A lacklustre first half was brought to life by the crowd as UEA men’s football faced off against Essex’s ‘Blades’ this Derby Day.
Men’s football can often be marred with controversy, especially at Derby Day. There were reports last year of one fan headbutting the other, and this year tensions seemed similarly high.
The game was lacking intensity in the first half, but tensions quickly bubbled over when security were forced to break up a fight in the Essex half of the supporters. The fight started after a few fans from the two sides opposing universities exchanged a few choice words, and then, within a flash, supporters from both sides surged over to each other.
Security managed to break up the initial fight and no one was hurt, but the 100+ UEA supporters were confronted by a number of fans from Essex who chanted “UEA- Your mum is a whore,” and “f**k off home, you’ve had your day out.”
When both fans kept baiting each other, throwing bottles, glasses and drinks, several Essex students tried to cross the security line to presumably make it more intense. Security quickly dealt with them, but not before multiple smoke flares were thrown into the crowds on each side.
As a result, security split the two sides in half for the remainder of the game. The brawl followed a smaller one on the pitch in the first half and was accompanied by an Essex player getting involved with the UEA supporters in the second half after projectiles were thrown onto the field.
Speaking to Concrete, an Essex student, who wished to remain anonymous, about whether the brawl makes her feel unsafe, said: “God no, we’re only here for the beef… Safe? I wanna be in danger!” According to her, the tension kicked off because “the unis hate each other”.
UEA students seemed in equal spirits about it, when Concrete spoke to one particularly involved fan, he said: “It’s a bit of fun at the end of the day, there was no fights, security was good. A bit of testosterone you know. I don’t think anything like that should let it ruin the day, everyone ends up having a good time.”