The FA are investigating three separate crowd incidents involving Port Vale fans withing a period of just 24 days.
The FA have asked the club to explain problems during the games at Grimsby, on March 10, at home to Chesterfield, on March 30, and at Crewe, on April 2. All three incidents featured in the referees’ reports to the governing body.
We understand the emotion of that goal – but there were about 4,000 supporters who didn’t go on the pitch…
The Grimsby game was delayed while rival fans clashed. The referee at the Chesterfield game reported Vale fans coming on to the pitch and an object being thrown at an assistant referee, while fans spilled onto the pitch and coins and a seat were thrown at the Crewe match.
CEO Colin Garlick told the Sentinel that during the Chesterfield game: “There were three issues that the referee reported as extraordinary incidents. They involved a chocolate bar thrown at the assistant referee, a supporter going over the pitch perimeter fence towards one of the Chesterfield players who was off the pitch at the time, then the supporters who came on to the pitch to celebrate the goal.
“We understand the emotion of that goal – but there were about 4,000 supporters who didn’t go on the pitch.
“Then, following the Chesterfield game on the Good Friday, we had the Bank Holiday Monday and there were issues again where we as a club had to respond to three separate ‘extraordinary incidents’ reported by that referee. That was seats being thrown, coins being thrown and again supporters on the pitch.
“So, across seven games we have three that we are having to write to the FA about. They want to know, ‘What planning went into it from your part, what your prevention was and your plans, and how you dealt with the situations at the time and what action you have taken against offenders’.
“They are looking for positive action and also what we are doing to prevent future occurrences. Arguably we are going to be seen as a serial offender with three games in such a short period of time.”
Garlick has appealed for help adding: “I believe there are lot of Vale fans out there – the vast majority of Vale fans – who are good, genuine supporters who go and want to enjoy the football, and a number of people are spoiling that match experience.
“I think they will be worried about them damaging the good name of Port Vale Football Club, so I am looking for a little bit of help in trying to wheedle one or two of these people out because we don’t want them at the ground.
“I want to give them the anonymity to try to help me. That can come in any form and if it comes to me I will make a judgment call on how best to deal with it, even if it is just to bring in somebody we suspect and maybe give them a friendly warning that we are not going to tolerate it.”
The CEO is also expecting a financial penalty commenting: “While I think we are probably a way from a points deduction it is not something you can rule out. But I can quite easily see significant fines coming our way. These wouldn’t be two or three hundred pound fines, these would be £5,000 or £10,000 fines, which a club like ours can ill-afford.”