Football fans urged for best behaviour

PORTMAN Road's security force today said they would be eagle-eyed during tonight's game to make sure any violence was nipped in the bud.Following the recent spate of attacks involving Ipswich Town supporters, police have been put on red alert for the visit of Cardiff, whose fans have a less than squeaky-clean reputation.

PORTMAN Road's security force today said they would be eagle-eyed during tonight's game to make sure any violence was nipped in the bud.

Following the recent spate of attacks involving Ipswich Town supporters, police have been put on red alert for the visit of Cardiff, whose fans have a less than squeaky-clean reputation.

Portman Road will be closed to home fans and the public for a short time after the match to allow officers to escort the away supporters from the ground.

And Ipswich Town's safety officer, Mick Warden, whose team has 48 cameras around the stadium, said they would be on to anyone breaking the rules.

He said: “We are watching you if you are doing anything wrong. We have tried and tested procedures and contingencies in place. We are not complacent for any match.”

Mr Warden said he had not received any intelligence to suggest there would be trouble and was not expecting large numbers of away fans to make the trip to Ipswich.

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He said he anticipated that many fans may shun tonight's game to save money for the Welsh club's titanic FA Cup Final clash next month, but he insisted he was not taking any chances.

He added: “Cardiff do have a poor reputation but we are only expecting around 150 to 250 supporters. They have caused problems in other matches. A few hundred fans can cause as much of a problem as any.”

Ipswich Town fans have been involved in a worrying spate of attacks, including an incident when up to 50 supporters including children were mobbed by Queen's Park Rangers followers in Manningtree.

This followed a disturbance involving Charlton fans last month on a train from Norwich to Liverpool Street, which resulted in one London man being charged with criminal damage.

One Ipswich man also faces prison after admitting attacking a rival fan following a defeat against Watford on February 9.

As a result, people attending tonight's game are being asked to be on their best behaviour.

PC Marc Norman, Suffolk police's football intelligence officer, said: “Our message is simple - enjoy the game, stay onside and don't spoil it for others.”

The turnstiles and stadium bars will be open from 6.30pm and kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Have you been a victim of football violence? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk