Over the last few years Huddersfield Town have been building a tremendous reputation as a “Football Club” that cares. Awards such as “Family Club of The Year” have been gained through hard work and determination. The now annual “peddle for pounds” is another demonstration of the admirable qualities to be found amongst the Terrier’s faithful. The fantastic amount raised by Town fans for the Bradford University Burns Research Unit is yet another example of Huddersfield Town Supporters showing concern and compassion for “rival” supporters.
I mention this because it helps to put into perspective the disappointment and sadness I felt when I was contacted recently by the Grandparents of two young Town fans. They told me that they had had the misfortune to be in the rather confined concourse area at an away ground when a group of young men ignited a smoke flare. What might have been a bit of a joke and high spirits for some people proved to be a very distressing experience for a young Town fan who suffers quite badly with asthma and other associated respiratory problems.
I am sure that most Examiner readers will understand why I feel so very disappointed that all the great initiatives mentioned in my introduction can be undermined by just a few seconds of thoughtless, disregard for the safety of others.
On the February 8th 2015 Huddersfield Town issued a lengthy statement backing a “supporter education campaign” about the danger of pyrotechnics at football grounds.
Flares are used for marine distress and are designed not to be extinguished easily or quickly. They contain chemicals and burn at temperatures of 1600°C, the melting point of steel. Smoke bombs are mainly used recreationally in paintballing and war games, but these also burn at high temperatures and are designed to be used in wide open spaces. They are dangerous for those with asthma or breathing difficulties and can cause panic in a tightly packed crowd. They are not designed for use in confined spaces and it is illegal to enter a football stadium with one and set it off. Football supporters risk jail sentences and banning orders for just being in possession of these pyrotechnics.
Fireworks and coloured smoke might look spectacular but anyone who witnessed the fire, smoke and flashing lights of the emergency services at Valley Parade will tell you that a few minutes of fun is simply not worth the years of heartache and loss.
HTSA members travelling to Birmingham will have a chance of winning £170 in the HTSA free draw. To book your seats please text or cal Rachael on07905580784.
Members £12:50, Non-members £14:50. Departing from the John Smiths Stadium at 10:45.