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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 January 2006, 16:17 GMT
Club tears down 'hooligan' fence
Work to remove fences at the Grange End, Ninian Park
Cardiff City are the last league club to remove fences
Cardiff City have become the last Football League Club to remove fencing between home and away supporters.

Saturday's match against Burnley will be the first fixture without a 6ft fence and netting dividing rival fans in Ninian Park's Grange End.

Fewer arrests among supporters have led to South Wales Police giving permission for the fences' removal.

It will be accompanied by a campaign calling on Bluebirds fans to end offensive chanting towards away fans.

Five years ago, Cardiff supporters had the most arrests, and football banning orders, of English football's 92 league clubs.

FALLING ARRESTS AT NINIAN PARK
2003-4: 19
2004-5: 13
2005-6 so far: Three

But police have now said the level of disorder involving Cardiff fans is comparable with most other clubs, leading police to approve the scrapping of Ninian Park's fences.

The fencing, consisting of a 6ft tall fence and netting for several feet above that, was removed on Thursday.

Bluebirds' fans groups welcomed the move as a sign the club's image, tarnished by hooliganism among some fans in recent years, had improved.

Gwyn Davies, of the Valley Rams supporters club, said: "I've been coming here for 40-odd years and I can't remember the last time there were no fences.

Leaflet opposing offensive chanting at Ninian Park
A leafleting campaign aims to stop offensive chanting by fans

"In my lifetime, I've seen the fences go up with the start of hooliganism and now, hopefully, I've seen the end of them.

"We want to encourage away fans to come here because it generates atmosphere, which is what football's all about."

Fellow City supporter, Paul Corkrey, added: "We're fed up with our reputation at City and it's time things changed. This is a step forward."

Chief Superintendent Bob Evans, of South Wales Police, said no special measures would be put in place for Saturday's visit of Burnley to Ninian Park in the Championship.

He said: "We will be monitoring the situation and offer stewards help if they need it."

Mr Evans added that taking the fences down was a "symbolic" move, reflecting the improved behaviour of fans.

Grange End, Ninian Park
The Grange End is divided between home and away supporters

He said: "Cardiff City's fans hadn't been the best behaved in the country, but we would give credit for the progress that has been made.

"For me, taking the fences down is a win-win situation.

"Fans get a better atmosphere to watch football, the club's family image will improve and if behaviour improves further, we will be able to take officers away from Ninian Park on match days and put them on the streets of south Wales."

The next three Cardiff City home matches will also see a leafleting campaign run by police and the club calling for an end to offensive chanting and "hostility towards the away fans".

Deputy chairman, Peter Ridsdale, said: "We stamped on violence here and now want to stop the obscene chanting and vitriol towards visiting supporters.

"The fences coming down and the leafleting campaign are all part of a package."


SEE ALSO:
Bluebirds value Jerome at 3.5m
11 Jan 06 |  Cardiff City
Club's deadline over new stadium
01 Dec 05 |  South East Wales


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