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Stoke ban Worcester News from ground for game with West Ham because newspaper is deemed a potential weapon
A WEST Ham United fan was stopped from taking his copy of the Worcester News into a Premier League football ground after guards branded it an offensive weapon.
Security guards at Stoke City Football Club confiscated the newspaper belonging to Chris Barmby, of Claines, in case he set it alight. Two guards stopped the 57-year-old retired firefighter saying he could not take it through the gates into the Britannia Stadium as it was the club’s new policy to ban newspapers to stop people using them as a torch.
Lifelong football fan Mr Barmby said: “It was absolutely ridiculous, what is stopping someone setting light to a club programme?
“I’ve been following football for years and years and go to a lot of home games and as many away games as I can and I have never heard anything so ridiculous.
“The worst thing was I hadn’t even read it.”
Mr Barmby travels to games with a group of West Ham fans from Worcester and is well known for carrying a copy of your Worcester News with him.
“I always take a copy with me to read on the train but we end up having a bit of banter and I stick it in my back pocket to read later.
“I told them I hadn’t read it but they said to stick it behind the fence and pick it up on the way back. I left the grounds out of another gate so I didn’t even get it back.”
Football hooligans in the 1960s and 1970s would allegedly roll up newspapers into a cosh-style weapon known as a Milwall brick.
Bryan Shaw, chairman of Stoke City Supporters Club, said it was the first time he had heard of someone having a newspaper taken from them at the grounds.
“I can’t contradict what they have said and I haven’t seen the new guidelines but it is unusual.
“The only thing I can think of is that there has been tension between the fans during the last couple of visits with West Ham fans trying to get to the other supporters.”
Stoke City Football Club did not respond to numerous requests for a comment. On the club’s website the list of banned items does not include newspapers.
However, it does state that any article that might be used as a weapon and/or compromise public safety would not be allowed into the grounds.