11 Mar 2020 by John Edwards

Board update on arrangements for the visit of Chester

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Altrincham FC director BILL WATERSON details, here, security plans for the visit of Chester and explains why they have been deemed necessary by the club to ensure, as far as possible, the fixture proceeds without incident.

In 10 days' time, we will welcome Chester to The J.Davidson Stadium for our much-anticipated Vanarama National League North game.

There is, unfortunately, a recent history of a small number of Chester fans causing trouble at this fixture, most recently in the FA Cup replay earlier this season. In light of this, we have decided to take significant steps to allow both home and away fans to watch this game in a secure environment, without fear of violence or intimidation.

Therefore, and to state the obvious, strict segregation will be in place, with Chester fans being housed in the Chequers End and in the Family Stand. No Chester fans will be given access to the Main Stand or to any part of the ground occupied by Alty fans.

Sponsors will be sat in the Main Stand for this game, leaving the Family Stand for away fans only.  We will sell tickets in advance to Chester, mainly e-tickets but also a small number of paper-based tickets for the non-digital Chester fans.

If we have sold fewer than 1,000 tickets by match day, away attendance will be capped at this number. If we exceed 1000, we will also allocate strictly segregated space on the Popular side to Chester fans, with an absolute ticket limit at 1,500.

Chester took 877 fans to York, and our planning was based on this number being exceeded for their visit to Moss Lane.

We will have somewhere between six and eight scanners to process e-ticket entry, split evenly between home and away ends, and at least eight turnstiles open and working, four of which will be at the away end.

We will have a rigorous search regime in place to prevent alcohol and flares being brought into the ground, and we will learn lessons from our friends at Portsmouth on how to carry out such searches.

There will be a strict ban on alcohol sales in the away end, and no food or drink will be brought into the ground. 

We have been in touch with both Greater Manchester Police and with Cheshire Constabulary. There will be a police presence at the ground for the game, supplemented by “spotters” from Chester, and they, in particular, will be used to prevent Chester fans gaining access to the home end.

In addition, we will supplement our normal stewarding team by around a dozen additional professional accredited stewards.

We hope all of the above will reassure you that we are taking all the necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of recent trouble.  Can we ask you to play your part in this?  Can we ask as many of you as possible to purchase e-tickets, and to do this as early as possible?  This will help us in planning numbers and speed your entry to the ground. 

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