‘The stewards just laughed’: Newcastle United fan shares harrowing account of Elland Road melee

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“My wife asked one what he was going to do about it and he just laughed. Literally just laughed.”

A Newcastle United fan has described how stewards at Elland Road laughed in the faces of struggling Newcastle United fans on Saturday.

Both West Yorkshire Police and Leeds United have acknowledged reports of crammed crowd and distress from Newcastle fans as they entered the ground on Saturday.

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An investigation into the incident is currently underway with a number of Magpies fans sharing their experiences online.

NewcastleWorld spoke to one fan who was caught up in the melee at Elland Road about what he saw - below is his story.

NewcastleWorld has kept the identity of the fan anonymous.

They said: "It was just a normal day, we got to the ground at around 14:45.

"When you come in there's a penned-in area where the turnstiles are. We got there and there was probably 300 waiting to get in.

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"We'd be standing in the queue for a few minutes and it hadn't moved, word got around that the turnstiles were broke.

"In that time the crowd started to build up and you got more and more people coming in.

"Then as it got closer to kick off everyone was pushing forward, thinking by doing that they've got more chance of going in. Once everyone started pushing, the closer to the front you got everyone started getting crushed.

"I was there with my wife. I'm more used to it [crowds] from past times when we used to stand, but my wife is much smaller than me and she was getting pushed and shoved and squashed and quite frightened really.

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"I think the biggest point that we made afterwards was the lack of accountability from police and stewards. I wouldn't say they turned a blind eye to it but they did absolutely nothing to help the situation.

"The nearer the front you got the stewards were there but, no word of a lie, they were laughing about it. It made people more upset and angry.

"My wife asked one what he was going to do about it and he just laughed. Literally just laughed.

"There was another one saying 'I love Newcastle, I love Newcastle'.

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"I said, I'm not bothered how much you love Newcastle, we just want to get in. They just weren't getting it at all.

"From what we saw, the only thing they did was they had one man taking everybody's ticket and scanning it by hand. You can imagine how long that took.

"Rather than just doing something like physically checking the ticket and letting you through, they made everybody go through the one turnstile.

"You've got queues for four turnstiles getting in through that one area. You can imagine the problems caused.

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"It was 15:15 when we got in, but everyone got in at the same time and there was one stairwell coming down and they weren't moving anyone off the stairs. So once you got in you couldn't move, there was nobody controlling that either. It's amazing nobody got hurt.

"There were more people in amongst the fans trying to stop people pushing and protect people. My wife was in tears as she was really upset about it. It was distressing.

"Nobody took responsibility. Everyone just shrugged it off as if it was somebody else's problem.

"Between them, the stewards and police, one of them had to take control and, in my view, none of them did.

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"It could have been worse. There could have been somebody hurt badly.

"They cannot shrug it off and say it's one of those things they can't do anything about because the turnstiles are broken. They've got to have a plan in place for when that does happen."

A Leeds United statement read: "The club acknowledges the complaints raised by some Newcastle United supporters regarding issues experienced entering Elland Road on Saturday.

"Leeds United will now work with the NUST, West Yorkshire Police and our own safety team to review the issues raised and ensure we continue to provide a safe environment for everyone attending our stadium. We will not make any further comment until a review is complete."

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The West Yorkshire Police said: "We are aware of issues at the Leeds United v Newcastle United game at Elland Road on Saturday that resulted in congestion at the entrance points for away fans.

"We are currently liaising with the club to review the circumstances."

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