Saturday 22nd May marked potentially the last ever game at The Camrose for Basingstoke Town FC – an emotional day for supporters. People who haven’t watched the team for a number of years turned up to witness the occasion and say goodbye to the place their team has played for over 70 years. It was an emotion day for all. Some have been attending games at the ground for over 50 years, some have even spread ashes of loved ones who are sadly no longer with us. Emotions were bound to be running high and sadly the Basingstoke Town FC Ltd – failed to understand and recognise this.
Prior to the game, the club Twitter account appeared to be hijacked, which resulted in several interesting Tweets being sent out from the official account, which even led to Maria Miller responding to a Tweet! (The most engagement the Twitter account has received all season). A few hours later the tweets were deleted.
At 2:50pm: a number of supporters invaded the pitch and stood in the centre circle with a KFIB Banner. No attempt was made to remove the supporters. Club officials or stewards did not even approach the supporters and just stood watching blankly from the sideline. Meanwhile two supporters handcuffed themselves to a goal posts. As the players stood in the tunnel ready to kick the game off – supporters refused to move and remained on the pitch. Basingstoke skipper David Ray came onto the pitch and gather the fans in a huddle and talked the supporters to stand down expressing his disappointment at the situation of the ground being sold and that our point had been made. The supporters left to a round of applause and unlocked the two hand-cuffed to the posts. Meanwhile the club had called the police to deal with the situation!
As the players finally came out the tunnel, blue and yellow streamers were thrown onto the pitch and covered the goal mouth.
100 Rubber snakes were then thrown on to the pitch to chants of “Razzak is a snake” Followed by flyers with BTFC chairman Rafi Razzak photoshopped as a robber with a swag bag heading in the direction of Farnborough – being chucked on to the pitch.
Throughout the game blue smoke bombs were set off by supporters. (12 smoke bombs were set off through the 90 minutes each one marking a decade the club had been going).
At half time club officials chose to close the bar due to fears of trouble. Sadly on the pitch Basingstoke couldn’t win the game, but remain undefeated. Following the final whistle Terry Brown commented: “The fans today made their point before the kick-off and I know it is frustrating for them with what is going on with their club but they gave us great vocal support, which they have all season.”