Vale make the short trip to The Alexandra Stadium tomorrow afternoon in the EFL League Two. This fixture comes 127 years after the two teams’ first meeting in 1892, where Alexandra were defeated 4-1 by their Staffordshire neighbours.
In a survey outlining the top rivalries in English Football, this clash has been ranked as 14th above both the Tyneside and Manchester derbies.
Formally named Burslem Port Vale, The Valiants will be hoping to knock Alexandra off the top of the league tomorrow. But officials around the area are concerning themselves with the safety of fans involving the tense meeting.
Road closures have been planned for around The Alexandra Stadium and Rail House, and Nantwich Road will be closed between Crewe Arms roundabout and Mill Street. These changes have said to have been made to allow Vale fans a safe exit and entry to the stadium, with a large crowd being expected in the 3pm kick off.
However, some fans aren’t happy with these arrangements, as @abmj says on twitter “Great! I should get to the game (I think) but I have a long walk into town for my evening bus.”
It appears these precautions are essential, as when the teams met on Monday 2nd April last year, chaos broke out before and after a 2-2 draw at The Railway Men’s stadium. The game involved fighting on the pitch with videos showing police attempting to drag revellers off the pitch, some carrying serious injuries.
A young women needed medical attention as she suffered an asthma attack due to smoke bombs being released outside of the stadium. Two men were arrested for public disorder and assault after the disturbing scenes were seen all over twitter.
This morning at 5.30am, the social media app was used to project a message for the fans. A collection of Crewe and Port Vale staff and players were featured in a video asking supporters to behave themselves.
Vale manager John Askey is heard saying “we want the fans attending the game at Gretsy Road to enjoy the game and feel safe at all times” with the Vale defender James Gibbons adding “No one should feel endangered when attending a football match.” Ryan Wintle ended the short video with the words “Have consideration for the safety of people around you.”
If you are attending tomorrow’s match, please take care, stay safe and enjoy the game. Who doesn’t love a derby?!