Lincoln City earned a brilliant point on the road with a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday over the weekend, but the result was tarnished by crowded trains, fan troubles and some supporters not even making it to the stadium.
The Imps took over 3,000 fans to Hillsborough on Saturday, October 23, for their League One match with Sheffield Wednesday, and it was a fantastic result for Lincoln who earned a 1-1 draw thanks to Lewis Montsma’s late goal.
However, it was a day that will be remembered for what happened off the pitch more than anything else, as fan rivalry reached boiling point at times in Sheffield.
There have been multiple reports of fans being refused at the train station and told to go home, despite showing South Yorkshire Police officers their tickets for the game.
As well as this, fans were apparently crammed into train carriages that were not prepared for the volume of Imps supporters coming to and from Sheffield for the game, while some were refused a spot on the train at all.
Northern Rail has said that it was using “all available resources” to transport travelling fans to Sheffield, and confirmed services were “extremely busy” on the day.
There was trouble inside the ground also, with multiple supporters saying that an Imps fan was struck on the head with a flare that had been thrown from the away end containing over 3,000 travelling Lincoln fans.
Gary Hutchinson of The Stacey West Blog gave his perspective of the day, and described the atmosphere within the city of Sheffield in the build up to the match as not “entirely pleasant”.
He wrote in his review of the game: “All of the stories I’m hearing are about Lincoln City fans, and that’s just not fair on the 99% of honest fans who want to sit or stand, drink and sing or watch and observe.
“It’s not fair on the club either, who will have to start paying money to have games policed. You’re not just affecting families in Sheffield; you’re clearly affecting other supporters, those sent home and those who sit in the stands in silence because if they speak up, they’re scared of getting shouted at or worse.”
South Yorkshire Police have been accused of treating Lincoln City fans “like animals” as hundreds of supporters were herded at Sheffield train station before being asked to turn around and go home.
A large police presence could be seen outside the train station, after reports of bottles being thrown by Lincoln supporters, though these reports are totally unconfirmed and it is unclear if any arrests were made.
Utterly disgusting behaviour at Sheffield Station from @syptweet. You’re not policing bad behaviour, you’re just producing it. You wouldn’t police the rugby like this. Want to apologise to Lincoln supporters on behalf of our wonderful city and its people. #ImpsAsOne #swfc pic.twitter.com/4ZhfrAOFY1
— Declan Kenny (@declankenny94) October 23, 2021
SYP’s only mention of proceedings as yet is a reply on Twitter about a police horse slipping on tram tracks after dealing with a disturbance near Hillsborough, saying that both the horse and the officer are now fine.
Lincoln City supporters group the 617 Squadron took to social media calling the scenes “absolutely disgraceful” and said what happened today “wasn’t legal and wasn’t right”.
Imps Chief Executive Liam Scully posted on Twitter to say that he is pushing for a “full and transparent review of action taken”, and has encouraged any supporters who missed the game to email [email protected] with a full account of proceedings.
The Lincolnite has contacted South Yorkshire Police for a statement, but are yet to receive a reply at the time of publication.