Aberdeen footballing legend Duncan Shearer has spoken out against Fort William FC’s controversial decision to ban their younger supporters from the grounds.
The Highland League club released a statement condemning the behaviour of the ‘Ultras’ supporters group and confirmed they would be refused entry to games in the future unless they were accompanied by a parent.
However, former Scotland star Mr Shearer said yesterday he didn’t see any chance of the group bringing their parents, so they could attend a game.
He added: “It is difficult to comment from a distance, but I was at an earlier Scottish Cup game that the supporters were at and although they were quite loud, I don’t think they were really doing anything at that time.”
Although it wasn’t clear whether the club had taken previous action, the former striker thought they should have brought the ‘Ultras’ in for a meeting.
They said: “Listen, we appreciate your support and your money but this behaviour isn’t acceptable”.
He added “Certainly a number of years ago they brought a bit of support to the team and I think it could have been handled a bit better – although I don’t know what has been said.
“I think they should get them back in to speak to them and get them back into the crowd again.
“The club need all the support they can get.”
The Lochaber side made the decision following “unacceptable behaviour” during the Highland League season.
The statement made by the club’s chairman, Peter Murphy, was posted to Twitter late Thursday night and said: “Following unacceptable behaviour of The Ultras supporters group over a number of games this season we have taken the decision to ban this group from home games.
“They will be able to gain entry individually if accompanied by a parent.”
The tweet has since racked up more than 14,800 likes and almost 2,500 retweets.
Following unacceptable behaviour of The Ultras supporters group over a number of games this season we have taken the decision to ban this group from home games. They will be able to gain entry individually if accommpanied by a parent.
— Fort William FC (@FortWilliamFC) March 5, 2020
Supporters have voiced their opinions online with many in opposition to the new rule.
Twitter user @GregABZ03 made light of the matter and the club’s young fans: “Fantastic to see you banning the very little support you actually get at games.”
User @ronnydeilaszn believes the footballing atmosphere is under threat, he said: “Too many clubs pushing youth away who just want to create atmosphere and support their local club. The future of the club as well.
“Sad times in football, where boards of clubs don’t want youth creating atmosphere and will do anything to push them away. Be grateful you have them.”
Paul Craig thinks it’s a smart move by the club in order to sell more tickets, he said: “That’s tactical. Adult gate prices per member and increasing the numbers there to make noise. Fair play if it works out!”
Dalry Lama believes it’s ruining football and has asked the club to turn back on their decision, he said: “This is self harming decision. It’s not just out of touch, it just extinguishes the goodwill and support of thousands if football supporters who looked to the fort as their second team.
“This club is run by idiots. Please think again.”