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Saturday 20 September 2014

Laudrup: 'Netting' a backward step

Andrew Gwilym

Published 12/12/2012 | 05:00

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Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has rejected Gordon Taylor's suggestion that netting should be used to control fans in specific sections of football stadiums.

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Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Taylor was speaking following the events of the Manchester derby, where Rio Ferdinand was struck by a coin thrown from the crowd. A Manchester City fan also ran onto the pitch to try and confront the defender.

But Laudrup does not believe the actions of a minority should be allowed to spoil the viewing experience of the majority of supporters.

He said: "I remember when I came to Spain in 1989 and played with Barcelona at the Nou Camp, there were 120,000 fans. There was a barrier around the field, so it was impossible for the fans to get on the pitch.

"But when they redeveloped the stadium in the 90s the first row was just a few yards from the players.

"At a Barcelona v Real Madrid game anybody could have got on to the pitch and kicked somebody. I have been there as a Real Madrid player as well with 120,000 fans. You start to think 'what could happen here?'

"But it never happened with (Luis) Figo, with me or anybody. I just think we have done so much going forward to trust the crowd to be responsible and just because one, two or three people out of 40, 50 or 100,000 do something, should we go backwards again? I really don't think so.

"Not for one coin, or one stupid person going on the pitch. We should not go backwards, we should remain where we are."

Laudrup is preparing his side for tonight's League Cup quarter-final against Middlesbrough.

The Swans have never previously got this far in the competition in their 100-year history, and Laudrup knows the south Wales club have a special opportunity to reach their first major final.

Laudrup, who took Getafe to the Copa del Rey final in 2008 when he worked in Spain, said: "The downside with Getafe was we lost the final, but I still remember when we started in the first round all the way through... It was very special and we also got to the Europa League quarter-finals.

"It was a fantastic year, though obviously we had to keep our eyes on the league and you have to manage that, that's the difficult part.

"That's something we could have to manage in January, but there is the possibility to maybe go and play in a final and win a trophy. When you are a smaller club when do you ever get the chance to play for a trophy?

"Being in mid-table or avoiding relegation is great, but it is a special feeling to win a trophy and we can do it with a cup."

Irish Independent

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