Steward behaviour towards away fans

On Saturday 19 August 2017 at the Stevenage v Grimsby Town match there were a number of alleged incidents between away fans and stewards at the Lamex Stadium. This culminated in the Mariners Trust making an official complaint to Stevenage FC, the local council, police and a number of other bodies involved in supporter safety. The issues have received widespread publicity on national, local and social media platforms.

Follow this link to read the letter:

You might ask ‘what has this got to do with me’? If you attend football matches home and away then quite a lot. The allegations listed in the letter constitute an abuse of power and possibly criminal behaviour by stewards. The Trust has evidence of an increase in authoritarian behaviour and antipathy towards travelling fans by stewards at some away grounds, this is not acceptable. Remember, stewards are there primarily for your safety and not to act as a ‘third force’, every one of us deserves to be treated with respect at all football grounds.


  1. clive Stallwood says:

    I was at the Barnet away fixture and did not observe any inappropriate behaviour from the Stewards. I did observe some disgraceful behaviour from a number of our supporters who were refusing to sit down and crowding the stairways, a behaviour not uncommon as I have seen it before. Some idiot was letting off firecrackers, many were not watching the match but were obviously drunk and baiting the stewards and police. One even thought it was clever to place a sticker on the opposition goal-obviously some crew motif. It was a significant minority too and as I have said before it is not the first time that I have witnessed this.

  2. Bob Ashby says:

    I too was at the Barnet match with my wife.
    I have followed Luton for more than 60 yrs – home and away tho I live in Lincolnshire. As Clive says the behaviour of a yobbish minority totally spoilt the match for us. We were allocated seats at the back. We could barely see 50% of the match and when I asked for some consideration re the standing we were told – you should have bought tickets at the front. In fact, selection of seats was not available to us. The firecrackers, the drunkeness and the baiting all made me ashamed to be a Luton supporter. Never said that before even before and including the 59 Cup Final!

  3. Jackie English says:

    As a female if a male steward had asked me to do something like that I would have dragged him off to the nearest policeman and reported him, that sort of request is absolutely disgusting and totally unacceptable, I hope both the club and the police take this further.

  4. Paul Hargate says:

    Let’s face it Stevenage away ranks amongst the worst fixture of the season. Horrible place with terrible facilities and a very unfriendly welcome inside and out.
    Last year there was random searches and stewards standing plus openly laughing at our penalty appeals and losing late on. They did come in and clear the aisles which I am in favour of and agree with above comments. A lot of “fans” stay drinking until last possible minute then they just stand wherever being a pain. Sadly we are stuck with them but the Grimsby story takes Stevenage to an even lower level. All we can do is go up and leave them behind us.

  5. Maureen Barrett says:

    I too was at the Barnet match and while I agree that a minority of our supporters behaved badly most of them did not. As a disabled supporter I was unable to see the match because stewards were blocking my view and I was unable to move, my husband asked them to move and was told if he didn’t sit down and shut up he would be ejected from the ground and we were nowhere near the trouble.

  6. PETER GARDNER says:

    Owing to the incident at The Lomax Stadium Stevenage F.C on August 19th myself and my wife will not be attending the Stevenage V. Luton Town F.C fixture February 10th 2018. IMO it has to be the worst ground in L2 unfriendly stewards, food served near w.c’s and stewards obstructing view of the game in the family stand as well.

  7. George England says:

    Clive and Bob, you seem very quick to label a group of supporters without knowing them or the events that happened.

    Supporters in said area weren’t asked to move but we’re asked by stewards to leave a gap on the stairway.

    Nearly all incidents were caused by the heavy handed stewarding that we always experience at Barnet. Hence one gentlemen abusing the power of his luminous orange jacket being led into the adjacent stand by the Metropolitan Police. Funny how you missed that though, eh?

    There has been dialogue with the club about trying satisfy to both sides, perhaps by reserving the back few rows for supporters who like to stand and sing. I find it very hypocritical that you expect these fans to move out of your way, yet have no issue with sitting at the back of a stand and expecting everyone else to follow suit.

    This isn’t a theatre production. I am ashamed that you so heavily criticise those supporters who vocally back the side, these are often amongst the most loyal and regular going supporters and the atmosphere at games would be non-existent without them.

    • Agree with you George I was at the game too and was chatting to a police officer at half time and they put the blame on the stewards for not checking tickets on the stands before people went up the steps to a seat. Thus making sure supporters went to their allocated seat and would have prevented the chaos that ensued.

      You can ask OUR ticket office when purchasing a ticket for a seat/s front back middle side etc so there is no reason to be sat at the back if you do not wish to.

    • I was also at the Barnet game and unfortunately I found myself caught up in some of the ‘trouble’. As previously mentioned by George, a steward was led out by Police after he ejected a friend of mine. That friend was subsequently allowed back in the ground after CCTV footage witnessed by the Police showed that he was actually dragged out of his allocated seat while trying to exit to use the toilet.
      My allocated seat as determined by my ticket was also taken by a fellow supporter so I stood in the gangway to watch the game, and myself and everybody around me actually spoke to the people around us to make sure they could still see, and everyone told us they could. In fact the only time their view was obscured was when the stewards intervened. And there are plenty of stories, particularly from disabled fans, who complained that their view of the game was blocked by stewards and police who point blank refused to move out of their way.
      Towards the end of the game I tried to leave the ground slightly before full time as I was due to meet other friends in London that evening and tried to get a head start of the crowd. As I was walking along the front we gained a corner and I lent forward, slightly across the hoardings to offer my encouragement to James Collins. At this point I was pushed by a steward, and not expecting this I was slightly knocked off balance. I then remonstrated with the steward and explained he has no right to push me, and said the same to his supervisor who was stood next to him, however he completely ignored me and continued to stand like a statue. Another fan witnessed this and backed me up in my complaint and then the steward told me to “f**k off”. I complained to the supervisor again and gave a talking ‘hand movement’ gesture, similar to what you would do if creating a shadow puppet for a child, to convince the supervisor of what had just occurred. I then tried to exit the ground when I was surrounded by at least 4 police officers and nearly knocked off my feet as I was placed in handcuffs and arrested for racially aggravated section 5 public order. Naturally this was a complete a shock to me.
      I was taken to a local police station and interviewed under caution, saw the CCTV in my interview which showed me making no racial gestures whatsoever. I was released without charge at 03:30 and forced to make my own way home, and at this point I met with 3 other Luton fans who were also arrested yet released without charge for various other offences. I made a formal complaint to the IPCC about the false allegations made by the Police Officer who had clearly lied about the whole situation. While the steward was wrong to push me it’s also relevant to mention that when he made a statement to the police he made no mention of any racist behaviour/words/actions towards him.
      Unfortunately for me, the mere fact of being arrested for such an offence could cost me my job, which in turn could cost me my house.
      So I thank Bob and Clive for their comments, but I suggest that you actually try and get some facts straight before you hide behind a keyboard and preach God.

  8. Clive Stallwood says:

    My account of the events were accurate, and would not alter a word. I have been following the club for 34 years home and away for your information.

  9. Clive Stallwood says:

    Make that 44 years LOL

  10. Paul Ashby says:

    Having seen my 84 year old dad’s enjoyment of the 2012 play off final ruined by “supporters” who refused to sit down and several kids at Southend in April 2015 and Stevenage later that year denied a view of the game by similar “supporters” I would like to ask those “supporters” do you care about anyone other than yourself? Please don’t say you care about the Hatters because you just don’t get it… we’re a family club that look out for each other. Shouldn’t need to rely on stewards to look after our own.

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