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Sunday, April 30, 2006


"You look like you're in a party mood, we'll put a stop to that, go over there and we will strip search you."

Last match of the season is always a bit of a party, even more so if it is away. Today was going to be no exception, even if the West Midlands Police were going to do their best to dampen it down.

Unfortunately, it is not really possible to go into the happenings of today without a bit of a history lesson, so here goes. Back about 5 years ago Cardiff had one of the worst, if THE not worst, reputations for football hooliganism (or best reputation, depending which way you look at things). Then along came the Valley R.A.M.s (Rhondda Aberdare Merthyr, also top sheep shag*rs) supporters club. The RAMS were far more liberal than the official supporters clubs in terms of what you could do on a bus, hence the official busses becoming known as the ‘Pop and Crisps’ crew and tending to be for families. The RAMS became so popular that very soon a lot of ‘lads’ who would previously never have been seen dead on an official coach started travelling with the RAMs and the RAMS quickly became bigger than the official supporters club. The whole set up was to the benefit of all concerned, the boys could get to a game without the hassle of changing trains or someone having to drive and still partake of some ‘refreshments’; the majority would be on the coaches so the police knew where everyone was and could get us in and out of the ground without conflict with the home fans; and the local community did not have to put up with hundreds of cars parked everywhere.

Despite the fact that the RAMs were doing the police a favour, increasingly those travelling by coach were getting a rough ride, not allowed to stop off at pubs, having to meet at an RV point, coaches being thoroughly searched, escorts away from the ground (on a couple of occasions all the way back to Cardiff!) and generally being treated like cattle.

Then there was Wolves away a couple of weeks ago. West Midlands police (WMP) decided that the famous Cardiff City would not be allowed to have a drink at half time. The city fans made a bit of a song and dance about it… literally! The WMP riot squad quickly moved in and battered those that had been singing and dancing in the bar area, pushing everyone out on to the terraces and causing chaos which delayed the second half of the game. Initially the media was full of ‘Soul Crew cause chaos at Wolves again’, but it soon became clear that just about everyone involved blamed the police, and an official investigation was set up.
Western Mail coverage
Police: 'We don't want City fans here again'
Mum-of-three: Police gave me a black eye
City fans demand reasons for match violence

On to the Coventry game, again to be policed by WMP. They had wanted to make it a ‘bubble’, whereby you have to go by coach and have to go where the police tell you, when they tell you and you get a voucher to be exchanged for you ticket on the coach, so if you do not go by coach, you do not get a ticket. This makes life difficult for all the fans that travel from other parts of the country to see City. On this occasion the club brokered a deal whereby you could travel however you wanted but you had to exchange a voucher for a ticket at a service station on the M6, which would make life difficult for those not coming via the M6 and did not have a car (train boys for instance). The RAMs did not think a lot of this deal, it was the worst of all worlds and benefited no-one. It did not help knowing that the police were going to search all the coaches and generally treat everyone like cattle.

A meeting of the RAMs was held and it was generally felt that the police had had enough help off us and to prove a point the RAMs would not run busses to the game, everyone would travel independently and in doing so avoid having the vehicle searched, would be able to have a drink on the way, stop wherever we wanted and generally have a good day.

The police were not happy, they now had a situation where they would not know where we were, we would be spread out and we would be drinking. Their plan to contain us had resulted in the potential for mass unrest, but it was all of their own doing.

Watch this space to find out how it went!

For official RAMs statement >click here<


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