Damning football match report describes a North-East town as desolate and likens its fans to patients at a mental hospital (From The Northern Echo)
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Northallerton FC press officer apologises after describing Willington in County Durham as desolate and its inhabitants as inbred
THE author of a damning match report has apologised after describing the residents of a former pit village as inbreds and likening its football fans to patients in a mental hospital.
Ricky Butler, press officer for Northallerton Town Football Club (NTFC), compared Willington Amateur Football Club (WAFC) players to characters from the horror film The Hills Have Eyes, following a match between the two Northern League sides on Saturday.
In the report, since been removed from the NTFC website and Mr Butler’s blog, he complained of the foul and abusive language used by Willington fans and those in the dugout during the FA Vase match.
He described the atmosphere at the County Durham team’s home ground as being tense and aggressive, adding: “The fans behind the dugout were getting quite excited, as though this was their annual day out from the local mental institute.”
The terms “classless locals” and “Neanderthal” were also used, while a joke is made about a toothless gateman saying: 'Welcome to Willlington. meet my mother, my wife, my sister,' and only one woman was stood before us.."
Willington itself did not escape criticism, labelled as “desolate.”
Mr Butler, who describes himself as "grumpy and sarcastic" in his blog, Ricky's Rants, told The Northern Echo he regretted posting the match report on NTFC’s website, as the views expressed were his and not the club’s.
However, he said the language used by Willington fans had been shocking, with one incident leaving his little boy in tears.
In a statement on its website, NTFC said disciplinary action would be taken against Mr Butler and confirmed the views are not those of the club.
“We would again like to offer our sincerest apologies to the people of Willington and everyone connected with WAFC for any offence caused.”
Mr Butler also expressed his regret online, saying: “I would just like to add my own personal apology to everyone connected with WAFC and the people of the town who I may have offended with what I wrote.”
He continued: “I hope this can put an end to this whole sorry affair and I will ensure I do not cause the club, the league or myself any further embarrassment.”
Geoffrey Siddle, secretary of WAFC, said the club accepted both sets of apologies and were sorry if Mr Butler was subjected to abuse.
He said this was not typical behaviour of the majority of fans and added: “This is something we are keeping an eye on.
“We support the Northern League’s efforts to cut down on bad language used by players, spectators and those on the bench.”
Mike Amos, chairman of the Northern League, confirmed he had received several complaints about abusive language at WAFC matches but said no sanctions would be imposed at this stage.