The Football Supporters’ Federation and representatives of a Sheffield United fans group will hold a meeting with South Yorkshire Police ahead of next year’s Steel City derby at Bramall Lane in an attempt to tackle some of the issues which overshadowed September’s visit to Hillsborough.
Amanda Jacks, the FSF’s director of casework, called for talks after hundreds of United followers missed the start of their team’s 4-2 victory over Sheffield Wednesday after being delayed en route to the ground.
As The Star reported last month, many of those affected believe the problem was exacerbated by the number of turnstiles which remained open to allow late-comers access; a claim subsequently denied by the authorities.
The discussions with SYP are designed to identify the source of the problem and ensure a more positive experience for those attending January’s return fixture. SUISA, United’s independent supporters association, are also believed to be taking part.
Matters set to be raised are likely to include a perceived lack of pre-match dialogue with those who travelled to watch the game, which Chris Wilder’s side won thanks to goals from Leon Clarke (2), Mark Duffy and John Fleck, crowd control measures and post-match public relations.
United had been set to host Wednesday on Saturday 13 January but the fixture has been brought forward to Friday 12 January (kick-off 7.45pm) after being selected for live television broadcast. December 23rd’s trip to Aston Villa, which now starts at 5.30pm rather than 3pm as previously advertised, was yesterday rescheduled for the same reason.
Meanwhile, United academy goalkeeper Marcus Dewhurst has been called-up by England for their forthcoming training camp ahead of next summer’s European under-17 Championship Finals.
Dewhurst, aged 16, has impressed for United’s under-18’s so far this term and Travis Binnion, United’s academy manager, told the club’s official website: “Marcus is progressing well, hopefully he impresses further during these sessions.”