Cliftonville fans are threatening a boycott of Monday’s north Belfast derby with Crusaders.
The move comes after the PSNI restricted the newly-crowned Premiership champions to just 200 tickets for the Seaview encounter, which was originally scheduled for February 16.
On that occasion, Cliftonville fans were blockaded from entering the stadium by Union flag protestors on the Shore Road, costing Crusaders upwards of £20,000 in lost gate receipts, bar takings and various other matchday revenue streams.
This time around, the Crues stood to make a comparatively paltry £2,000 from away ticket sales — but they may not rake in a penny with Reds supporters vowing not to attend the game.
With their attendance limited to such low numbers, Cliftonville were unable to facilitate a general sale and have instead made tickets available to club members only, yet the overwhelming indication is that they will remain unsold regardless.
An unofficial online poll last night revealed 100% support of a boycott, opening up the real possibility of an entirely empty away end on Monday night.
One fan explained: “Limiting Cliftonville to 200 tickets looks like we are being punished when we have done nothing wrong.
“This is a victory for the people who violently protested when the game should have originally taken place and it seems like the police are trying to appease them rather than actually deal with the problem which exists.
“They didn’t want a certain type of person on the Shore Road that day and they’ve got their way. How can the police justify that?
“With so few tickets available, it made sense for our board to sell them to club members only.
“However, the members don’t think it’s fair that season ticket holders or people who support the team week in, week out can’t attend, so we’re standing in solidarity with them.
“If they can’t go, none of us will.”
- Midfielder Aidan Watson has signed a new one-year contract at Crusaders, having signed in 2010.