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Have You Been Banned For Unlawful Drinking?

Sent by Stand Up Sit Down on behalf the Football Supporters Federation with whom we work closely on the safe standing issue.

Following Newcastle United chairman Mike Ashley's Ashburton Grove appearance in the Toon end with pint in hand, the Football Supporters' Federation is looking for any fans ejected and/or prosecuted for drinking in sight of the pitch this past weekend to come forward.

Drinking alcohol is sight of the playing area at professional football matches has been banned by law since 1985. The same activity is perfectly lawful at all other sporting events. If you're a fan of rugby league or rugby union - no problem. Likewise cricket, American Football, speedway, horse racing. Even tiddlywinks as far as we know. Breweries and distilleries are a major sponsor of football.

We know of many supporters who've been banned from attending matches for three years for the 'crime' of having a tipple whilst watching the game. Why? There are plenty of laws that the police can use to prosecute people who become abusive or violent though alcohol consumption. Being drunk in a public place is a criminal offence.

Why should the law abiding majority of football fans be singled out? If you've been ejected, banned or prosecuted for drinking in sight of the pitch, particularly this past weekend, get in touch with the FSF NOW at: or on 08702 777777 (Mon-Fri office hours).

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 1 2008

Time: 10:15AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
The Fear
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 10:18:00

13 seconds...ashley is rubbish
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 10:25:00

I did once see stewards eject someone from the Holte for having a beer in the stand, it was obvious he was a visitor to the ground, he was in a party of four or five blokes. Even though he appologised profuslel to the stewards they were having none of it. He even offered them the bottle in a genuine gesture of sorry I did not know. The bottom line was the four or five people left with him after some very unsavoury confrontations. All it needed was the Steward to ask for and take away the plastic beer bottle. Over reaction? I think so, in any other walk of life the "customer" would have been spoken to as someone of worth to the company treated as a client with a little more respect. I dare say thats 4 customers Villa will never see again.
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 10:33:00

I don't drink so I can't really speak from personal experience, but that certainly does seem extreme. Shouldn't we be banning people for actual behaviour rather than predicted behaviour? Ashley is no surprise to be honest, he should be setting a better example. Most people with money these days seem to think they're bigger than the law for the average folk.
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 10:41:00

Stewards are jobworths - I've been one and seen them in action. If you fall asleep at a boring footy match you get kicked out for being drunk, even if you're teetotal. They don't allow drinking because of the very few small-minded yobbish idiots that can't take their drink. Fortunately for other sports you only find them at footy games.
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 10:55:00

It seems as though there is to be an investigate by the people at Arsenal and possibly the rozzers. Newcastle claim Ashley thought it was non-alcoholic ....... who in their right mind downs a non-alcoholic point like that?!
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 11:21:00

I find this whole scenario a bit of a farce. What is to stop somebody from drinking 7 or 8 pints "legally" in the concourse before the match and then going into the stands tanked up and causing trouble? The majority of people act and drink responsibly anyway, it's just the moronic minority who get the headlines and demonise the whole drinking issue. I would enjoy the odd beer at a match and as I always take my young son with me the last thing I would do is get drunk and cause trouble. As an aside, when my son was very young we used to sit in the family stand below the hospitality boxes. One particular game, I think it was Leicester, a couple of away fans were being "entertained" during the match and obviously after having one too many, took to leaning over and abusing the families below. When people complained to the Stewards absolutely nothing was done. If we are to move away from the stigma attached to alcohol in this country, and move towards the continental attitude to drinking in moderation which the government stated as one of it's aims when introducing extending licensing hours, then we need to be able to trust people and as Fear stated above, if anyone is drunk and causing trouble there are already measures in place to eject them from the ground and prosecute them. Football has moved on since the dark days of the seventies and eighties, it's about time the authorities acknowledged this and started treating fans with a bit more dignity and respect and bring us into line with other sports.
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 11:25:00

Jon H not to mention the Stigma attached to football supporters. We have for so long been treated as scummy second class citizens but Rugby, Cricket and Rugby League know the value of good entertained supporters.
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 12:32:00

if i owned newcastle i would be hitting harder stuff than lager! what a dick.
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 13:14:00

I think not drinking in the stands only encourages binge drinking in the ground, I will put my hand up and admit I have done an 'Ashley' a fair few times just before kick off!
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 13:26:00

col8 totally agree. Tez86 that is exactly the point I was making. If we were able to take drinks into the stands we could drink in a more relaxed manner plus it would ease the scrum in the concourses a bit.
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 13:41:00

Think that is absolutely the point Jon.H All other sports allow the fans to drink, football fans are treated very differently and maybe shouldn't be? I'm not that fussed, I have to drive to the games! I remember years back when the Liverpool cup game was delayed by over an hour in the freezing cold my mate and me had a bit of whiskey out of a hip flask, backs to the pitch (where no footie was taking place thanks to the ticket fiasco) and a steward came to us and told us we could be ejected or reported to the police because we were drinking in view of the pitch. My retort that we couldn't see the pitch as we had our backs to it didn't go down well, the whiskey however did go down very well, it was about -10 degrees!!!!!!!
The Fear
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 14:13:00

I wonder whether, with our lines of communication to the board, it is worth asking them to maybe contact the boards of the other clubs to see if there is anyway to look at getting this out-dated and rather draconian ruling overturned. Or even a small group of clubs being allowed to have a trial period to see how things go. After all if you don't ask...........
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 15:24:00

Many years ago I started walking up the steps with a pint in hand, only about a quarter of it left/plastic glass not bottle, and the steward copped me. Told me politely I couldn't drink here, could I disappear back down the stairs, neck it and then come back up. Job done, as I passed him again he explained why. Wouldn't it be more sensible for all stewards to be like that, as I guess plenty of fans don't even know you can't until they are specifically told. As said above, football has always been frowned on and it's ridiculous. I'd guess drinking 3 pints over 5 minutes is a lot healthier than necking 3 pint in 5-10 minutes.
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 15:49:00

Why wasnt he drinking Newcastle Brown Ale? Bloody traitor!!!
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 16:00:00

Was -3 when I got back to the car that night JF, and the only time I had what passes as hot drinks in the ground, if only to keep the lads hands warm !
Stourbridge Villan
Report Abuse
01/09/2008 16:34:00

Cant recall when this law came in, but back in the 70's I regularly drank a beer or two from my seat in the Trinity Road Enclosure, no problem. Presumably its a ruling brought in back in the hooliganism days, and one that has remained because its never been challenged.
Report Abuse
02/09/2008 05:29:00

Why Ashley had to lie about it, and claim that he thought it was non-alcoholic, is too ridiculous beyond words. Does he look like a guy who downs n/a beer? He should be amongst those leading the fight to get this ruling over-thrown, not acting like some schoolboy caught smoking pot.
Report Abuse
02/09/2008 05:32:00

Guy up the row from us, season ticket holder, always brings his flask of whisky to the game, and sups away throughout the ninety minutes plus. Doesn't hide the fact, in fact he couldn't if he wanted to. By half time he's always got a decent buzz.
Report Abuse
28/09/2008 08:11:00


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