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Some people are on the pitch... a steward’s view of end of season pitch invasions

With the season drawing to a close, stewards up and down the country have been bracing themselves for final day drama.

Whether it’s celebrating promotion, chastising the board after relegation or just an excuse to do a cartwheel on your team’s hallowed turf, final day pitch invasions are a collective release of emotions for hardened fans.

Cheshire based steward trainers ESTC work with clubs throughout the Football League. From title-chasing Manchester City and Champions League hopefuls Arsenal and Tottenham to League Two promotion and relegation issues.

They’ve got a pitch side view of the final day drama at grounds up and down the country, which means that they are perfectly placed to offer their view from behind the goal.

ESTC director Cliff Simpson explains: “As the last day of the season approaches, clubs will be assessing the stewarding requirements and procedures for the matches taking into account the season their club has had and the likely reaction of their fans - will they want to celebrate or demonstrate?

'Appreciation'

“Most supporters will want to thank the players for their efforts and likewise the players will want to show their appreciation to the supporters.

"With promotion and relegation sometimes decided on the last day the response by the match day staff can be vitally important.

"Ground regulations have to be adhered to and that is where the judgment of the safety staff comes to the fore to ensure a safe environment with the safety of all paramount in their minds.”

Final day festivities are one of a number of challenges for the Nantwich-based company, as managing director Eileen Williams explains: “Working for a number of Premier League clubs has given us a valuable insight into a highly commercially driven industry.

"We’ve been able to bridge the gap between the operations and commercial practicalities of running a sports venue.

'Contrasting challenges'

"When working with clubs in the Football League, we’ve enjoyed an environment where business culture, client demand and consumer practices provide contrasting challenges.”

Having trained more than 2,500 stewards and 40 stadium managers for the 2010 FiFA World Cup in South Africa, ESTC is now stepping up its preparations for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“Working at these worldwide events is a fantastic recognition of the skills ESTC has built in the UK," added Williams.

"It has also provided a facility for us to learn a tremendous amount about the inner workings of an industry which operates in front of a global audience.”

For more information about ESTC visit the ESTC Facebook page by searching “estc group” - or follow them on Twitter @estcgroup


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