Too close for comfort? A weekend of fan and player interaction

What do you do when you’re team are in the relegation zone, sitting there with just weeks remaining of the season?

Do you hide your eyes in horror? Do you encourage them more than ever before? If you’re one of a handful of NEC Nijmegen fans, you sneak into the dressing room and you speak to the players themselves. With NEC sat in 17th, with just a few games left of the season, they are in need of something extra to pull them out of the relegation zone – something their fans, both concerned and angry about how the season has gone, surely recognised.

NEC fans in dressing room

The club’s manager, Peter Hyballa, was the man in the eye of the storm – but the coach told Fox Sports, “there was no aggressive mood.”

“There were some players that came to me and said, ‘Coach, you need to come here because there are fans in the locker room!” he said, before adding to the mystery behind the entire story that remains unsolved; “I have no idea how they got in.”

However, their efforts to intimidate the players into winning did not pay off. Rather, they set off for their away game to FC Twente, where they were comfortably beaten 3-0.

These events made up a weekend where fan and player interaction was on the agenda in other parts of Europe, too, as in France, players and fans clashed in a far less civilised manner. In ugly scenes, fans of French club Bastia entered the field of play, seemingly trying to attack players of their Ligue 1 rivals, Lyon, whilst they were warming up for this league fixture. The Ultras support, who at other clubs can so often be either the cause or solution to major issues within football, caused the kick-off to be delayed, before re-entering the pitch at half-time in a similar manner.

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In ugly scenes, fans of French club Bastia entered the field of play, seemingly trying to attack players of their Ligue 1 rivals, Lyon, whilst they were warming up for this league fixture. The Ultras support, who at other clubs can so often be either the cause or solution to major issues within football, caused the kick-off to be delayed, before re-entering the pitch at half-time in a similar manner.

The match was eventually abandoned as a result, taking some of the shine away from a footballing weekend that with a Milan Derby and rivalry between Manchester United and Chelsea to enjoy, promised so much.