MORE STEWARD REPORTS IN CHAD
Stags' chiefs must condemn stewards, urge fans
CHAD website, 29 Apr2007
IRATE football fans have penned an open letter calling on Stags' bosses Keith Haslam and James Derry to condemn the club's stewards as the furore over Saturday's post-match celebrations refuses to go away.
The stewards have been criticised for their heavy-handed reaction - when some young fans ran onto the pitch at the final whistle in a traditional end of season event - which marred the Mansfield Town's celebrations at avoiding relegation.
Freelance photographer Dan Westwell and his fiance Helen Allsop have also complained to police that they were assaulted by stewards after the match - an incident witnessed by some fans who have commented on Chad's post-match blog. - See earlier stories Stags fans pledge to boycott Mill over stewards and Stags stewards accusd by fans.
One fan, Gary Bonsor, told Chad's Blog site: 'I stood and watched grown men punching, kicking, grabbing in headlocks and marching young kids out of the ground. It was disgusting and I for one will never ever set foot inside Field Mill again."
Another, Malcolm Martin, said: "The scenes at the end of the match sum up the present club management, no idea how to run a football club and no idea of how to treat the few remaining fans that are left. Mr Haslam should have shook the hand of every fan leaving the ground to thank them for sticking with the team in a terrible season."
To read the fans' messages in full, or to add your own comment, click here.
The Stags had just ensured their survival in the Football League with a 2-1 win over Barnet, but the fans' joy turned to anger as they watched stewards tackle young fans running onto the pitch.
Now, around 25 supporters have backe an open letter to Mr Haslam and Mr Derry,'to record our horror and disgust at the treatment of young Mansfield Town fans'.
The letter, which will also be published in Chad, adds
'Despite requests not to stray on to the pitch, young fans continued the tradition of many years of running onto the pitch to celebrate the fact that we will go to Bury without the pressure of having to gain a point to stay up and to be near the heroes that they come and watch in all weathers. The response of some of the stewards was disproportionate and more akin to that of a group of thugs not safety officers. There were acts of violence meted out to teenagers, which were tantamount to assault, including kicking people, putting them in headlocks and twisting their arms behind their back – all for running onto a pitch. One supervisor kicked a young boy running away from him before walking to the West Stand and inviting older fans to fight him, this included sticking his middle finger up at the fans (an action that has seen the arrest of a photographer at the same ground this season). We call upon you, as chief executive and chairman, to condemn the actions of those stewards who were involved in this appalling advert for our club and town and also to carry out a root and branch review of stewarding.'
To view the letter in full, and add your support, log onto the Stags Supporters Association website here.
Stags fans pledge to boycott Mill over stewards
CHAD website, 29 Apr2007
ANGRY Mansfield Town fans have vowed to stay away from the football club in protest at the heavy-handed actions of stewards.
The stewards chased and man-handled young supporters who ran onto the pitch at the end of the final home match of the season.
They have also been accused of assaulting freelance photographer Dan Westwell and his girlfriend Helen Allsop after the 2-1 victory over Barnet clinched the Stags' survival in Division II. (See Stags' stewards accused by fans.)
Disgruntled supporters bombarded websites - including http://www.chad.co.uk - to complain about the stewards, saying that they will not return to watch the Stags' home matches next season unless chairman James Derry takes action.
Some have already written to Stags' Safety Officer John Sidney in protest and called on Mr Derry to look into the issue of 'the worst stewards in the Football League'.
Fans who have posted on Chad's post-match blog said:
'The stewards are a disgrace to Mansfield Town FC'
'When are they going to be brought to task over their actions? Let's hope the police take statements from the fans and the stewards responsable are brought before the courts and charged with assault.'
'The stewards ruin it for us once again. The heavy handed behaviour on young teenagers was absolutely disgusting. James Derry must get it sorted, this club is a joke.'
'It is time for Mr Derry to actually have the guts to admit that this was appalling. Today was a disgrace, the club has had warning after warning and complaint after complaint, yet they seem intent on waiting until somebody is seriously hurt.'
'Yet again the stewards at Mansfield Town have shown themselves to be the worst in English football. Mansfield Town have a lot of explaining and apologising to do and the police should without a doubt look into what went on today.'
'Let's hope this close season sees the back of our present regime, ncluding stewards.'
'I can't believe what I have seen today at Field Mill. I stood and watched grown men punching, kicking, grabbing in headlocks and marching young kids out of the ground. It was disgusting and I for one will never ever set foot inside Field Mill again.'
'I should be over the moon . . . but I feel sick to my core after the behaviour of some of the stewards. I saw one kick a lad of about 14, invite a couple of others to fight him and then stick his middle finger up at the crowd. Today was a stain on the name of Mansfield Town FC and I am deeply troubled by what I have seen.'
To view the fans' comments in full, or to add your own point of view, click here and join in our online debate. A selection of comments will also be printed in next week's Chad.
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