Steel City derby: Sheffield Wednesday respond to fan delays at away turnstiles

Sheffield United fans outside the ground 25 minutes after kick-off. Picture: @TheShorehamView
Sheffield United fans outside the ground 25 minutes after kick-off. Picture: @TheShorehamView
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Sheffield Wednesday has responded to turnstile problems which further delayed Sheffield United fans getting into Hillsborough stadium.

Hundreds of Sheffield United supporters, still outside the ground due to a previous police blockade, were initially ushered through two turnstiles on Sunday's Steel City derby.

Many Blades' supporters criticised the club for not opening more turnstiles and said some fans were crushed in queues. Others blamed a lack of communication between police and club officials on the Leppings Lane end.

Hundreds of visiting supporters missed up to 25 minutes of the first half which included goals from John Fleck and Leon Clarke.

But Hillsborough club bosses said they were informed of the late arrival of visiting supporters and opened extra turnstiles to accommodate fans.

One Sheffield United fan said he would be writing to South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings and Sheffield MPs Gill Furniss and Paul Blomfield about the incident.

Police outside the Leppings Lane away stand before kick-off

Police outside the Leppings Lane away stand before kick-off

Many caught up in the delays have also contacted fans' group the Football Supporters Federation.

United fan Joe Ridley, 20, from Chapeltown said: "I don't think there was much of a plan to be honest, there didn't seem to be any communication between the police and the club.

"I think the stewards on the turnstiles didn't know the amount of fans still not in the ground."

A Sheffield Wednesday spokesman said: “We were informed that a significant number of visiting supporters would be arriving late at the stadium given the emergency button on a nearby Supertram had been activated.

“In line with all fixtures, the respective number of open turnstiles was governed by the expected number of supporters, so as soon as we were made aware of the delay, additional turnstiles were opened.

“There was not a single reporting of any kind of threatening incident upon their arrival – indeed, the conduct of the delayed supporters was excellent.

“Supporter safety at our stadium on match days remains paramount and this was reflected in a successful operation working hand in hand with the relevant authorities before, during and after the derby match.”

The Football Supporters Federation has been contacted to comment.