N is for noisy
The meeting about all things stewarding, demanded by fans when the Judas posters ejections brought concerns to a head, lasted two and a half hours and certainly bridged some gaps.
Most importantly the drums are back! Admittedly we are only allowed snare drums but the fans present saw this as a major concession. Block N is also to be advertised as a noisy section and anyone that buys tickets for it will be forewarned.
A group of passionate supporters voiced their opinions on real events and also fans' perceptions. For instance, the common feeling that for some time John Westwood has been targeted was denied strenuously by the Club. The perception that the Club have 'pressured' the 'old school' supporters by excessive pricing and strenuous stewarding to make way for the new 'applaud politely' type, was also rigorously opposed. Explanations were given on individual stewarding incidents in several games but the emphasis of the meeting was on generalisations. The Club was warned repeatedly that their actions or the perception of their attitude was driving fans away.
Club Safety Officer, Derek Stone, Mike Turner, (acting SO for the Spurs game) and Match Commander, Dave Peacock, along with Peter Storrie and Lucius Peart, were all present and tried to put the Club's side of things. Despite at times being drowned out by the passionate responses of the audience, they persisted with their attempted explanations, admitted that they did sometimes get it wrong but assured us that they were determined to work with us in order to get it right. They offered to allow fans' representatives to attend pre-match briefing for both stewards and police. They also will look at the possibility of an anonymous way of reporting over-zealous stewarding, possibly by text message.
Those officials present certainly took some criticism but took it well and showed an interest in finding ways to improve the situation. They showed a willingness to listen and an inclination to put things right. All in all two and a half hours well spent.
PLAY UP POMPEY!