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Gerry Dunn Interview

Thu, 1st Jan 2004 12:00am

Vice-Chairman Gerry Dunn takes everyone into the New Year with this extended interview, covering many current issues and topical supporters' questions...

Going back to the St.Mirren match in November, would you say there are lessons to be learned from the night? - There are definitely lessons to be learned. There are a number of things that we have decided to do in the wake of that, particularly for midweek games. These will now start at 7.45pm because I think some people had difficulty getting to the stadium on time. There might be some issues with cup games if a team has to come a long way but generally speaking our policy is now for the later kick-off time. We have made changes to the seating arrangements and we have also allocated away fans another turnstile. There's also now a contingency of opening an entrance in the South Stand so that we can accommodate an influx of late arrivals. Physically it just isn't possible to get the amount of people that turned up during the last 10 minutes before kick-off that night through the turnstiles in time so we have learned that lesson. When something like that happens it just has to be dealt with as well as can be but unfortunately on the night, in their efforts to get everyone in as quickly as possible, St.Mirren fans were allowed to come in via the Clyde turnstiles. This was done with the best of intentions but it actually made the situation worse because it meant that the segregation was lost and it turned a situation that was awkward into one that was potentially bad. Looking back on it, the complaints that we received were more about that rather than the delay to get in. At the time I thought that if the kick-off had been delayed it would have solved the whole problem but a delayed kick-off is not something that the Police or the football authorities like to do unless it is absolutely necessary. If the match commander thinks that there is a problem he will ask the referee for a delay, which he did do that night, and the ref will then decide whether or not to do this. If the players have started doing their warm-up then the ref is concerned with the players' safety so it's likely that he will turn down the request. This was the case that night although the ref did give a couple of minutes grace. The match commander can insist on a delay if he feels there is a serious threat to public safety but on this occasion he didn't. Some fans had a bad experience and I think the club should apologise to all these people.

The statement released at the time perhaps wasn't received by the fans as it had been intended?