Grimsby Town fans thinking of taking pyro to Telford this weekend have been warned by the Mariners Trust to think of the consequences.
The club’s players have joined the appeal after a minority of supporters set off smoke bombs and flares at recent away matches, culminating in an incident at Altrincham which saw a flare thrown onto the pitch.
With an away match this Saturday, the Mariners Trust is urging fans not to repeat the scenes. Setting off smoke bombs or flares at football matches is illegal and can result in arrest, a banning order or even a prison sentence.
Terry Rudrum, Interim Chair of the Mariners Trust, said: “The Mariners Trust cannot condone the carrying of smoke bombs or flares into any football ground and will fully support any action taken by the Club to eradicate this unsafe practise. If it is a question of education we are more than happy to facilitate any meetings or written material necessary."
Team captain Craig Disley has also appealed to the fans on behalf of the whole squad. “We appreciate our fans passion and support, there is no doubt it lifts our game. However, we do not appreciate the use of smoke bombs or flares not least because the smell of the smoke and the smoke which is generated affects us on the pitch and can disrupt play.
“This happened at Altrincham when a promising attack was halted because of the smoke which was really annoying. We also want as many of our fans as possible to be able to support us, something they won't be able to do if they're caught using pyro.
“Please support us vocally and don't use pyro as part of following the team. Not only is it illegal, pyro never has been part of the amazing and unique identity of the Mariners support.”
The FSF does not back the use of pyro at games for three fundamental reasons:
- The majority of fans do not back its use. While pyro might have its supporters, we also hear from many fans angry that their view at the game has been blocked by smoke.
- Safety has to be a concern. Pyro use in the UK does not take place in a controlled environment and flares burn at temperatures hot enough to melt iron. Smoke bombs can aggravate breathing conditions and fans have been hospitalised after their use at games.
- Legality. Taking a flare or smoke bomb into a stadium is illegal and we've seen the full force of the law come down on fans. People have been jailed. We do not like to see young fans arrested, banned, and criminalised for offences that are easy to avoid.