Club StatementWednesday, 26th Apr 2017
On behalf of the Board of DAFC, I am extremely disappointed that I need to release this statement regarding the conduct of a minority of supporters, hard on the heels of a previous notification I made in January about unacceptable conduct.
As ever, I fully recognise that it is a very small handful of supporters who continue to misbehave, but their actions are once again, sullying the good name of our club, and our wider supporters.
Myself and other club officials met with Police Scotland yesterday to review the events that took place in all of the four stands on Saturday. The Match Commander not only strongly expressed his view but concisely outlined his concerns clearly to us, but he was reassured by the swift actions that we now intend to take to ensure our club responds appropriately and firmly.
We have also been reminded that Police Scotland are happy to work with our club to ensure an appropriate risk based approach is taken to the deployment of Police Officers at future home matches. However, if the type of unacceptable conduct witnessed on Saturday continues, this may well result in less matches being police free in future, which creates unnecessary additional expenditure for our club, which in turn undermines the hard work of so many supporters who provide their time and support (financial or otherwise).
There are other Police investigations under way that I cannot comment on, which may result in further arrests and subsequent action. In addition, I will not be drawn on commenting on any events that took place on the field of play on Saturday as that is not how I like to conduct my business. Be rest assured though that, I and my fellow directors will always protect our clubs best interests, however we will use our judgement as to whether our thoughts or actions need to be put in the public domain.
I always believe in transparency, so as a result of their actions on Saturday five individuals in the home end will tomorrow receive banning orders with immediate effect. These range from: a period of 5 matches. until Christmas. and for a full season. At least three of the supporters are repeat offenders, one of whom had a previous one year banning order.
The offences included throwing coins and other objects on to the field of play (from the North West and Norrie Stands), as well as overly aggressive behaviour and failure to adhere to the ground regulations, or the instruction of stewards/Police. In addition, a female volunteer who assists our club was spat on, by one of our own supporters in the tunnel area after the match.
This action was not only totally irresponsible but highly dangerous. Football is a passionate game, and emotions can run high (particularly taking into account the exceptional circumstances at the weekend) but there can be absolutely no excuse for some of the actions that took place, such as throwing any form of missile or overly aggressive behaviour. These actions will not be tolerated at East End Park. As highlighted previously, anyone who involves themselves in this type of behaviour will have serious consequences both for themselves and our club.
It has been also now been determined that a season ticket holder provided his card to one of the offenders to gain entry to the stadium, who was subsequently arrested.
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank a number of supporters in the section of the North West Stand nearest the centre circle, who pointed out the individual who threw the coin from that area. Credit where credit is due, as it is important to acknowledge that it is only a minority of fans who believe they can misbehave or push the boundaries with our stewards/the police.
Finally, we are entirely conscious that we don’t want a sanitised atmosphere at East End Park, and a vociferous and noisy home support can be our 12th man, we are purely asking for supporters to act within the scope of our ground regulations, and behave responsibly. Accordingly, in the next couple of weeks before season tickets go on sale we intend to review our arrangements in terms of allocated seating and ground regulations, whilst I also intend to meet up in person with a number of supporters to look at the possibility of creating a designated area of the stadium, such as the corner of the North West Stand, to allow a safer and more controlled section for singing. In addition, it is hoped that this should not prevent any other supporters from viewing the match, from other sections of the North West Stand, which is the case at present.
As a club, we are trying to do our best for everyone, in a difficult situation, but at the same time we have to take our responsibilities very seriously, but we need ALL supporters to help us root out the minority who appear to want to deliberately cause damage to our club’s good name.
However, to the huge majority of our fan base to whom this statement is not directed, can I thank you once again for your continued support.