Chester vs. Wrexham: The Cross-Border Derby

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…

 

A sticker on the gates outside Chester FC's Deva Stadium as the sun begins to set
A sticker on the gates outside Chester FC’s Deva Stadium as the sun begins to set

 

Police on standby as the sun begins to set over Chester FC's Deva Stadium
Police on standby as the sun begins to set over Chester FC’s Deva Stadium

 

A visiting fan displays his match ticket
A visiting fan displays his match ticket

 

A red flare is let off as Wrexham fans arrive at the ground
A red flare is let off as Wrexham fans arrive at the ground

 

Wrexham fans arrive at the ground
Wrexham fans arrive at the ground

 

Wrexham fan, the 'Bootlegger', arrives for the match, complete with leather helmet
Wrexham fan, the ‘Bootlegger’, arrives for the match, complete with leather helmet

 

Wrexham fans cheer on their team
Wrexham fans cheer on their team

 

Wrexham fans cheer on their team
Wrexham fans cheer on their team

 

Chester fans show their support
Chester fans show their support

 

A tall Wrexham fan reacts to taunts from the home supporters, as police attempt to calm the situation
A tall Wrexham fan reacts to taunts from the home supporters, as police attempt to calm the situation

 

Wes York of Wrexham battles with Craig Mahon of Chester
Wes York of Wrexham battles with Craig Mahon of Chester

 

Chester fans hurl abuse at the visiting supporters
Chester fans hurl abuse at the visiting supporters

 

Chester fans direct their abuse towards the Wrexham supporters
Chester fans direct their abuse towards the Wrexham supporters

 

Chester fans celebrate their side's late winner
Chester fans celebrate their side’s late winner

 

Delirium as Chester fans celebrate their side's late winner
Delirium as Chester fans celebrate their side’s late winner

 

An elderly Chester fan celebrate with his walking stick following their victory
An elderly Chester fan celebrate with his walking stick following their victory

 

Chester fans goad the visiting supporters after their late goal secured victory
Chester fans goad the visiting supporters after their late goal secured victory

 

A Chester fan with his face covered signifies his side's 2-1 victory
A Chester fan with his face covered signifies his side’s 2-1 victory

 

Police step in to separate the Chester and Wrexham fans
Police step in to separate the Chester and Wrexham fans

 

Police officers stand by as the convoy of coaches carrying the Wrexham fans departs
Police officers stand by as the convoy of coaches carrying the Wrexham fans departs

 

A large police presence outside the Deva Stadium after the game
A large police presence outside the Deva Stadium after the game

 

A long queue of cars waits to leave the car park after the game
A long queue of cars waits to leave the car park after the game
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4 Comments Add yours

  1. A cracking set of shots Simon. Really captures the emotions and rivalry!

    1. Thanks Andrew, there were times it warranted video rather than stills, but I got as close as I could (often with the 24mm) to get in amongst it. Strangely, I really enjoyed it!

  2. jkirkby8712 says:

    Is it little wonder that the world is constantly at war when fans at a football match have to be separated to the extent described in your words and photos. A great coverage as usual, but as a sports fan from down- under, very disappointing to see such ‘hatred’ between Brits!!

    1. I know, it’s hard to understand. I see it so often, at football grounds right around the world…how can a disliking for a team you simply don’t support develop into that level of hatred for the team as well as anyone associated with that team? Thanks for the feedback…I do my best! 🙂

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