LINCOLN FANS DEMAND APOLOGY
Ejected fans' blast for Stags over local derby
Chad, 06 September 2006
ANGRY football fans are demanding a refund and an apology after being allowed into a Mansfield Town match — and then thrown out.
Around 25 Lincoln City supporters, including young children, say they were told they could sit in the West Stand, reserved for Stags' supporters, at the recent derby clash.
The fans, some of them stewards at Lincoln's home matches, had been unable to buy tickets before the match for the all-ticket away stand.
But during the game they were told to leave Field Mill, offered no refund and not allowed to transfer to the away stand, the North Stand, even though there were hundreds of empty seats there.
One fan said: "None of us were violent or aggressive and it was disgusting the way we were treated.
"We were aware it was an all-ticket game for away fans, so I rang Mansfield and the lady on the phone said if we didn't jump up and down we could sit in the West Stand with the home fans.
"We felt a little unsafe in there during the match and mentioned it to the stewards, but they then threw us out."
Chief steward at Lincoln City Dave Smith said: "My wife and I were told we could sit in that stand. When they told us to leave I asked if we could sit in the away stand because there were lots of spare seats.
"I would like to have seen common sense used. At Lincoln, if they're decent fans we'd open up the turnstiles to them."
However, Mansfield Town FC safety officer John Sidney has been reported as reassuring the fans who left names and addresses with the club that they would be compensated.
Mr Sidney, unavailable for comment this week, told the Lincolnshire Echo newspaper: "I asked the commanding officer if they could be transferred to the away stand, but he declined. I couldn't let them go or I would have been committing a criminal offence.
"No permanent member of staff told the fans they could enter the ground. If a temporary member of staff did, it was without authorisation and against the instructions given."
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