WE BOOKED our tickets for the Kings game in advance, and made our way to the stadium, excited at the prospect of seeing a clash of the two teams. I, supporting the Kings, was mixed in with close friends who from years of supporting the Sharks were not swayed – light banter was the order of the day as we journeyed into the Bay and toward the beautiful stadium.
Block 229, row 18, seat 2 – where are the ushers? The seat numbering is not user friendly.
We sat where we thought were our seats only to find two minutes later that in fact these were not our seats. We got up without question or argument and sought our rightful seats.
I eventually found my seat and saw it, along with the other guys' seats, was occupied. Politely I said the seats were ours and, as we had done, I thought the people would move. Instead I received a barrage of abuse, and of course the inevitable "race card". I moved off, stunned, not wanting to escalate the situation, but there was nowhere to sit other than in our allocated seats.
My friends went to inquire about the seating,and the seat stealers' abuse reached a crescendo including throwing punches. My friends had to defend themselves and fortunately onlookers stepped in. A thank you goes out to them.
Only then did security guards appear and escort the seat stealers off – but not out of the ground. We were able to take our seats after 15 minutes, after the blood had been cleaned off them. These events transpired in front of a capacity crowd at an internationally broadcast event! The seat stealers later had another go at two of my friends at the bar. Finally they were escorted out of the stadium. This incident begs the questions: Where are the ushers? Where is the security? Where is the police presence?
There will always be opposition supporters – that's the nature of a game, so grow up, handle your alcohol and if you can't, don't drink or stay home.
Also, what's this booing when the opposition kicker is lining up for the posts – that is embarrassing, unsportsmanlike and bad for the game and the region – no one else in world rugby does this. Let's show visiting teams and supporters dignified local support. After allour stadium is named after the greatest statesman of our time, Nelson Mandela.
Bryan Moulang, South End
A WHILE ago I read a story about the stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay being the most profitable of all stadia erected for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Being born and bred in Port Elizabeth, this gave me a sense of pride, but that pride was dealt a blow on Saturday at the stadium at the Kings v Sharks game.
Not too long into the first half of the game, a scuffle broke out on the west side of the stadium about 20m from where I was seated. The scuffle escalated to a full- on fist fight. Security arrived a few minutes after the incident had calmed down.
In the second half another violent situation broke out not too far from where the first one had been.
Then, as if that wasn't enough, the chap two rows behind me spilt beer on the row of teens sitting in front of him and his lady friend, resulting in an exchange of colourful language between his lady friend and anyone in the row in front of them who didn't believe the beer spilling was an accident.
There was a 30-odd-year-old gentleman and his son of about eight or nine sitting in front of me. He had to constantly shield his son from a beer mug-wielding Sharks supporter who swung his arms violently in celebration every few minutes. For me, these events overshadowed the intensity of the Kings defending their hearts out against a ruthless Sharks team.
I enjoyed the bits of the game I saw when I was not looking at a fist-fight, beer-throwing contest or a lady hurling insults at the "useless" players on the field, aggravated by the rightful complaints of beer-reeking teens.
We can do better to prevent these kinds of things. At Newlands, no alcoholic beverages are allowed in the stands. This eliminates beer-throwing contests and minimises spillages and quarrels.
There should also be better ticket controls. People who purchase cheaper tickets often occupy vacant expensive seats.
Also, have a strong police presence at these events. I did not see one police officer for the entire duration of the game.
Another suggestion is to have a designated area where parents with kids can sit and enjoy the game.
I have no illusions that these kinds of things happen all over, but we should do our best to avoid them.
Niven Spence, Westering, Port Elizabeth
IT was with interest that I read your article regarding fan behaviour at last weekend's Super Rugby game in Port Elizabeth. Unfortunately racism is alive and well in Port Elizabeth rugby – from all sides, including members of the police force. In addition, the powers that be drag their feet resolving such issues.
In December last year I notified the SA Police about a posting by a PE-based SA police member on the SA Rugby magazine Facebook page making a racist comment with regard to rugby. While I have received a belated reply from the SAPS I have had no news regarding the resolution of this matter.
The press didn't reply and the HSM Group (SA Rugby Magazine) on whose page this appeared did not reply either.
However HSM is now happy to relay your report on the incident to a wider audience by placing it on their website and Facebook page. Internet and Facebook hits are obviously more importance than morality.
Of course, now that violence has reared its head again, the SAPS has once again taken the passive approach.
Jack Herer, e-mail