Ban the banning of the banners
Forest have banned fans (both Forest and Derby) from bringing banners to the City Ground for next Wednesday’s cup tie because it “could be inflammatory”. Yes, that’s what will be inflammatory. Not decades of bitter rivalry. Not two-way transfer traffic over the Notts-Derbyshire border in the last year. Not the most eagerly anticipated match on Trentside in recent memory. Oh no. A banner proclaiming support for one side or the other is bound to tip things over into anarchy.
“We will not tolerate violence or disorder and will deal with any troublemakers swiftly and firmly,” says Chief Inspector Knacker of the Yard, aka Steve Haylett, ‘match commander’. Fair enough, but since when has unfurling a banner counted as an act of violence or disorder?
The story came to light because a Sheep fan who takes his banner to every Derby game (pictured above) was sent an email by Forest telling him not to bring said banner to our game. Amusingly the banner apparently cost £1,800. You’d think he’d have wasted enough of his money following the team last season.
But the point is, who is really going to be that inflamed by a banner that proclaims Derby County are the ‘Super Rams’? And is it really worth telling Ebby that his famous banner will be missing from the lower Brian Clough Stand the first time in god knows how long? And what about our very own Flagman’s flag (right)? Surely the letters N F F C and the St George Cross will be on display in other parts of the ground during the game, so why can’t he show his support by flying his own flag?
Last week Forest thugs were lobbing severed sheep heads around the city of Derby. If the killjoys at Forest think an 8-metre banner is the worst that Derby fans are going to do in retaliation, they’ve got another thing coming.