The Macarthur Bulls active fan group, ‘The Bullpen’, staged a walkout during the Bulls' clash with Newcastle Jets at Campbelltown Stadium tonight. The game ended 2-2 but the drama happened off the field.
It appears the group were protesting the the pricing and restrictions of the active area. In a statement released on their Facebook page tonight, the group stated the following:
“We've staged a walkout tonight in response to club restrictions limiting the growth of The Bullpen and excessive policing of active support. These restrictions include:
- 18+ limit on entry to The Bullpen area
- Limitations on movement in and around The Bullpen area
- Heightened prices for the Bullpen area despite being in the corner of the stadium
- Excessive control of active support activities (I.e. Jumping, marches, even certain chants)
This has nothing to do with the team and we want to show full support for our boys and other fans.”
The Bullpen ended up watching the game from the top of the car park at the Wests Leagues club which is next door.
A Bulls spokesperson issued the following statement:
“Prior to the start of the season, NSW Police advised the club, the grass hill at Campbelltown Stadium was not a permissible active support area.
"Tonight the Bullpen were instructed by NSW Police to move from the hill, back to their allocated ticketed section and not participate in active support behaviour on the hill.
"The Bullpen then made the decision to leave the venue as opposed to returning back to their allocated section.”
The latest development with The Bullpen is a blow to the club and the group themselves. Numbers in ‘The Bullpen’ have improved dramatically as the season has gone on and the group have been engaging with the fans, generating atmosphere and noise at games.
The Bulls have also worked hard to engage with the community and the fans. They have released discounted passes to home games including a four match pass for $100 for adults and $65 for concession.
The club has also worked closely with Macarthur Square to create a fan experience store where supporters can buy merchandise and meet players.
The club also created a matchday fanzone at Macarthur Square,where Bulls supporters and the general public who don’t attend matches, could watch Bulls games while enjoying a meal, live music, face painting and other activities.