Following the dreadful scenes witnessed across Earlsfield on Saturday afternoon, and in particular along Garratt Lane where fans of AFC Wimbledon and MK Dons clashed in what has been described as a mini riot, we are writing to the police, the EFL, AFC Wimbledon and Merton council to insist that adequate steps are taken now to avoid future episodes of football related violence and disorder affecting our residents and businesses here in Wandsworth.
Saturday afternoon saw shocking scenes of violence and disorder on the Burtop Estate and along Garratt Lane following the match.
They occurred at a time when many young families living in the area were doing their Saturday afternoon shop.
Footage of these clashes has been published on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-aTRxZBhHw) and shows serious disruption in the area both before and after the match.
In view of what happened this week, we call upon the Football League, AFC Wimbledon and Merton council to ensure that such high-profile fixtures are never again played on a Saturday afternoon where there is any possibility of hooliganism and disorder.
The football club and council need to urgently review their procedures for the safe dispersal of fans after the game has ended.
On Saturday, it appears that rival fans were allowed to exit the ground at the same time. If this is indeed the case it should never have happened given the history of antagonism between the fans of these two clubs.
When the club was granted planning permission, despite Wandsworth’s objections, we predicted that Garrett Lane would suffer disruption and increased traffic congestion because away fans would almost always travel to the ground via Earlsfield railway station.
At the time both the club and council insisted that this was incorrect and that travelling fans would use Haydon’s Road railway station. Unfortunately because services are so sparse at Haydon’s Road we knew this was unlikely, and as Saturday has shown, we were right.
It is crucial now that steps are taken to ensure the future safety and well-being of nearby communities in both boroughs affected by Saturday’s dreadful events, and that above all we do not ever see a repetition of those events.
Cllr Jonathan Cook
Cabinet Member for Community Safety
Pictured: A still of football fans taken by PlaceHolder TV