Police chiefs and officials at Chorley FC are going on the offensive to tackle football hooligans.
The Evo-Stik League has just published its fixtures for 2011/12 and it is feared the home games against well-supported FC United on September 10 and Chester City on February 4, 2012, could be hi-jacked by troublemakers.
This year’s game between Chorley and Chester in February attracted a crowd of more than 3,000 – but was overshadowed by violent clashes between rival supporters, which resulted in a string of arrests.
Both teams got promoted to the Premier Division and there has already been talk on social media websites, including Twitter, of “carnage”.
As a result, the police have already pledged there will be a “significant presence” on the day, and that they will be holding urgent talks with the club.
Chief Insp Richard Robertshaw said: “Chorley FC is an extremely well-supported club and the vast majority of their supporters are well behaved and go solely to watch the football. The problems during last season’s match against Chester City have been well publicised and a number of people are now being processed through the court system.
“Both Chester City and FC United do have a big following, and we are in the process of drawing up plans for the matches.
“We’ll be meeting officials at Chorley FC to discuss both fixtures, but at this stage we are planning for a significant police presence at both matches. From our point of view we want to make sure the games pass off without trouble and all the talk is about the football.”
Chorley FC chairman Ken Wright said there was no place for troublemakers at Victory Park.
He said: “Last season we had a few people jumping on the bandwagon, but they’re not Chorley fans.
“These are the ones we have to guard against. As soon as the fixtures were released we planned to meet with the police and that’s what we’ll do. The problems against Chester City were well publicised and we don’t want a repeat.
“The games against FC United and Chester City are likely to be the ones with the biggest crowds.
“We’ve hosted FC United before without any trouble, but back then they brought around 1,500 fans and we had 300 supporters.
“Now we’ll probably get in excess of 1,000.
“It’s important to say that these are only two games in the season. We didn’t have any problem in our end-of-season play-offs, which attracted crowds close to 3,000.”