Moors Chief: Message To Fans

Chief Executive urges real football fans to protect the game

Spennymoor Town FC Chief Executive, Brad Groves, has spoken of his distaste following a hectic bank holiday weekend on and off the pitch at The Brewery Field.

The Moors boss was in attendance at the National League North derby vs Darlington and feels that supporter behaviour across football is an issue which needs addressing.

Mr Groves said:

“As always, the vast majority of supporters were a credit to the club on Saturday.  However, I witnessed some very poor behaviour from a minority on several occasions against Darlington, which has sadly become part and parcel of this fixture over recent years.

“It is a trend which is becoming more apparent across the game at all levels and which needs addressing.  In the Football League, emergency measures have recently been introduced through the ‘Love Football, Protect The Game’ initiative in response to supporter behaviour.  But we are seeing an increase in poor behaviour in non-league too, including three incidents in our league alone this week.

“AFC Fylde threatened to report Chester to the police after an allegation was made that supporters stormed a changing room at the weekend.  Banbury United have threatened to ban some of their own supporters after smoke bombs, bottles and other items were thrown at their match against Hereford, resulting in one arrest and an injury.

“Non-league football has always been about the love of the game and communities coming together.  That is slowly being lost.

“We have worked extremely hard to create a family friendly environment at The Brewery Field and I was disappointed to see Saturday’s poor behaviour flying in the face of what I want this football club to represent.”

Clubs must look at themselves

“We need to stand up and make sure our own house is in order and I would implore other clubs to do the same in this area to ensure this growing issue is prevented from escalating.

“The obvious scuffle on the pitch at full time on Saturday, involving both teams, is not acceptable and sets the wrong example to those in attendance from the off.

“We are carrying out an internal investigation into Spennymoor Town colleagues’ involvement in this incident and people will be answerable according to our code of conduct.

“Off the pitch, there is an accusation of a racist remark aimed at a Darlington player, which is obviously of major concern to the club.  I certainly do not want my club or my name associated with anything of that sort and we are eager to make a report to the police if we can provide any evidence to support it from the ongoing investigation.

“I would like to place on record Spennymoor Town’s apologies to Adriano Moke, a well-liked former play of ours, for him experiencing this inside our ground.  I’m sure he knows from his time here that this is not how true Spennymoor supporters view the world and we support his decision to speak publicly about it.  If anyone has any information on this, they need to contact the club urgently.

“There were also items thrown onto the pitch in the goalmouths towards the Darlington goalkeeper by Spennymoor spectators.  Thank you to our supporters who have already reported this to the club.  We are using our CCTV to identify perpetrators and will be taking action with anyone found to be throwing items onto the pitch. 

“We will also be providing video evidence to Darlington FC of our coaching team being struck with a coin from a visiting supporter and several individuals who threw bottles at our players whilst celebrating our goal.  We are reminding our players of their responsibilities after they celebrated in front of away supporters, which Darlington players did not, to their credit.”

We need real supporters to play a part

“We have a great deal of gratitude and respect for our supporters at Spennymoor Town.  Amongst them are some of the most brilliant people I’ve met and they are part of the reason non-league is a great place for families to watch football. 

“I know our support is brimming with great people and the same goes for Darlington or any other National League North club.  I am now appealing to those people to help us eradicate the growing behavioural issues in the game that are taking place around them.

“If people witness something inappropriate, I want them to report it to a steward or to the club.  If you witness a younger person stepping out of line and feel comfortable dealing with it in a calm way, put an arm around their shoulder and advise them to consider their actions.

“I would urge everyone to consider their own actions and remember they are setting an example to others when they are at the match.  There are a lot of young and impressionable sets of eyes at games and we all want them to come back again, feel safe and join our scores of brilliant supporters.

“I have previously acknowledged where we fell short in our organisation at previous home fixtures against Darlington.  We took responsibility and put that right this year.  Our new approach to safety and segregation was commended by authorities this weekend.  I would now urge all individuals who attend the next match between the clubs to take responsibility for their own actions and ensure they represent the club and themselves properly.  That applies to supporters of other clubs in their own fixtures too.”

There is a line between sport and insults

“Supporters should go to football matches to get behind their team, not to berate club officials.

“I have been shown far too many examples recently of our supporters aiming personal insults online or in person at the people who run our football club, some of whom are voluntarily giving their time for the benefit of supporters.

“Working at a football club comes with a fair level of scrutiny over actions; but nobody should have to deal with personal abuse for doing their job.

“I have seen too many pockets of poor behaviour from a minority which are undermining the excellent way our supporters represent the club and themselves and I hope that last weekend is the last time these things need to be discussed.”

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