A FOOTBALL club chairwoman has condemned a minority of Darlington FC fans who “ruined things for everyone else” by causing trouble at a Salford City match.
The Quakers travelled to the Greater Manchester side on Saturday but tempers flared amongst fans during the two-nil defeat and they allegedly took their frustration out by damaging the football stands and fighting.
This prompted officials to close the ground’s bar early to prevent alcohol fuelling further trouble.
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A food kiosk also closed early after reports that Darlington fans were being verbally abusive to the female staff, and a security steward was allegedly assaulted by Darlington fans who then turned on a Salford player who went to his aid.
Greater Manchester Police said they received reports of “a skirmish” at the football ground but at the time of going to press, no arrests had been made.
Salford City’s chairwoman Karen Baird said closing the bar led to the club losing money and being “slagged off” by fans but she stood by the decision in light of the trouble at the game.
The bar’s closure led to less toilets being available for fans – particularly women and the disabled – and Ms Baird apologised for that.
Reflecting on the day’s events, she said: “In hindsight, we would probably cordon off an area and split the fans.
“We’ll do that in future.
“There was fighting in the main stand, and the smaller stand on the other side has been totally ruined.
“All the new Salford signs have been ripped down and it’s been bashed about.
“I don’t think that was due to a lack of toilet facilities, so they’ve (Darlington fans) got to take some responsibility as well.
“I know it’ll have been the minority, but there was still a lot of people to control.
“They’ve ruined it for everyone else.
“We did end up shutting our kiosk for a while because the women in there got so much abuse.
“A lot of them (Darlington fans) weren’t nice, turning up drunk and it went from bad to worse.”
Ms Baird said that Salford City officials have taken photographs of the damage to send to Darlington FC’s committee, along with a letter detailing the incidents of the day.
Darlington FC director Dave Mills said he could not comment on alleged incidents that he did not see on the day, adding that it was “disappointing” that nobody from Salford City raised the issues with him, despite him being at the ground before, during and after the game.
He said that the club had told Salford City and the police that there would be a larger than usual crowd at the game.
Mr Mills added: “What the club is willing to do, if there are any issues, is to work with them (Salford City officials) to resolve them.
“That is what any professional and outward looking football club would do.”