Smoke Bomb Warning
Everton issue warning as supporter education campaign begins.
Supporters who bring smoke bombs to Everton games will face lengthy bans, the Club has warned.
The warning comes as the Premier League, Football League and Football Association launch a supporter education campaign on pyrotechnics, following a research project involving fans up and down the country.
They discovered that a third of fans have been affected by pyrotechnics and that 78 per cent want more action taken against pyro users.
The research, which was conducted with 1,635 Premier League supporters, found that 87 per cent of fans believe that pyrotechnics such as flares and smoke bombs are dangerous at matches, and that 86 percent were concerned for their safety. The same number think flares and smoke bombs are a fire risk and 79 per cent consider them to be a health hazard.
Everton have already taken action to address these issues following smoke bombs at Goodison Park this season.
Head of stadium security Dave Lewis told evertontv: "The pyrotechnics we are seeing a lot of at the moment are the smoke bomb types. While they do not burn to high temperatures, they cause a lot of problems for disabled supporters, youngsters and people with asthma.
"So far we haven't apprehended any home supporters for letting smoke bombs off but there is an active investigation from the derby match. We actually apprehended a Hull City supporter who let off a smoke bomb in the away section at Goodison earlier this season. That person has been to court, was convicted and was lucky not to go to jail - they have received a three-year football banning order."
The dangers posed by these industrial strength devices is very real and has already provided a harrowing experience for one young Everton fan.
Ruth Maddocks' eight-year-old son James was hit by a pyrotechnic device at the derby at Anfield earlier this year.
She said: "At the derby at Anfield before the game started he was hit in the back of the head by a pyrotechnic. He had to be treated by St John's Ambulance for a burn to the back of the neck.
"He did go back to his seat to watch the game but he was too shaken up and had to be taken home."
Fortunately James was brave enough to continue coming to Goodison Park.
But his mother added: "It could have been so much worse. If he had turned round and been hit in the eye, or his clothes could have been set on fire. They are just so dangerous. My message would be: don't use them."
The cold hard truth is that anyone found bringing pyrotechnics into Goodison Park - or any other football ground - faces serious consequences.
"It's not a laugh. We saw people letting them off last week and they thought it was a great laugh letting off a smoke bomb in the front of the Gwladys Street," continued Mr Lewis. "The people all around had to move because it was affecting their breathing.
"It doesn't create a great atmosphere in the stadium. If you bring these devices in, you are going to get banned from not just Goodison but every stadium in the country. It's just not worth it."
Find out more about the dangers of pyrotechnics at www.facepyrofacts.co.uk.