MORE TROUBLE FOR STAGS PHOTOGRAPHER
More trouble for Stags row photographer
CHAD website, 27 Jan 2007
Dan in 'splendid isolation' at Chester
THE freelance photographer at the centre of a row with Mansfield Town FC suffered further humiliation at this afternoon's Stags match at Chester City.
Dan Westwell was thrown out of Field Mill a week earlier for a 'Haslam Out' photograph on his laptop and later arrested for an alleged gesture as he was escorted from the ground.
The 'Haslam Out' photograph related to a renewed fans' campaign calling on chief executive Keith Haslam to leave the Stags. And today many of the 300plus travelling supporters again vented their anger at the club's owner and new chairman James Derry, who were both at the ground to watch the 10-men Stags hold Chester to a 1-1 draw.
This afternoon Dan was initially refused entry to the Saunders Honda Stadium, despite confirming his press pass yesterday when he was told there would be 'no problem'.
Dan, who appeared before Mansfield magistrates yesterday accused of a public order offence and had his case adjourned, was approached by the chief steward and club secretary as soon as he arrived at the ground.
He said: "I was extremely shocked at this point – how on earth did they know what car I was driving and what I looked like? "
Dan was told that he was not allowed to enter the ground, either as a photographer or a supporter 'on the advice of Mansfield Town FC and Mansfield Police . . . As it could inflame the situation'.
After pointing that he had not been convicted at the court hearing and that there was no situation to inflame, Dan was eventually allowed into the ground to fulfil his photographic duties for local newspapers.
However, Dan was not given a photographers' pass, he was not allowed pitch side and he was forced to take his photographs from a deserted section of one stand - and ordered not to join the Stags' fans.
Dan added: Throughout the match I was watched closely by stewards, police and three men who I later found out were Chester club officials.
"I felt physically sick. Every time a steward walked towards me I thought I was going to be ejected again. I got my laptop out to send some photos after about 25 minutes in case it did happen.
"As I did the three club officials were leaning over to see what I was doing and they watched me until the pictures had gone and the lap top was put away.
"At the end of the game eight stewards stood together watching me, waiting for me to leave. As I walked past they followed me until I got outside the stadium.
"I was humiliated at Field Mill last Saturday, but this was a new level."
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