Letter to Bristol City Football Club Regarding Pitch Invasions
Bit of an interesting one, an out of place turn of phrase that genuinely took me by surprise as a neutral. The pitch invasion was a bit misguided in my view but it does show how much emotion there is in supporting your club regardless of expectation or actual achievement. Remember you can follow me @teekosey
BRISTOL CITY FOOTBALL CLUB
Ashton Gate Stadium
Bristol BS3 2EJ
I have decided to write this letter due to hearing what I believe to be a bizarre turn of phrase at a recent home game over the PA.
The match in question was the recent home fixture against Barnsley FC on the 21 April 2012. Being not a fan of either team competing I attended as a neutral. The reason for my attendance was due to visiting a relative who lives in the area (also not a fan). The game itself was somewhat dull. A distinct lack of quality from both sides was reflected in the general atmosphere. However I could appreciate the tension around me due to the requirement of the team to secure some sort of result.
The final score line as you are aware was 2 nil to the home side, which in turn secured Championship status for Bristol City. The incident I make reference occurred at approximately the 85th minute. At such time the match was won. Suddenly a significant number of fluorescently coloured stewards emerged and circulated around the pitch. It was obvious what they were there for. However it was the phrase spoken over PA that bemused me. He asked the fans not to invade the pitch at the final whistle as the players wanted to thank the fans with a lap of honour.
A lap of honour. An act usually reserved to appreciate a significant feat or achievement. In this case the avoidance of relegation to the League 1. Excuse me if I’m wrong but I do not believe that Bristol City were expected to fight against relegation this season. i.e avoiding the drop against all odds. I think that the majority of fans would have expected upper mid table and possible playoff in the right form. Something went wrong. Now don’t get me wrong the fans deserve thanking from the players as a mandatory gesture and whilst some of the reported celebrations were a bit bizarre (lofting player over head in particular, I think some fans got a little excited) this pitch invasion was caused by a sheer sense of relief more than anything.
The pitch invasion is usually frowned upon. The reason why in my opinion, is the safety of the players and to some degree the fans. I hate to say it but to dangle the carrot of a lap of honour by under performing players to prevent a pitch invasion is laughable.
In future I would recommend that you let the fans express themselves accordingly if safety is not a concern and let the player thank the fans accordingly if they see fit.