Derby matches all over the world bring their own sense of tension and excitement, as well as hatred and usually the odd spot of violence thrown in for good measure. This derby match is no different. Chester and Wrexham are situated no more than 12 miles apart, separated only by the border between England and Wales…a border which, in fact, travels up through the middle of the car park at Chester’s Deva Stadium. The stadium and the pitch are actually on the Welsh side, whilst the car park is located just inside England.
Meetings between the two clubs in recent years have resulted in a lot of agro for the police. Visiting supporters have been known to re-decorate each other’s town or city in their own unique fashion, year on year with an increasing disrespect for anyone that gets in their way. As a consequence, the authorities have decided to class it a ‘bubble match’, meaning travelling fans are banned from attending the fixture by any means other than on official buses from their own stadium. On Monday night, any Wrexham fans wanting to watch the game had to have bought tickets in advance, and then had to travel by coach from the Racecourse Ground under police escort, where they were channelled in and out of the stadium before being bussed back to their own ground after the match.
Critics claim the excessive police presence serves only to incite the fans more, whilst supporters of the scheme are happy to see their pubs and shops remain intact on matchdays.
Armed with two Canon EOS 1DX bodies with EF 24mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4 lenses attached, I decided to see what all the fuss was about…