Cardiff pub forced shut after damage by Bristol City fans
A PUB was forced to close for more than five hours after Bristol City fans turned over tables and damaged furniture ahead of Saturday's match against Cardiff.
The chairman of Bristol City Supporters Club & Trust believes the trouble ahead of the match in the Welsh capital was the result of too many fans trying to get into a pub designated for away fans.
South Wales Police were unable to confirm whether any arrests had been made following the disorder.
Hundreds of fans arriving by train for the match were escorted to and from the Cardiff City Stadium by police. There were claims that at least two fans suffered injuries in a crush following the match.
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Stuart Rogers, chairman of the supporters' club and trust, said the escort was one of the biggest he had ever seen, estimating that there were about 700 to 800 fans.
The Great Western pub in Cardiff city centre confirmed that furniture, light fittings and the toilets were damaged in the pub and that a flare or smoke bomb was set off inside the premises.
Mr Rogers, who was in the pub when the trouble erupted, said: "Some of the problems were brought up by far too many fans trying to get into the Great Western and in the end the police having to stem the flow.
"It was very crowded in there and it took a long time to get drinks.
"I think some of the younger fans got a bit boisterous and things started to spill over a bit and got broken.
"At just about the right time the police came in and nipped it in the bud. They cleared the pub and marched everyone to the ground."
Mr Rogers said there was no fighting and the situation was policed effectively.
Of the crush inside the ground, he said: "There were a number of surges forward towards the gates and it looks as if the gates had been opened but only partially and quite a lot of people tried to squeeze through.
"There were supporters and police saying to move back but obviously something not good happened to fans. There was one young lad and a lady on the floor and there was another lady also being attended to as well. I can only speculate as I don't know what happened, but can only guess they got caught in the crush."
He added: "I've seen far worse football matches.
"It doesn't mean I condone it and does not mean it is right. There is a risk this could have escalated beyond what really happened."
It was announced last month that the tie with table-topping Cardiff would not be a "bubble match" – a game considered by police to pose a greater risk of crowd trouble – and that fans could choose their own method of transport.
Matt Court said on Twitter following the incident: "A very small few ruined an otherwise good day out."
Eddie Gershon, spokesman for Wetherspoon, which runs the Great Western, said: "The pub was requested by the police to house the Bristol City supporters.
"The numbers arriving at the venue were much higher than anticipated and as such the decision was made to cease entry.
"A number of fans then forced entry to the venue at which point staff stopped serving.
"A smoke bomb/flare was set off in the pub and damage caused to furniture, light fittings and the toilets through vandalism.
"As a result, the police escorted the fans to the ground sooner than planned."
He said staff were shaken but no-one was hurt in the incident and the pub reopened at 4.30pm.