Brighton CEO Paul Barber criticized a very small section of fans for letting the club down by fighting and visiting supporters.
In the notes to the Albion vice-chairman’s pre-match program ahead of today’s home game against Newcastle, Barber explained how things got out of control last month when Manchester City visited the ‘Amex in that 4-1 loss.
He recounted how some supporters clashed with other Brighton fans and City fans which resulted in injuries, ejections and arrests.
Bans for those people will “certainly” follow, Barber said, and already this season the Seagulls have banned 32 fans for the behavior.
“In my final set of notes for Manchester City’s visit here, we outlined our zero tolerance policy for any type of discriminatory or anti-social behaviour,” he wrote ahead of the Newcastle game.
“Despite this warning, a small number of individuals, claiming to support our club, decided to fight and later fight with visiting supporters – all insane behavior which resulted in a number of injuries, d ejections and arrests.
“Long bans for everyone involved, both for our home and away games, will certainly follow. Some fans will also face prosecution and the prospect of a criminal record.
“Unfortunately, like a number of other clubs across the country, we have seen a steady deterioration in the behavior of a small part of our squad this season.
“With the lockdown lifted fans are allowed to attend games again and the team are having a great season so far, it’s hard to understand why.”
Barber added that in the 2018/19 season, the last time fans filled the Amex throughout the campaign in the pre-Covid period, there were only 52 exclusions, saying the actions of this “illegal” minority were embarrassing.
As a result, more stewards and police resources will be used for the 5.30pm game against Newcastle today.
He ended by urging fans to rally behind the team and eradicate this behavior from a “tiny minority”.
“Nevertheless, a series of unacceptable behaviors have so far led to 32 Amex bans through the end of October,” he said.
“That figure compares to just 52 sent-offs for the whole of the last full season with fans in our stadium.
“The behavior of the individuals involved was as embarrassing to see as it was anti-social and illegal, and we will continue to identify, indefinitely debar and seek criminal prosecution for anyone who blames other supporters or our staff. any type of risk before, during or after matches at our stadium, Zero Tolerance means exactly that.
“As such, we will deploy stewards and additional police resources to monitor and counter such behavior, and we will use stadium CCTV technology to help identify offenders.
“Our stadium has an excellent reputation as the ideal place to watch top-flight football.
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“That’s because it’s welcoming and safe for all sections of the community, as well as for fans of other clubs.
“It’s also because our fans are known to support their team and enjoy a healthy but harmless and non-violent interaction with visiting supporters.
“We will not allow this hard-earned reputation to be tainted by a tiny minority, so the message from everyone here is very clear and very simple: if you wish to behave in this way, please stay away from our club. .”
He added that the “overwhelming majority” of Brighton fans continue to grow and improve the reputation of the club.