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Archived News from January 2007

31st January 2007 10:01

So who did try to ban Dan?
CHAD, 31 January 2007

A FREELANCE photographer at the centre of a row with Mansfield Town FC suffered further humiliation on Saturday –– after being 'treated like a leper' during the Stags' away match at Chester City.
But this week mystery surrounded why City officials tried to ban Dan Westwell from the match — with police and the Stags denying claims that they had told the club to exclude him.
However, Stags' chairman James Derry did confirm that Mr Westwell would not be allowed back into Field Mill at the moment.
The controversy started last week when the photographer was thrown out of Field Mill for displaying a 'Haslam Out' picture on his laptop.
He was then arrested by police for an alleged public order offence over a separate matter and, after a brief appearance before Mansfield magistrates on Friday, has been bailed until 9th February.
The photographer found that his reputation preceded him when he arrived at the Chester City ground on Saturday, with stewards refusing him entry and asking him to leave immediately.
He said the stewards had told him they could not allow him into the ground because Mansfield Town and Mansfield Police had said he would 'inflame the situation'.
Mr Westwell (32) eventually persuaded the stewards to let him into the ground, but was not allowed to go pitchside to do his job –– and was instead sat in a empty block of seats away from the other fans.
He says he was constantly watched by stewards throughout the match and felt so intimidated that he was physically sick in the club's toilets at half time.
"I was humiliated at Field Mill last Saturday, but this was a new level," he told Chad. "I felt like a leper, forced to sit on my own with about 300 seats to myself. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?"
Chester City officials have refused to speak to Chad about their treatment of Mr Westwell, but Stags' chairman Mr Derry insisted his club had not approached Chester about the photographer.
"I am not aware of any communication between Mansfield Town and Chester City in relation to Dan Westwell," he said. "The police are the people to speak to about this –– they are the people who arrested him and it would seem they took that into account on Saturday.
"As far as we are concerned he is suspended from the Field Mill ground pending an investigation, and considering the court case it would be improper to comment further."
However, Nottinghamshire Police confirmed they had contacted Chester about Mr Westwell –– but said they had recommended the club to allow him in.
Said Pc John Holloway: "We spoke to Chester and made them aware of the incident involving Dan Westwell at Field Mill. Our advice was to allow him entry into the ground and there was no decision at any point to ban him."
A spokesman added that police would not 'involve themselves further'.
Mansfield fans have rallied around Mr Westwell, of Swinton Copse, Boughton, in the wake of the controversy –– with the Stags Supporters Association saying it is 'disgusted and disturbed' by the situation and vowing to take the issue up with Mr Derry last night.
The newly-formed Stags Fans For Change has also said it was 'quite dismayed' by the incident, while supporters' group TEAM Mansfield said it was 'absolutely appalled' by what had happened.
Mansfield MP Alan Meale told Chad he did not know the details of the row between Mr Westwell and Stags, but has invited the photographer to write to him if he wishes the MP to involve himself on his behalf.
And the photographer has revealed that the row has now started to cost him business –– with Torquay newspaper the Herald telling him they would find an alternative freelance photographer because of the current controversy.


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