POLICE with riots shields escorted Portsmouth fans from a Worthing pub to the town’s railway station amid fears football violence could erupt.
Up to 20 Pompey supporters aged between 20 and 30 went to the Warwick, Warwick Street, early on Saturday evening after watching their team lose 3-1 at Withdean to Brighton and Hove Albion in the third round of the FA Cup.
Police said about six fans had earlier been refused entry to the Merry Monk pub near Lancing railway station.
Peter Smith, landlord of the Warwick, a popular venue for live football on big screens, said: “There was a big police presence in the town. About 20 Portsmouth lads came in the pub to watch Stevenage v Newcastle.
“They were fine, no problem. Then the police got wind of it. We didn’t phone them. They came in, told us not to serve them anymore and escorted them to the station.
“We closed for half an hour while they drank up and then opened again. There was about 10-15 police outside, a couple with riot shields.”
Police contacted pubs and restaurants in the town centre warning them to be wary of letting in Portsmouth fans.
Owen Walder, assistant manager of the Vintners Parrot, Warwick Street, said: “It was just a case of being cautious.”
A police spokesman said there were no arrests.
He said: “A group of around six Portsmouth fans are reported to have got off a train at Lancing at around 5.45pm and tried to enter the Merry Monk pub where Brighton fans were drinking.
“The Portsmouth fans were refused entry and got back on the train, and then travelled to Worthing.
“They entered the Warwick pub via the back entrance, had one round of drinks and then left peacefully.”
Superintendent Ian Davies said: “I am pleased that there were no major incidents at last Saturday’s football match. About 100 police officers were deployed as a precautionary measure and no one was arrested.”
Several years ago riot police were called to Clifton Road after a confrontation following a match between Brighton and Cardiff City.