Following an email complaint from a Harrogate Town supporter, and some talk on internet forums, Bradford Park Avenue Community Football Club and its Supporters’ Club have released a joint statement in response.
The club received an email complaint regarding the behaviour of a handful of young Avenue fans, while also praising the majority of supporters for their loud and passionate support.
The Supporters’ Club have responded in an email to the Harrogate Town Supporters’ Club, while the Football Club received a statement from Harrogate Town.
Harrogate Town statement:
Harrogate Town AFC has not received any formal complaints regarding BPA supporters engaging in discriminatory abuse. We have also checked with other stakeholders, including all relevant authorities and they are also yet to receive any formal report.
We do take all allegations of this nature very seriously however after consulting with players, staff and supporters, we are unable to substantiate any allegations.
We remind any supporter who witnesses any form of discrimination at a football match to report it via the proper channels and avoid posting defamatory remarks about any individuals (or set of supporters) on social media.
Bradford Park Avenue Supporters’ Club statement:
It has come to our attention that a number of complaints about the behaviour of theBradford Park Avenue support during the match on Saturday have come to light on your fans forum and other social media sites, which we would like to address.
It has been alleged that some of the Avenue supporters were engaged in racist chanting during the match. The Football Club strongly deny this and would like to assure you that should any persons be discovered to be engaging in this type of behaviour they would be immediately banned from taking part in any form of Avenue activity or attending any of our matches.
We are also aware of an incident involving some of the younger Avenue support and a drum, which I now believe belonged to your supporter’s club or similar group. A number of Supporters’ Club committee members were in fact present while they carried the instrument off behind the goal at the beginning of the match, however at that time they were not aware that it did not belong to them. The Supporters’ Club understands that it was recovered by the stewards very quickly and was only missing for a couple of minutes. We believe this to be a prank and not an attempt at stealing the instrument as has been described. The Supporters’ Club committee know the identity of the individuals involved and will be speaking to them directly at our next match this Saturday.
Unfortunately as events unfolded on the pitch, both the players and some sections of the crowd became inflamed, which we believe carried over into a confrontation between the two younger sections of rival support at the end of the game. Whilst one committee member was making my way away from the ground he reported witnessing some of the Harrogate Town security staff rather heavily handed ushering the Avenue youngsters away from the far gate. Whilst we accept that the youngsters can be verbally quite hostile, we have asked that Harrogate Town have a brief word with your staff to remind them that they are just that and not the hardened football hooligans of the 80s. The Supporters’ Club will also speak to the young Avenue support about their behaviour.
On behalf of the Bradford Park Avenue Supporters’ Club and the Club as a whole, we would like to apologise if any of these incidents spoiled the day for any of the crowd in attendance at the game. We wish Harrogate Town and its supporters all the best for the rest of the season and look forward to our next meeting hopefully with a different result both on and off the pitch.