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  • David Tyrer

Liverpool & Everton fans express anger at proposed 'dispersal zone' for FA Cup tie

There will undoubtedly be a lot of emotions and tension on display in the massive FA Cup tie between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield but there always is on derby day.

Never has there been any serious trouble between the Red and Blue side of Merseyside on derby day though, despite any anger or 'banter' thrown from the stands between both sets of fans or directed toward the players on the pitch.

But Merseyside police have seemingly managed to anger both set of supporters with their actions today, as they are planning to implement an enforced dispersal zone at Anfield.

The plan is set to separate both sets of supporters outside the ground, with the Fan Zone being closed and the usual food bank location being moved.

The Liverpool Echo says that the club claims this is due to higher than usual demand for tickets from the away supporters.

But both sets of fans appear to be very unhappy with this, with fan groups Spirit of Shankly and the Blue Union expressing their disappointment over this decision.

Spirit of Shankly said, in their statement: "These actions are unprecedented and lead to wider implications.

"These implications include impact on the local community, the closure of the fan zone and the moving of the foodbank collections point.

"Wider implications include the view of football, Liverpool and Everton especially and the potential precedent for future matches between the clubs.

"We are not naive to assume that no issues arise for the policing, stewarding and health and safety of such games however we are led to believe there were just two arrests at the last game, neither for fan on fan issues, attended by over 54000 fans."

Whilst the Blue Union statement added: "The Friendly Derby is getting repackaged..... not for the better in our opinion. Integration is far better than segregation."

Many other fans have commented that the enforced changes are draconian and present the historically 'friendly derby' in a sinister light.

And while the atmosphere at derbies in the last 25 years has increasingly soured, it ignores the fact that many of the fans on both sides today will actually share a drink before - and after - the match, are friends, relatives, brothers, sisters, etc.

The police will feel that their changes to how the derby is policed today are warranted, considering the higher demaned, but as SOS states, the wider implications are worrying. Particularly if this is to be the way forward for future Merseyside derbies.

You can catch up with the full Merseyside police statement here.

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