ABOUT 140 police officers were due to be on duty in Barnsley as the Reds took on Leeds United today.
More than 6,000 away fans were expected to travel to the town for the game at Oakwell and police have drawn up detailed plans to keep rival fans apart.
Leeds fans wanting alcohol and refreshments prior to the game were being asked to go to the Metrodome, which can take up to 1,000 supporters, or to get to Oakwell early and have a drink before kick-off.
Alcohol was not being served in the stadium during or after the game and kick-off was brought forward to 1pm to reduce the amount of time fans were able to spend drinking beforehand.
Chief Inspector Shaun Morley, of South Yorkshire Police, who was overseeing the policing arrangements for the game, said the game had been classed as ‘Category C’ – where there is thought to be the highest risk of trouble or disorder – but he said there was nothing to suggest any problems.
Speaking beforehand, he said: “We are expecting a significant number of supporters attending the match, but we do expect that everybody will have an enjoyable time.
“There’s no information or intelligence to suggest that any disorder will take place, but due to the high volume of people in the town centre and attending the match there will be a visible police presence for your safety and security.
“I do expect people will have a very enjoyable time but a word of warning – we will deal robustly with people who are excessively drunk in the town centre or trying to enter the ground.”
Because of the South Yorkshire-West Yorkshire footballing rivalry and because the games falls on New Year’s Eve – the policing operation for the fixture is expected to be the biggest this season.
Meanwhile, police in Doncaster preparing for the local derby between Rovers and Barnsley on Monday said it will be patrolled like any other high-profile fixture.
There will be extra officers in the town centre and pubs and bars in the town centre will remain open, but there will be some minor changes to some of their opening and closing times.
The game starts at 3pm.