Football fans fume as police blow whistle on park party
IPSWICH: Upset England fans are already bemoaning a World Cup elimination – and the tournament is yet to even kick off.
Up to 20,000 supporters were set to descend on Chantry Park this month for what was billed as one of the biggest fan festivals of its kind in the country – but fears over crowd trouble have led police to break up the event before it got started.
Footie fans have been left frustrated by Suffolk Constabulary’s decision to disallow the event from going ahead during the group stage of the tournament, which begins next Friday in South Africa.
The festival was due to be launched with England’s opening game against the USA being shown on a gigantic screen the next evening. But concerns over the combination of heightened passions and alcohol consumption led police to show it the red card.
Three Lions fanatic Colin Farthing was one of thousands eager to attend the big-screen gathering on June 12. The 22-year-old, of Admirals Walk, Melton, said: “It was a super fantastic idea and I was looking forward to it.
“How often do we get an event like this round these parts? Now it’s been ruined by some kill-joys.”
The organiser’s website was inaccessible soon after the decision was made and is yet to reappear online.
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R&B star Lemar was due to perform after the game and plans were also in place for the games against Algeria on June 18 and Slovenia on June 23 to be shown.
But police were anxious that the potential for violent disorder and the possibility of anti-social behaviour was too great and are understood to have gathered intelligence suggesting a number of troublemakers could have been intending to turn up at the events.
A page dedicated to the event on social networking site Facebook was last night littered with scathing comments from disheartened fans, while The Evening Star also received messages of objection from readers.
Deputy manager of Ipswich bar and nightclub Pals, Rob Foster, said: “We will be showing all the games and we’re also offering customer’s packages.
“We have a zero tolerance on drunk behaviour and I think it’s good that the police saw the concerns there about drinking in the sun.”
Ipswich Borough Council said that it had no involvement in the event other than letting out the park to organisers.
n Will Ipswich be safer during the World Cup without the event taking place? Write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.
n To see more comments on the moves by police to axe the party go to the Star’s website www.eveningstar.co.uk
MIFFED: England fan Colin Farthing, pictued at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.