Monday, 21 May 2012

The local policeman’s lament

I live in Fulham, half a mile or so from Stamford Bridge. So, as you can imagine, things have been fairly lively around here for the last couple of days.

Personally, I wasn’t too bothered about the victory parade yesterday. We’d been warned it was going to happen if Chelsea won the Champions League, and I made sure that I didn’t need to travel anywhere by car. As it happened, thanks to all the road closures (which lasted from early in the morning until the evening), it was blessedly peaceful around Sands End – though it’s true that the helicopters monitoring and filming the parade itself in the afternoon did disturb that peace somewhat.

The warning about the parade came from my local neighbourhood police liaison officer. I feel quite sorry for the poor man, as the police clearly took the brunt of the blame from locals who weren’t as relaxed as I was about the disruption to their weekend. In an email sent this morning, he says:

“As I stated previously the road closures were authorised by the council after an application by Chelsea FC, not the police. The police's job on the day is to prevent crime, disorder and also to assist in the safety of all those present.”

It’s the bit that comes next that caught my attention, though:

“I am not anti celebration, and if it was my team that had won I would also have wanted to see a parade, very unlikely however as I support Crystal Palace and we don't have a billionaire owner.”

After a few more paragraphs lamenting the fact that the police get it in the neck for any road closures that inconvenience the public, and urging his readers to take their grievances up with the council, gas board and so on, he signs off with a heartfelt plea:

“Finally, if anyone knows of a billionaire who is looking to buy a football club, please let me know, as I’m sure that I'll be able to put them in touch with the current owners of Crystal Palace.”

I suspect all of us who are occasionally confronted with the success of bigger, richer clubs know how he feels.

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