POST MATCH UPDATE: After the usual dose of (very) high spirits / drunkenness / anti social behaviour (including plenty of public pissing and puking and a woman being hospitalised after being hit by a flying bottle) Richmond Council have issued a statement saying they are seeking an urgent meeting with the RFU and the match organisers. The press release which begins with, “Army v Navy drunken antics cannot be repeated” goes on to set out how despite bringing the kick off forward there was no noticeable improvement in behaviour from fans this year. El Brute state that they will put the case for rotating the fixture around national stadia and that if assurances cannot be given with regard to conduct at future matches then the fixture will no longer be allowed to take place in the borough. Is this a fair response or just an overkill reaction to some squaddies letting off steam. Your call.
It’s that time of year again. Army v Navy rugby returns to Twickenham on Sat 4th May as the two services compete for the Babcock Trophy. This annual fixture is almost certainly the locals least popular event at the stadium with its big boozy crowd and the usual sprinkling (quite literally) of anti-social behaviour. The ‘Match Committee’ have made some changes to the structure of the day this year as part of “measures to reduce the impact on the local community”. Kick off is at 2.00pm, one hour earlier than in previous years, with the Armed Forces U23 v Oxbridge U23 match taking place after the senior game in the stadium. So, no fixtures at Kneller Hall this year.
This sounds like a plan to reduce pre-match drinking time, try to concentrate activity in a more manageable areas and maybe allow for a more gradual dispersal. According to the Army v Navy site, “The actions of a small minority of attendees have resulted in this change”. Will it work? In addition to the usual road closures associated with big games, expect Twickenham pubs to shut early.
Look on social media and you’ll see the usual mixed bag of comments ranging from dread to “it’s just an annual dose of boisterous fun”. Who’s right?
UPDATE LINK: El Brute press release