Pub shuts up on match day
A TOWN centre pub has said it has been forced to close its doors amid fears of football violence ahead of Swindon’s game with Coventry this afternoon.
When landlord Jonathan Crisp of the Glue Pot, in Emlyn Square, realised sections of both Swindon and Coventry supporters may be descending on them before the game, he took the decision not to open for trading until 3pm, when the threat will be over.
It comes as extra police officers are drafted in to cover the game following disorder at last year’s League One match between the two sides. Five supporters were hurt when they were ambushed by a large mob after the match at Swindon and several were treated for cuts and bruises by paramedics.
In a post on Facebook, the pub advised its regulars they were not prepared to risk damage to the venue for the sake of three hours of trading.
Jonathan said it was a disappointing scenario, as the pub has had a long history of welcoming both travelling and home supporters before games at the County Ground.
“We normally have quite a nice group of visiting fans from whichever club it is on the day, because people tend to come here for the real ale. We have never had any problems in the past. We have an excellent group of Swindon supporters who come here every home game.
“Very often they come along with the visiting supporters who have come for the very same reason, and it is all very amicable.”
Jonathan said he was tipped off that his pub was in the sights of some of the hooligan sections of support, and made his decision promptly.
“The problem is I am led to believe that the undesirable elements of Swindon fans have made arrangements with the undesirables from the Coventry support and have chosen here as a venue,” he said.
“It is just not worth the trouble for three hours trade. We have got Christmas to think about after all. I suppose the bonus will be that I will be able to have a lie in.”
But Jonathan does not expect this to be a regular scenario.
“I am sure it is just a one off so we will nip it in the bud and will be back open as normal for the next game,” he said.
Wiltshire Police football intelligence officer PC James Neighbour said he had spoken to all pubs near the train station amid tightened security for the game.
He said: “There was some disorder after the game last year and this has elevated what is an otherwise low-risk match to one needing extra officers on duty. There was no history of violence between the two prior to last year.
“It will be a busy weekend in town anyway and we are expecting around 1,400 or 1,500 Coventry fans to travel down for the game.”
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