A large-scale policing operation is in place today for when Rovers face Manchester United at Ewood Park.
Around 25,000 fans are expected to arrive at the ground for the 4-15pm kick-off of the fifth round FA Cup match. This may well cause some disruption on the roads of East Lancashire and around the stadium - however a plan has been put into place to ensure the day runs smoothly for residents, businesses and those attending the game.
Chief Inspector Jon Bullas, one of the senior officers overseeing the operation, said: “This is an extremely exciting fixture in the football calendar, with around 7,000 away fans expected.
“We appreciate that this may cause some disruption in the area but we have worked closely with both football clubs and our aim is to get people to and from the match safely and efficiently, with minimum inconvenience to those going about their usual business in Blackburn and surrounding towns.”
It is expected around 30 coaches and minibuses will bring fans to the area. These will initially be directed to J4 of the M65, before being directed on to a parking spot closer to the stadium.
Those arriving in cars will be directed to park at Darwen Vale High School, the Golden Cup pub, various car parks on Branch Road and car parks off Alan Shearer Way (previously named Albion Road). There is also stadium parking accessed via Top O’th Croft.
As with previous Rovers matches, a Fan Zone will be set up at the stadium for away fans to gather ahead of kick-off. This will open at 1pm and fans are being encouraged to arrive early to allow plenty of time for getting through the turnstiles.
The Golden Cup pub will also be open to away fans as usual, although The Fernhurst pub will not be accepting away fans on this occasion.
Extra officers will be on duty on the day and will be deployed around the stadium and in nearby towns where fans may gather before the match.
However, we would urge those attending to:
• Use safe and secure car parks;
• Keep their car locked with nothing valuable on display;
• Look after their personal belongings, keeping items such as keys, wallets and purses with them at all times in zipped bags or front pockets.
We are also keen to stress that officers policing the game will not tolerate anybody causing trouble and will take firm action against anyone behaving in an anti-social or violent manner.
Officers will also be clamping down on ticket touts, who will be dealt with robustly if caught.
Chief Inspector Bullas added: “It is important to remember very few people attending football matches actually cause problems as most supporters are there as ambassadors for their club and for their sport.
“I want to reassure people who will be at the game that we will not be letting a minority spoil what should be an enjoyable, family-friendly occasion.
“We will have the resources available on the day to deal with any incidents and it is important to note that should individuals look to cause problems we will also look to secure banning orders where appropriate.
“We would also like to warn tickets touts that we will not tolerate anyone selling tickets illegally on the day.”
Fans can follow updates on the Blackburn with Darwen Police Facebook pages. Information will also be tweeted from @BlackburnPolice and @RoversPolice.