Birmingham City v Aston Villa: West Midlands Police 'did not approve' derby clappers

Ahmed Elmohamady of Aston Villa removes debris from the pitch during Sunday's second city derby
Ahmed Elmohamady of Aston Villa removes debris from the pitch during Sunday's second city derby

West Midlands Police say that they did not approve the handing out of free clappers for Sunday's Birmingham City-Aston Villa second city derby.

The game was constantly disrupted by stewards having to clear the pitch of the clappers and other projectiles.

Villa boss Steve Bruce, formerly the manager at St Andrew's until 2007, labelled it a "ridiculous decision".

But, although City have since claimed that they had official approval, West Midlands Police now refute this.

In a statement on Twitter, the force said: "Contrary to media reports, West Midlands Police did not give permission for clappers at the Birmingham City v Aston Villa derby on Sunday.

The cardboard clappers, held together by an elastic band, "weighed like a rock" when thrown from distance, claimed Villa manager Steve Bruce
The cardboard clappers, held together by an elastic band, "weighed like a rock" when thrown from distance, claimed Villa manager Steve Bruce

"The force first became aware of the club's intentions on Friday when asked whether the clappers should be placed on seats near the away fans.

"Although it is not for the police to give permission - it is down to the club - our advice was not to distribute them."

Stewards had to be brought on to clear the pitch of the clappers, and other missiles, including a plastic bottle which fell near Villa keeper Sam Johnstone.

A Villa official also confirmed that midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady had handed over a coin that had been thrown at him.

Both rival managers Bruce and Steve Cotterill questioned after the game whether the clappers, which are regularly handed out as merchandising tools at big cricket matches, are suitable for football.

"That is a decision the club will look at in the future, I am sure," said Cotterill.

Bruce said: "Whoever made the ridiculous decision to have clappers here obviously doesn't know the Birmingham-Villa game. The Blues fans don't need clappers to get themselves up for this game."

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