Crowd control is a serious issue in modern football, with clubs and governing bodies working hard to limit the amount of antisocial conduct that goes on in the game.
While most teams might take more traditional steps to prevent hooliganism, like segregating fans or increasing stewarding numbers, it appears one Romanian side once devised a strategy that would take the term ‘crowd control’ to a whole new level.
Back in 2006, The Guardian reported a story about Romanian football club Steaua Nicolae Balcescu, who, in 2003, were facing the threat of expulsion from their league.
This was due to some unruly fans who had staged a series of pitch invasions and violent outbursts during some of the side’s home games.
As a result, the club’s governing bodies gave the fourth-division team an ultimatum: clean things up or face the consequences.
So their chairman, Alexandra Cringus, decided to think outside of the box and came up with a unique reptilian response to halt the trespassers.
His idea was to dig a moat around the football pitch and fill that to the brim with fully-grown crocodiles.
And while you might think this is a spoof, it seems the club’s plans to build the croc-infested moat were deadly serious.
“This is not a joke,” Cringus insisted, per The Guardian.
“We can get crocodiles easily enough and feed them on meat from the local abattoir.
“The ditch is planned to be wide enough that no one could manage to jump over it. Anyone who attempted to do so would have to deal with the crocs.
“I think that the problem of fans running onto the pitch will be solved once and for all.”
It seems Cringus, who was also the vice-mayor of the club’s home town Nicolae Balcescu, had thought the outlandish idea through thoroughly and intended to move the moat a safe distance away from the playing field in case a player or official fell in.
“I was in Rimnicu Vilcea when I saw a crocodile in a pet shop. I asked how much it cost, and when I found out they are only €470, I went straight to local businesses to sponsor them,” Cringus said, per UEFA.com.
“As soon as it is warm enough, I will introduce them to the ditches. No fan will be brave enough to jump across the ditch.”
Rangnick not at Old Trafford next season?! Find out more on The Football Terrace…
While Romania’s harsh winters have been known to fall to snappy temperatures as low as -15ºC, the chairman had also planned to install electric pipes in the moat to keep his crocs warm during the colder months.
The only thing it appears he hadn’t thought through was how the club were going to retrieve footballs that were booted into the ditch.
In the end, while local authorities had taken the time to consider the proposals, the outlandish plans never came to fruition.