Lindley Group has revealed the full extent of the violence its catering staff faced when an angry mob of football fans ran riot during a match between Barnsley and Manchester United last week.
Jan Framp, northern area manager for Lindley, which has catered at Barnsley's Oakwell stadium since 1999, said staff were forced to use fridges to barricade themselves in store rooms when violence erupted after police ordered the closure of the away bar.
Speaking to Caterersearch, she blamed poor communication from the police for the incident. "They took the decision to keep the beer bar closed at half-time, but we weren't informed until five minutes before we were due to open," she said. "I said we'd need some police or stewards at the door, but none came."
Framp had to turn the Manchester United fans away from the bar on her own and, while the majority accepted the decision, around 200 pushed past her, jumped over the bar and began passing beer crates out.
The Lindley employees did their best to limit damage by grabbing the cash drawers from the tills and turning off electrics and fryers.
Framp said the Lindley team would have been better prepared if the police had informed them about the decision to close the bar. "We would have cleared the bar of stock and cash and the shutters would have been down," she said.
Staff have been offered counselling following the incident, but they have all since returned to work - a reflection of their "northern spirit", according to Framp.
A spokesman for South Yorkshire police said it had "responded quickly and effectively to a spontaneous disorder" at the ground and had made eight arrests.
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By Janie Stamford
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