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Pubs welcome more away fans for Norwich City games stopping in Dereham but councillors warn there must be measures

PUBLISHED: 16:03 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:03 30 August 2018

The traveling Leeds fans celebrate their side's 3rd goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 25/08/2018

The traveling Leeds fans celebrate their side's 3rd goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 25/08/2018

Paul Chesterton

Pubs in Dereham have welcomed more away football fans stopping in the town before games against Norwich City but councillors have warned that appropriate measures must be in place to deal with groups of supporters.

Dereham market place. Picture: Ian BurtDereham market place. Picture: Ian Burt

This comes after Chorley Council, a small town in Lancashire, wrote to clubs warning their fans to stay away from the town on their journey to games against Bolton, Blackburn, Preston, Burnley and Wigan, which provoked a strong backlash.

Like Chorley, Dereham is used as a coach stop for travelling away supporters on the way to watching their team play and fans often get off at Dereham to visit the local pubs before departing for Carrow Road, as followers of Leeds United did on Saturday, August 25.

Vicky Evans-Melo, who has managed The Bull for more than 10 years but will now be moving on to The Gemini, said: “For the last few years we have had Leeds fans and Nottingham Forest fans visit the pub. They can be a lot to deal with but they do come in and drink a lot and we’ve never had any trouble. I think it’s a really good thing.”

Serafim Melo, current manager of The Gemini, said: “We’ve had quite a few away fans visit, last season we had Middlesbrough fans. We want more to be able to come in and visit.”

The Bull, Dereham. Picture: Sophie SmithThe Bull, Dereham. Picture: Sophie Smith

However, district councillor Alison Webb has called for appropriate measures to be in place and suggested a trial period may be suitable if more groups are to visit.

She said: “Football fans, in my experience, are well behaved and usually there is not a problem. As long as they are well behaved, the pubs know they are coming and there are measures in place to ensure that there are no issues, they could support local business.

“It might be a good idea for a trial period of about three months. I think we have to look at these things to see if they work.”

Mayor of Dereham Hilary Bushell said: “We welcome people to our town as long as they are respectful of our community. I can’t see a problem as long as it is managed correctly.

“If it’s going to become a massive thing then it needs to have a trial period.”

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