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A day in the life of a steward


BLUENUT

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A tongue in cheek look into a day in the life of a matchday steward:

8:36 am

My alarm clock goes off. It's a match day today and the culmination of a heavy week's safety training. I've spent 7 days at Pride Park Stadium learning to walk up and down stairs. I'm yet to have as many gold stars as my friend Dave but I do think I chose the right career path instead of McDonald's.

10:06 am

I head downstairs to find the wife relaxing with her feet up on the sofa. I instruct her to remove her feet at once from the seat. Not only is it a safety hazard but there could be anything on her shoes. How would she like it if someone else were to sit in that seat? She gives me some lip and I have to severely reprimand her for obstructing an official. She tries to touch me but that is just not on!

12:06 pm

I go to get my coat before heading to the match only to spot the kids in the garden and one of them is standing up. I immediately yell at him to sit down. I don't know how many times I need to stress just how dangerous standing up is. He claims he is only having fun but that is no reason to compromise other people's safety. Better safe than sorry is my motto. I've ordered him to prepare a written risk assessment by the time I get back from the match.

2:56 pm

The stadium is packed and we're almost ready for action. I've been busy directing people to seats for the past half hour, befriending people then telling them off for the most meaningless things. There was one woman who tried to enter the ground wearing boots. HOW DARE SHE?! Can you imagine letting someone in with something that could be used as a dangerous weapon. She insisted they were fashion wear and said she was off shopping instead. Good riddance to potential hardcore trouble makers I say. I am proud that I did everything according to the specified procedure.

3:10pm

I spot a young lad with a Burberry cap shouting that Derby are "by far the greatest team the world has ever seen". My mate Sid confirms my suspicions that the Brazil side of 1970 were the best of all time. So I discipline the little so-and-so for lying. First there's telling fibs then it leads to heroin and gun crime. Still, my objective as steward is to eradicate all evil from society and so taking his season ticket off him was the right thing to do. I won't allow the actions of a few to spoil the afternoon for everyone else. That's my job.

3:49 pm

Half-time. It's the usual stampede to the concourses so these hooligans can drink even more beer to aid the riots they'll no doubt be starting. One of them is standing a whole yard in front of the yellow line smoking a cigarette. I've radioed the gaffer but I have to wait until he moves another step before I can chuck him out.

3:53pm

YES! The cigarette smoker finally moves forward. It's been agony waiting for it but I feel he's been causing a real threat to other people's safety. If he were to flick his ciggy on the floor and someone had left a crate of dynamite there the whole stadium could blow. I don't want to be the man left with blood on his hands.

4:23pm

Two kids have been spotted walking around the concourse. One is apparently armed with a plastic spoon. It's times like these that I hate the danger element that's involved but if it means ensuring the safety of the fans I'll fight them - unless there's someone smaller to pick on of course.

4:41 pm

There's a bit of a ruck in the south-east corner and we have to pile in to sort it out. One idiot says he's going to make an official complaint against me for man-handling him. He's being really petty. How many more times do I have to say this? That's my job! He then called me a jumped-up little Hitler. I nearly laughed at that. Instead, I just told him to sit down again. To h*ll with all this cuddly-wuddly political correctness.

4:52 pm

That's it. Game over. The drama however is not. One obvious hooligan has decided to hurdle the seats. He doesn't realise the danger he is causing himself and others. I've called for the police as this is a serious matter. One of the boys in blue comes over and laughs in my face when I ask him to arrest the man for climbing over the seats. He clearly isn't very well-trained as I know this is actually a law. Maybe he's laughing at the supposed supporter's unreasonable behaviour and just how far he is willing to go to compromise his own safety.

5:36 pm

Another hectic day is over. Unfortunately I lost our weekly contest of how many people we can throw out. However I did win a sweepstake for the stupidest warning after telling a fan he would have his season ticket taken off him if he continued to clap during the game. People criticise us stewards for not having a sense of humour but it's a laugh a minute. It really is.

7:03 pm

I go home via my local chippy. The assistant spots my DayGlo jacket and asks how Derby got on. I'm not stupid. They won't catch me out like that. I chucked 5 under-10s out, warned 15 pensioners and am trying to have 3 season tickets confiscated off people who wore too much bright clothing to the match. Does he really think I have time to watch the game? It's disgusting the lack of respect some people have for us stewards, erm, safety officers.

8:34 pm

I arrive home to find pandemonium in my house. My wife is running up and down the stairs screaming "******* get in. We've won 5 million ******* quid on the lottery". I proceed to throw her out of the premises as she is clearly celebrating far too much and foul language is just going over the top. With a bit of luck she won't be allowed back in again. Some people just take liberties.

10:48 pm

I settle down to watch the Premiership. Strangely, it seems people in the crowd actually watch the game. If only Rams supporters would grow up and not be h*ll-bent on causing trouble by standing up, getting excited or singing, it would make my job a whole lot easier.

12:00pm

I apply to join the police force for the 42nd time.

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I think it's only half the story....

3.10 I spot some genuine aggro in the MHL between 3 louts and a dad. Fists are going in on the dad and a whole range of choice insults are being exchanged. Looks like he's in real trouble and struggling to escape. I evaluate the situation and the size of the assailants and decide that any intervention by myself will only exacerbate the situation. I therefore let it run its course and let the ambulance boys clear up the mess afterwards.

4.15 I'm approached on the stairs by some woman who wants to report racist chanting from the 3 lads sitting behind her. She's sensitive to keeping the complaint confidential so I ask her to point out the racists by standing next to them, pointing at them and shouting 'these are the ones'. I then make an informed decision that she's being a complete girl and tell her to grow up. A quick nod and a wink at the lads from me should smooth things over.

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