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Football gang launches website
A GANG of "troublemakers" which attaches itself to York City Football Club has re-emerged - and a member has posted a site dedicated to the group on to the Internet.
Specialist police intelligence officers are monitoring the site and have linked the resurgence of the group - known as York Nomad Society - to the recent crisis over the club's future.
PC Alistair Kennan, York's football intelligence officer, said: "In the last two to three months, since the trouble at the club, we have seen a re-emergence.
"The way I would describe them is as troublemakers. They have started coming back and we are well aware of the website."
The YNS website assures visitors that the group has not died out, saying: "We don't pretend we are a massive firm, but we did and do still exist." Much of the site is unfinished, though it does include a small photo section of YNS at York and England games.
There is also a discussion forum in which site visitors talk about a range of football-related topics.
Violence at games is one - but the YNS member behind the site is careful to say the forum does not promote hooliganism and warns visitors it is monitored by the OB (Old Bill).
The gang, or "firm", was well known at York games during the 1980s and early to mid-1990s.
Trouble at matches has declined since then, although the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the national body that monitors football hooliganism, has been warning of an increase in trouble for at least two seasons.
Regular City fans have reported seeing more YNS members than usual at games since the turn of the year. One lifelong fan - who is not connected with YNS in any way - said: "They're definitely around again. Some of them never went away, but there were definitely more of them than usual down at the Rushden game in January."
PC Kennan said: "The Nomads were quite big in the early 1980s, and were so until six or seven years ago when they stopped going to games. It is the old lads from the 1980s and 1990s, who have come back, and while we aren't thinking there are going to be any major problems we are certainly monitoring the situation closely."
He said a number of former YNS members had appeared in court - and been convicted - in the past, though none of these were thought to be involved with the current group.
In January, there was a confrontation between rival groups of supporters after the York against Grimsby FA Cup tie.
PC Kennan confirmed that YNS was involved in that incident, as well as disorder after an FA Cup-tie away at Leicester City last season. Problems were also reported in the city centre after the recent York versus Hartlepool match.
Keith Usher, York City club secretary, said: "The Nomads were a group of supporters who created problems in the ground that we could do without. We are aware that a certain person is trying to resurrect them and obviously that is not good for the club."
Updated: 10:42 Thursday, March 07, 2002