• Premier League

Everton query Liverpool's derby crowd management

ESPN staff
January 30, 2014
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Everton are to raise concerns with Liverpool over crowd management at Tuesday night's Merseyside derby after complaints from fans.

A "significant" number of supporters have contacted officials at Goodison Park to claim they were penned against walls outside Anfield as they queued to get in to watch the match.

The Liverpool Echo has reported that one 13-year-old boy was injured by a police horse in the crush outside Liverpool's ground. Police have so far not confirmed this.

Many fans also complained that they missed around 20 minutes of the match as they waited for police searches and ticket checks before getting in.

Merseyside Police, though, insist they had warned fans before the game that they should get there early to allow time for the extra security checks.

Everton's director of communications Alan Myers said in a statement: "We are aware of a significant number of complaints regarding queue management from supporters waiting to enter Anfield at last night's derby match.

"The club will make contact with Liverpool Football Club to raise these matters."

Everton fan Kevin Morgan told the Echo that his teenage son Bradley was stepped on by a police horse before the match.

He said: "The police and stewards were pushing us back into a queue for the entrance, and a horse came in sideways.

"My little lad, Bradley, was squashed up into me, and the horse stood on his foot. The weight of that horse stood on my son.

"The skin came off his toes, and he's all bruised. He couldn't walk.

"I had to hold my arms tight around his chest to keep hold of him. If I had let go for a second, he'd have been scooped away in the rush.

"I'm a 52-year-old man and I was frightened. My son was only going to watch a game of football, and that happened. It shouldn't have happened and I'm fuming."

Fellow fan Rebecca Martin added: "It was chaos. People were getting angry and frightened. It had the potential to turn nasty. We were certainly getting physically crushed."

Chief Superintendent Carl Krueger, Merseyside Police's match commander on Tuesday night, said that with 15 minutes to go to kick-off, fewer than half of the 2,700 Everton fans attending the game were inside Anfield.

He said: "At 7.45pm, less than half the 2,700 fans in the away section of the ground had entered the stadium.

"This inevitably meant that a number of supporters who arrived close to the kick off time got to their seats after the match had started.

"Everyone was in the stadium by 8.15pm and I would like to thank people for their patience and understanding."

A Liverpool spokesman said: "As with every match at Anfield, we have procedures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all fans attending the game.

"We always advise that fans arrive at the stadium in good time before kick-off to avoid any delays or congestion in following these important safety procedures."

Kreuger, meanwhile, added that the police were continuing an investigation into reports that coins or other missiles were thrown at Liverpool striker Luis Suarez during Tuesday's game.

Suarez handed a coin to referee Martin Atkinson as he prepared to take a corner in front of Everton fans in the first half, and police believe other items were thrown in the Uruguay international's direction during that time

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