FC Koln fans bring chaos to Emirates Stadium
Arsenal - FC Koln match delayed by an hour due to overcrowding fears
14 September, 2017 — By Koos Couvée
Thousands of Cologne fans gathered at Highbury Fields this afternoon
THERE was chaos at the Emirates Stadium this evening and Arsenal’s Europa League clash against FC Koln was delayed match delayed on safety grounds due to overcrowding.
More than 20,000 German fans had traveled to London, despite the club only having an allocation of 3,000 tickets, and the area around the stadium became difficult to manage for police. The game got under way an hour later than planned.
There were claims that hundreds of supporters of the German team had crammed into home seats having purchased tickets from touts.
Paul Cowling, reporting for the Tribune from the Emirates, said: “They opened the ground about 7.50pm, and there were loads of touts outside selling tickets.
“After 8pm, there was some scuffles when Koln fans got into the home end, but apart from that there’s been no trouble inside the ground. But apparently one Arsenal fan said him and his son and were removed because of safety concerns.
“There are around 700 fans in the home end and they bought tickets from touts. They let of flares and the fire brigade have put them out instantly.
“There’s about 100 riot police lined up but there’s been no further trouble, it’s just been very, very noisy.”
‘Very, very noisy’: the Emirates tonight
The Cologne fans had made the headlines throughout the day as they marched through the West End in huge numbers, blocking entire roads.
Police closed the two main bridges that form major access points to the ground around two hours before kick off. With thousands of Koln supporters filling the bridges and causing serious congestion it became difficult for fans with tickets to get into the stadium.
From around 6pm, thousands gathered at Highbury Fields, letting of flares and chanting. The atmosphere was positive, though some residents were angry about the mess the German faithful left behind.
Highbury resident Greg Clough posted on Facebook: “They were most unwelcome guests. Trashing Highbury Fields, and deliberately vandalising cars and road signs with stickers.
“I made the mistake of walking my kids home from school through the fields, and they ended up in tears.
“Arsenal need to stop selling tickets to away fans until they find a solution to the unruly crowds.”
There have been four arrests for public order offences, a Met said, adding: “We have a policing plan in place which is flexible, the game is under way and we will keep an eye on things down there.”