Cross-border derby: 'Bubble' restrictions lifted for Chester v Wrexham matches

Reporter:

Nick Harrison

FANS’ favourite Gary Bennett has backed the decision to ditch the bubble match but urged supporters that it’s up to them to make sure it stays that way in the future.

For the first time since 2013, the derby clash at the Swansway Chester Stadium on Friday, November 10 (7.45pm) will no longer be subject to ‘safe transport bubble' arrangements for away supporters, after an agreement was reached between both clubs, Cheshire Police and North Wales Police.

Both fixtures remain all-ticket, with the intention to return to a Saturday 3pm kick-off if both games pass without serious incident.

Bennett – a legend for the Blues in the Harry McNally days – then became one of Wrexham’s all-time cult heroes, scoring 114 goals in 177 appearances.

Bennett said: “The bubble was becoming farcical and fans weren’t going to a match because it was such a hassle.

“Derbies – especially Wrexham v Chester ones – are great occasions. It’s the first game everyone looks out for when the fixtures are released.

“They are great for the fans and great for the players, who will love the fact that it’s on a Friday night and under the floodlights and I’m sure it will be on TV.

“Emotions always run high but fans have got to behave. It’s up to them to make sure the bubble matches don’t come back because no-one wants to go back.

“So it’s down to the fans to make sure that doesn’t happen and that football is the winner.

“It's also good for the clubs who will make a bit of money because the gates are bound to be up now you don’t have to go through all the hassle of the bubble.”

Chester chief executive Mark Maguire said: "From when I first arrived at Chester 12 months ago the ‘bubble fixture’ has been a significant talking point, and it has been very clear that the vast majority of fans have felt that it inhibits a great fixture.

“The atmosphere on and off the pitch should be passionate, feverish and will mean the world to all concerned but it should stay within the rules and, particularly during a period of remembrance we hope that both sets of fans will create an atmosphere which convinces all concerned that this was the right thing to do.”

The Friday night match could be televised, although a statement from BT Sport said: “BT Sport has only confirmed its televised National League fixtures line up until 7 October.”

Email:

nick.harrison@nwn.co.uk

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