Extra police to tackle football thugs

Young Edinburgh City fans make trouble at a McDonald's

Young Edinburgh City fans make trouble at a McDonald's

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A SEMI-professional football club has drafted in extra police and security to control a group of yob supporters calling themselves the “Edinburgh City Ultras”.

Edinburgh City, who play at Meadowbank, have called in reinforcements and banned under-18s from attending home matches without an adult after the teenagers allegedly caused trouble at a match against Gretna.

The 'Ultras' set off a smoke bomb during a match at Meadowbank

The 'Ultras' set off a smoke bomb during a match at Meadowbank

One match – attended by just 106 supporters – had one police officer or steward for every eight fans.

The hooligans set off pyrotechnics at a match against Lothian City and in another incident invaded a McDonald’s restaurant by jumping on to tables and chanting.

On another occasion, they refused to leave Meadowbank stadium in protest after extra stewards were brought in – shouting “all cops are b*******”.

The club, which plays in the East of Scotland Football League, released a statement which said: “Like every other club, Edinburgh City is grateful for the support it receives. However, on more than one occasion recently, the behaviour of some younger fans has fallen short of acceptable standards.”

The additional security, which will be in place at the final two home matches against Gretna and Stirling University, is thought to have cost hundreds of pounds, which the club can ill-afford.

Manager Gary Jardine said: “It’s just a real shame. We’ve always had a really small support but then some kids aged between about 13 and 18 started coming along to games and the numbers grew.

“It’s been two different groups, one from Portobello and one from Musselburgh. In the main they have been great – they let off one of their smoke bombs at one of the matches, the club had a word with them and that stopped. But I think there was then a couple of incidents at a game against Gretna.

“I spoke to the players at training about it and they were really disappointed.”

A source said: “Edinburgh City have attracted a lot of teenagers that call themselves the Ultras. They seem to be basing themselves on the Juventus Ultras because both clubs wear the same colours, black and white.”

But midfielder Dougie Gair wrote on Twitter after under-18s were banned from attending without adults: “Shocking decision whoever has made it! All the boys loved you guys.”

Meadowbank Councillor Alex Lunn said he was “appalled” by the fans’ behaviour, while police confirmed extra officers would be attending matches.

A spokewoman for Edinburgh Leisure, which runs the stadium, said: “We are working closely with the police to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all spectators at Meadowbank.”

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com

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