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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Club owners promise lifetime ban for fans involved in fighting

The directors of Macclesfield FC have given an emotional statement after trouble erupted during last week’s game against Congleton and confirmed that any fans involved will be banned for life.

In a video posted on the club’s YouTube channel, head of football Robbie Savage – who broke up the fighting himself – and director Robert Smethurst said they were working with police and Cheshire East Council.

Mr Savage said: “We were both disappointed, shocked at some of the scenes that we witnessed. It’s unacceptable. We’re going to be very firm in the way we handle it.

“There will be lifetime bans from this football club. It’s disappointing that a few spoilt what has been an amazing journey and an amazing start to the season.”

Mr Smethurst said: “We were massively disappointed. When I bought this football club, it was about the community and the fans who are the most important people at a football club.

“We’ve got to just reflect on whether we did everything right. I believe we did – we have a safety officer in place, and 35-40 stewards. Could they have reacted a bit quicker? Possibly. That’s something we’ll look at and address.”

Mr Savage added: “It takes away from the positivity after nine months of hard work, desire, dedication from all our staff who work every hour of every day to enable you and us to watch that fantastic team out there. It hurts deeply.” The brawl broke out between fans during Congleton Town FC’s away match against Macclesfield FC on bank holiday Monday.

It was the first time the two sides had met since the silk town side was established last year following the collapse of the former Macclesfield Town FC.

The North West Counties Premier League derby encounter, which ended in a 1-0 defeat for the Bears, was interrupted as tensions flared between the fans at The Leasing.com Stadium.

Video footage online showed a mass punch-up on one of the terraces and projectiles being thrown.

It happened during the closing stages of the match, which had a sell-out attendance of 3,502, and stewards in hi-vis jackets had to intervene.

In the footage Mr Savage, Macclesfield FC’s director of football and radio and television pundit, could be seen running over to the side of the pitch where fans were fighting.

In video of the action, one fan can be heard lamenting “**** hell!” This is followed by loud boos from the rest of the crowd.

The fanbanter.co.uk website reports that yellow smoke bombs were let off shortly before kick-off.

Macclesfield and Congleton played a pre-season friendly just before lockdown in 2020, while Sol Campbell was the Macc manager. The game was good humoured, and fans mingled happily.

Both clubs released statements condemning the actions of some of their supporters.
Congleton Town said: “We would like to publicly, and in the strongest possible terms, condemn the actions of a minority of spectators.

“The scenes that were witnessed in the closing stages of the game will not be tolerated by anyone at the club. We are working closely with Macclesfield FC following their launch of a full investigation.”

Macclesfield FC said: “We would like to publicly and vehemently condemn the actions of a minority of spectators.

“The scenes that were witnessed in the closing stages of the game will not be tolerated by anyone at the club and we have launched a full investigation into these, together with Cheshire Police and other external agencies.”

A statement from Cheshire Police said: “Officers were made aware of disorder at The Moss Rose Football Ground, Macclesfield, at around 4.50pm on Monday, 30th August.

“Police swiftly attended the scene, and a dispersal order was put in place in the area. There were no further reports of disorder. No arrests have been made at this stage.

“Enquiries in relation to the incident are ongoing and officers are working to identify those responsible.”

 

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