A Manchester City fan who took a banner protesting at the high-price of a ticket to their match with Arsenal was threatened with arrest.
Rick Taylor, 25, unfurled the homemade sign at the Emirates stadium before kick-off at Sunday’s clash in London for which away fans were charged £62.
It read: “£62! Where will it stop?”
Moments later he was surrounded by stewards and police officers who demanded he hand it over – or face a night in the cells.
Rick, an estate agent, obliged, but has hit out at Arsenal’s actions, branding them ‘crazy’.
His protest came after City failed to sell 912 tickets out of their allocation of 3,000.
Arsenal, like many Premier League clubs, operate a tiered pricing system which means that they charge more for matches against bigger clubs such as City and United than they would for teams like West Brom and Wigan.
Rick, from Stalybridge, made the banner the night before the match.
He said: “I tucked it under my coat when we went in because I thought they might try to stop me.
I saw someone else had one and the photographers were taking pictures of it so I thought it was the perfect opportunity.
I held it up with one of my friends but within seconds a steward came over.
“He told me that while he agreed with my argument he was under strict instructions to remove it and would have to throw me out if I did not comply.
I told him ‘no way’.
Then two police officers came over and told me that I was breaking ground regulations and if I did not hand it over they would arrest me.
I asked them why. It was a peaceful protest and there was nothing offensive on the banner. There was certainly no problem with anyone sat close to me.
They were adamant and I contemplated making a stand, despite the £62, but I didn’t fancy getting arrested so I reluctantly handed it over.
They gave it back to me at the end of the match but it didn’t make any difference then. It was crazy.
Rick, who spends every spare penny he has following City, believes admission prices should be capped.
It’s about time a limit was placed on it,” he said. “When you look at the revenue clubs generate not a lot of it comes from gate receipts. It’s getting out of control.
A spokesman for Arsenal said that the banner was removed because it was obstructing other supporters’ views and not because of the message it carried.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Officers assisted stewards at the Emirates Stadium in order to prevent a breach of the peace, after away supporters were asked by stewards to take down a banner,” he said.
Officers spoke to the supporters, who had refused to take down the banner, and then assisted stewards with its removal. No arrests were made.
The monitoring of banners inside football stadiums is a matter for club security. However, officers may assist security, for instance, where there are fears of a potential breach of the peace