Cambridgeshire

Cambridge United 1980s football hooligans 'out of retirement'

Dave Doggett Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cambridge United's chairman Dave Doggett insisted matches were still safe for fans

Football hooligans from the 1980s are out of retirement and encouraging the next generation to join their "gangs", Cambridge United's chairman has said.

In programme notes being released before the U's match on Saturday, Dave Doggett said problems had occurred since promotion to the Football League.

He said the club had identified 10 troublemakers, some aged in their 50s and 60s, and was working with police.

Cambridgeshire Police said it had seen a rise in football-related violence.

'Many are grandparents'

The concerns were raised as the club launches its campaign under the national Kick it Out umbrella to stop violence and antisocial behaviour.

Recent fights include a man suffering serious head injuries outside a pub in Southend.

In the match-day programme to be released at the home tie with Accrington Stanley, Mr Doggett says: "Unfortunately football clubs still attract an undesirable element of society that appear determined to ruin the enjoyment of real supporters of football clubs.

"Our promotion to the Football League appears to have encouraged our 'risk' from the 1980s to come out of retirement.

"Many of them are grandparents trying to encourage the next generation to join their 'gangs'.

"It sounds pathetic but unfortunately it is reality. We are working closely with police."

Image copyright Google
Image caption A fight between Southend and Cambridge supporters happened outside The Railway pub in Essex last month

He said problems had mostly occurred at pubs and not at the Abbey Stadium, which he stressed was still safe for families.

Many fans who caused problems in the 1980s are still banned from Cambridge's ground and others internationally.

Insp Steve Kerridge said disorder had risen among a small minority of people, adding events such as that in Southend were "sickening".

"The club is working hard with us to ensure that those who use football as a vehicle for violence and disorder have no place in the terraces or association with Cambridge United," he said.

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