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Blades statement regarding pyrotechnics

7 April 2015

United would again like to stress the Club's stance with regards to unacceptable behaviour by supporters at both home and away fixtures.


Recently, the Club handed bans of five years and three years respectively to two individuals found to be responsible for setting off pyrotechnics at Bramall Lane at last month's clash with Scunthorpe United.


The Blades continue to be pro-active in attempting to eliminate anti-social behaviour, particularly with regards to pyrotechnics. A joint operation with South Yorkshire Police commenced recently, following the installation of additional surveillance equipment at Bramall Lane and these bans are a direct result of this. It is expected that there will be further action as other offenders are identified.


A number of pyrotechnics and smoke bombs were discharged at Saturday's victory over Barnsley. The perpetrators have been identified and reported to the police, whilst United's managing director, Mal Brannigan, commented: "The incidents have been reported to the Football Association by the match officials and the actions of our 'supporters' could cost the Club both financially and in the form of sanctions, which we are obviously keen to avoid."


Saturday's incidents caused injury and damage to the clothing of several innocent Unitedites. Below is correspondence received from a Blade following flares thrown in the away end at Oakwell on Saturday...


Did you throw a flare on Saturday?


If so, please read this - particularly if you threw the second flare after we scored. I was sitting on the front row. To my left was my wife, my seven-year-old grandson and my daughter, together with a young disabled girl and her mother (who attend every game home and away.) To my right were two middle-aged ladies who I also see regularly at away matches. Compared to me, as mid-fifty-year-old, they were people who could reasonably be classed as 'vulnerable'.


As I turned round to face our fans, I saw your flare flying towards us. Fortunately I was able to push my wife out of the way and cover my grandson, and the flare hit me on the back, bouncing off my thick coat, singeing the fleece of the lady next to me, and landing on the gangway, so the only damage was to two coats. I realised afterwards, however, that I was extremely fortunate that the flare hadn't landed in my hood.


I am not judging you or demanding any punishment - that is for other people to decide. However, if you have been lucky enough to get away with it on this occasion, I would ask you to think very carefully about the possible consequences of what you did, and the serious injury you could have inflicted on one of YOUR OWN fans. Leaving aside the issue of a lifetime ban from the Club and other prosecution simply for throwing the flare, I want you to consider that, under very slightly different circumstances, you could well have been facing the possibility of a very serious charge and lengthy prison sentence, all as a consequence of a few drinks (perhaps) and the supposed 'thrill' of sneaking the flares in and throwing them.


I don't go to matches expecting to be surrounded by a bunch of saints who behave politely and don't swear. I do, however, expect my Club's fans to stick together and not act in such a way as to put fellow Blades in danger.


So think about it - is your matchday experience really enhanced by such actions? Or have you been lucky this time, and can you not only learn from it, but perhaps also tell your mates not to be so daft as well?


Pyrotechnic devices contain chemicals that burn at very high temperatures and are designed to be difficult to extinguish. They produce smoke that can cause breathing difficulties for everyone and are particularly dangerous for people with asthma. They're a serious health and safety risk for supporters and match officials alike, and a disaster waiting to happen.


The Club make no excuses for adopting a hard-line stance against anti-social behaviour and in particular those responsible for bringing in and letting off pyrotechnics at matches. If anyone has any information with regards to identifying those responsible, please contact us in confidence on info@sufc.co.uk


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