Monday, April 25, 2011

Somerset Ragazzi, roughly translated, Somerset Boys.

A group of intrepid young Ayr United Supporters have banded together to form this supporters group and should be commended after a couple of incidents at Saturdays away fixture with Dumbarton.

by Marc Roseblade

Due to the age of most of the boys involved and their vocal support of Ayr United, it's sometimes perceived that these young men are 'Neds' or 'trouble makers' but their behaviour on Saturday belies that mindset, proving that instead of reacting to undeserved provocation from the local constabulary and stewards at the match, they held their heads high and walked away from trouble, just like Kenny Rogers sang about.

Many supporters witnessed the incidents and also commented that the boys have been unfairly dealt with.

Unofficial Ayr United supporters forum, HonestPage, has many eye witness reports perturbing to this, with honest fans calling for a boycott of Dumbarton's Strathclyde Homes Stadium in the future.

In what looked a pre planned initiative by the authorities, the fans involved had been asked to leave the nearby bowling club where they were enjoying a pre match drink along with many other Ayr United supporters, all of whom can verify that the lads involved were not causing any trouble.

After leaving the bowling club, they made their way to the ground under what seemed to be a police escort, waiting to pounce of the slightest little thing but again the supporters took the morale high ground, making their way towards the ground unperturbed and when trying to gain entry to the stadium, each one of them was searched with their flag unfurled, looking for what could be perceived as inflammatory remarks scribbled upon it but none was found and the boys were allowed entry to the ground.

What happened inside has incensed some of the other supporters as the group were once again pounced upon by stewards who eventually forced the group to leave the stadium before a ball was kicked on the park but not before the supporters names were taken by the on duty police officers.

One supporter commented," In an obviously preplanned move, 10 stewards and five police threw out about 15 young 'regazzi' fans whose only crime was being an enthusiastic Ayr fan. I can assure people that they did absolutely nothing wrong although the police may claim they refused to sit in the seats when they were told to. The game hadn't even started!"

The young lads involved were rightly annoyed at this happening to them, with one of them stating, "We were told when giving details if we didn't move on quick that we would be charged with public order offences. It was an easy pick for them, a group of teenagers, if it had been a group of say 20 year olds plus nothing would have been said, and for the argument of not sitting, it was before kick off and most of the stadium were standing at this point. We were also searched going into the game and chucked out of the bowling club by police for having a quiet pint, and where one policemen kicked over one of my mates pint deliberately then had a word with him for his 'attitude'. A senior officer who was there asked the two younger policemen if they had taken our details as we were 'potential causuals'. Policing at games is starting to get out of hand."

Other fans also feel that the lads involved were ripped off and robbed by Dumbarton football Club and deserve a refund with one saying,"It does cry foul from Dumbarton though allowing them to pay before ejecting them. If they didn't want them in the ground then they should have been refused entry. It's tantamount to theft."

The incident didn't dampen the lads enthusiasm though, they were there to support there team and watch them they did. After climbing all 557 steps up the Dumbarton Rock, up to the castle, they waved their flags, sang their songs and supported their team. One of the boys at the top was almost happy with the outcome stating, "Took a couple of picture up the top, will try and get them up. The day went from ending up one of the worst to one of the best away games we've had this season.The staff in the castle were brilliant. We all paid £2.70 to get up there and had some good banter with the staff and members of the public who were up there. We could see the game perfectly apart from about the first four feet of the pitch at the standside. The day could have ended up one of the worst we've been to and actually ended as one of the best away games we've had this season."

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