Sectarian Coleraine FC yobs linked to West Ham firm out to wreak havoc at Cliftonville cup tie
Last Saturday so-called fans from Coleraine filmed themselves walking through a nationalist area of north Belfast singing The Sash
Sectarian soccer yobs connected to Coleraine FC have vowed to ignore their club’s pleas to behave and plan to wreak havoc in north Belfast next weekend.
Cops are on red alert ahead of the potentially explosive Irish Cup match next Saturday between rivals Cliftonville and Coleraine who meet in the IFA’S most prestigious competition.
It will be the third meeting between the clubs at Solitude in recent weeks and both previous games have been marred by ugly scenes outside the ground.
Last Saturday so-called fans from Coleraine filmed themselves walking through a traditionally nationalist area of north Belfast singing The Sash and sources say they were shouting other sectarian abuse which wasn’t filmed.
The highly provocative behaviour came just hours after Coleraine FC had issued a statement asking fans to start behaving better after the club was punished with fines for aggro at two matches last month – including one of the games against Cliftonville at Solitude.
Coleraine FC posted a club statement on their website last Friday after club officials were summoned to another disciplinary meeting by the IFA.
The club said: “Coleraine Football Club would like to make our spectators aware that members of the board and stewarding team attended a disciplinary meeting with the IFA.” closures
They went to say they had been punished with fines as a result of fan behaviour at two games last month and said they had been warned further fines would be issued and they would increase and if problems persisted the club may face ground closures.
They warned fans they would issue banning orders to badly behaved supporters, regardless of their age.
But their pleas fell on deaf ears and despite the relatively small number of fans watching Coleraine there seems to be a disproportionate amount of trouble caused.
The Sunday World asked Coleraine for a comment on the recent trouble and to ask how many banning orders they had issued to fans in the last three years.
In a short statement they said: “The club are actively dealing internally with any fan disorder that presents itself. We wish to make no further comment at this time.”
Now there are fears thugs from both Coleraine and Cliftonville will be out for revenge after last weekend’s ‘Sash Bash’.
They return to do battle again in the cup but it’s the battles in the nearby streets that will have the PSNI worried.
Coleraine hooligans, operating under the name of the CCA (Coleraine Casual Army), have long wreaked havoc in and around local grounds.
They have made allegiances with other hooligan firms in England – often finding common ground in far-right politics.
We have shown images of how thugs from West Ham and Hartlepool United have travelled to Northern Ireland to back up the CCA at big games.
But Sunday World can reveal a new group calling itself the Railway End Crew (REC) – named after the part of the ground they stand at – is behind the latest Coleraine bother.
We have seen video footage of the REC, sent to us by a fed-up Coleraine supporter, from last Saturday.
It shows the Coleraine thugs, wearing no club colours, marching through the streets on their way to the game singing sectarian songs.
They also attacked Cliftonville fans beforehand.
A group calling itself the Red Fanatics responded after the final whistle by breaking windows in one of the Coleraine supporters’ club buses.
“This is the problem,” said our disgruntled Coleraine fan. “They cause bother but it’s the innocent fans who end up getting hurt.
“No one wants them or their sectarian songs and these new idiots who want to cause mayhem seem to think the actions of the CCA before them are something to admire and copy.”
Rival fans of teams coming to Coleraine are regularly attacked at the train station or their buses are pelted with stones as they arrive into town past the loyalist area of Harpur’s Hill.
“So when we travel to away games there are always fans from the opposing teams who want to take revenge on Coleraine – and like I say it’s usually completely innocent, genuine fans who bear the brunt,” said the exasperated Coleraine fan.
There has long been a number of serious incidents involving the CCA which have been documented in this newspaper – some of them resulting in court cases.
Supporters of visiting clubs have been attacked frequently in and around The Showgrounds. Earlier this season Linfield fans were attacked at the railway station in the town as they tried to make their way home.
And the thugs have caused bother on their travels this season, most notably attacking rival fans of Larne and Ballymena.
Last October a picture of a Larne supporter with a bloodied face was posted on Twitter and he claimed to have been jumped by a number of Coleraine thugs.
Last September one of the club’s star players Jamie Glackin felt so upset by what he heard from the stands – from his own supporters – he felt compelled to post on social media about it.
Winger Jamie commented following a 2-0 win at home to Newry City: “Great win @ColeraineFC! makes for a good start to the weekend. Some serious terrible chants from some of our fans tonight which just isn’t on, there’s no room for sectarian chants in football whatsoever!”
Last season CCA thugs attacked Portadown supporters’ buses after their league game at The Showgrounds.
Back in 2019 the Sunday World published images of Coleraine fans joining forces with Hartlepool thugs at a pub in east Belfast where some fans gave Nazi salutes before going to cause trouble outside Windsor Park with supporters of Linfield.
In the same year four Coleraine hooligans were convicted of hurled shocking abuse – some of it racist and sectarian – at Larne players during a televised Irish Cup quarter-final away match in Larne.
Then, in the summer of 2020 Coleraine fans fought street battles with fans of Motherwell before a European tie at The Showgrounds.
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