on a train from London and two people get involved in a fight, is the train met by a wall of police when it arrives in the station? No. Our train had women and children, old and young, and it was not nice being welcomed into our home city as trouble makers. We didn’t deserve it and nor did the fans singing at the railway station. What perhaps should have happened is the can-throwing idiot be pulled out by the Notts Police, but I imagine that would have been classed as inflammatory on their part.

The scenes on the High Street were not pleasant at all. The police were spoiling for a fight the second fans began to stream out of the station. I’m sure there will be those that argue against that, but what grounds can there possibly be for such a large presence when it is our own fans coming into our own city? The so-called disorder that happened last week was instigated by draconian methods employed in treating home fans as visiting supporters, and I felt the same happened on Saturday. Until we got off the train there had been no ‘running amok’, no ‘large scale disorder’ and certainly no wreaking havoc. Trust me, if there had been I’d happily come out on here and criticise those involved. I haven’t shied away from it before and I won’t again. Whoever threw the can of beer deserves punishing, but on the whole the fans were well-behaved.

I can’t say the same once the fans spilled onto the High Street, I think tempers are still raised after last weeks poor policing methods and that manifested itself into some ugly scenes. Another can was thrown and as far as I’m concerned that is another arrest, but I’m afraid both sides were at fault. The police had no genuine reason to treat Lincoln natives as criminals just for being on a train. What crime had 99% of fans committed on the train? If you were on it and felt threatened or terrified get in touch, I’ll happily redress the balance. What I expect is nobody will get in touch because the havoc wreaking did not happen.

Today there appears to be a clamour from the ‘popular’ media to condemn fans for their behaviour. Were these reporters on the scene as I was? No. Are they acting on press releases from the police? Probably. It shameful reporting aimed at demonizing a section of people who do not deserve it. Our own police force are creating monsters from nothing and our own media are reporting it as fact without anything solid to back it up. We’re having a problem created here out of nothing and it shows no signs of easing up. I fear for the next few games, especially the high-profile fixtures with Grimsby and Chesterfield.

I’m happy to stand corrected, do you have videos of anything other than the cans of beer being thown, which I’ve condemned? Do you have a first-hand account of Lincoln City fans wreaking havoc or causing trouble? If you do I’ll publish it, I’ll tell both sides of the story. However, unlike those currently hawking around stories of large-scale violence in order to entice clicks, I was there. I saw most of what happened and I’m comfortable writing the words I’ve written. Our fans were not hooligans when they go off that train, they’re being turned into them by some very poor and ill-advised policing. Do not make these young men criminal in their own town without good reason.

For context, one of my grandfathers was a high-ranking police officer in Lincoln. I am not a police hater and on the whole I support and condone any movement to eradicate proper football hooliganism. However, I will not stand by and idly watch as sections of our support are misrepresented to a wider audience. It’s not on.

Please share this article far and wide because the fake news should not be allowed to dominate the news feeds of Lincoln people.

5 Comments

  1. I was in carriage c with my 6 yr old lad , there was a few loud lads in there but not once did we feel it was out of order . I agree that the police went well overboard back at lincoln and in my eyes there massive presence was the catalyst .

  2. I was on the same train and also witnessed the goings on at Nottingham End. I thought that was dealt with well as it could have spilled over. As for the train journey , no issues on our carriage. Standing room only but was absolutely fine. Was amazed to be greeted by dog handlers tho at Lincoln. I couldn’t believe it. I just don’t think there was any need for them to be there. Everyone would have just gone their own way. I’m sure of it. But I just think it gave the stupid minority the chance to let themselves down again. Such a shame. Kids screaming and their parents having a go at the police for scaring them. Left a bad feeling I’m afraid to an already frustrating day.

  3. I was not witness to the events this Saturday but did see a small group of idiots charging the Mansfield fans leaving the ground down Cross Street under a police escort the other week. The group that was on the attack chanted “LTE” the apparent leader of the group probably late 50’s!

    The trouble makers within our support base will be small in number and it is up to us and the police to route them them out as quickly as possible.

    Sincil Bank is a great place to be at the moment the atmosphere inside the ground is fantastic and we have a good mix of children and adults of both sexes supporting the club.

    I fear if we don’t work together to remove the troublesome minority we will become a magnet for more aggressive idiots with little interest in football. This could risks alienating the club’s current and future support base.

  4. I think there are various issues here to include the fact that it is clear there are learning points on all sides. The presence of BTP officers (not Lincs Police) at Lincoln has clearly upset some when they returned to Lincoln. I have heard lots of criticism about this but I am not convinced anyone has had sight or access to the info the police must have received to justify a blue light run from Nottingham to Lincoln. Rather than that it appears that people excuse there own unacceptable behaviour by fuelling anti police rhetoric, I only threw stuff because the police shouldn’t have been there type thing, who the hell do they think they are!!!

    Of further concern is that in the 617 FB response they sought to stir up anti police feeling even more, extremely dangerous with so many young and impressionable lads following them. Where is the dog bite victim, where are taser injuries has someone come forward or was that also fake news but from a different source?

    Both police and supporters have to work together to overcome the idiots, don’t be childish by venting and create more division. I too heard chants after the Mansfield game of “LTE”, Lincolns Thug so called “Elite”. The LTE compromised of very few brain cells are a huge threat to our football club and enemies of Lincoln City. Without brain capacity they of course use fists and in their selfish need to impress fellow idiots they support cowardly violence using football as a means to find it while high on drink and drugs.

    Groups such as the LTE are the threat, not the police with some of them have criminal backgrounds. We urgently need to introduce the Human Responsibilities Act, yes let’s report what we see as heavy handed policing but first have some discipline and respect on all sides. Report the idiots, get them banned and as far away from our club as possible.

    Back to the station incident, filming a police officer asking you politely to walk away, getting too close, antagonising and distressing his dog – any normal person would just have done as they were told, lets not forget that. The club, police and supporters need to come together now to stop this escalating any further.

  5. There are a few people who have come forward to say that there was fighting on their train in other media and it is dangerous to start building up a conspiracy on this.

    Whatever the ins and outs it is a hard gig police wise. You have a thousand odd people coming into an area where the vast majority are absolutely fine. But as police you know there are going to be a number of a similar size in numbers to your officers who will be up for trouble. You will be blasted if something happens and you don’t stop it, you will be blasted if nothing happens and there are lots of you. I have been kettled at games at Milwall. I have been made to walk with away fans at a neutral game. I have had to leg it at Wrexham a few years back when I came out the ground and turned into a wall of police and police dogs. I came out of Woking two years back after some of out “fans” left early with a scene of chaos behind them. I am not going to take sides, and I wasn’t there to judge. But we have to be very careful about the narrative that builds from this.

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