POLICE described football fans’ behaviour as “disappointing” after trouble before, during and after last weekend’s South Yorkshire derby.
Almost 80 Doncaster Rovers fans were kicked out of town early on Saturday morning — more than five hours before their game against Rotherham United was due to kick off.
There was more trouble during the game, with several Doncaster fans ejected after violence towards stewards, fighting between fans in the home end and flashpoint after the match when had to intervene to keep Doncaster and Rotherham fans apart outside the New York Stadium after the match.
Police match commander Chief Insp Iain Chorlton said dispersal orders were imposed on 79 people after “intimidating behaviour” at a town centre pub, which he declined to name.
“Just after 9.15am we had a call from a member of the public saying there was fighting in a pub in Rotherham,” he said.
“We found a group of fans there and another group in the town centre.
“From intelligence we had, we had no doubt they were there to cause trouble.
“It was intimidation, both verbal and physical, to the point that some people left the pub — we believe it was their intention to clear the pub.
“How unusual is it that at 9.15 on a matchday you have two groups of fans in a town centre intimidating people.
“To disperse 79 people is very unusual but this was very focussed to these people and intelligence-led.”
He said further trouble had kicked off in the away end during the first half where there was a problem with a seating area becoming overcrowded.
This, Mr Chorlton added, “resulted in violence towards stewards” and about 20 people were ejected from the ground.
During the second half, more fans were thrown out of the home end after Rotherham fans were reported to be fighting amongst themselves.
After the game, there was a further incident for police to deal with, as a group of Rotherham fans managed to push over a metal fence keeping the two sets of supporters apart.
The commander appealed for anyone who may have witnessed violence and could help with the police’s post-match investigation to get in touch by calling 101.
He said South Yorkshire Police would work with Rotherham United to see what improvements could be made for future games.
“We don’t want to make it a really poor experience for people in the future because a tiny minority tried to spoil it for everyone.”
Four people were arrested on the day for offences including being drunk and disorderly behaviour and drug offences.