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Archived News from April 2011

25th April 2011 22:35

FAN'S VIEW: Stewarding standards mean I'm in no rush for a Mansfield return


Shane Morgan provides his perspective on events at Bath City...

Bath City's extended tour of the North of England has finally come to an end.

Like battle-weary soldiers returning from the front, I am sure the team cannot wait to get home to the familiar surroundings of Twerton Park for the Histon game on Saturday.

The last two legs of this mammoth expedition, at Mansfield and Grimsby, were contrasting in both results and experience.

The wide differential in the way that away fans are treated in the Conference Premier has been noticeable this season – and never had that been more clearly demonstrated than in those two games in 48 hours.

At Mansfield the away coach was not allowed to disembark in the car park as the steward informed us we could not mingle with the home fans.

The stewards then spent the better part of the first half telling 59 fans in the away end to sit down, threatening to evict us if we did not comply.

The 59 fans were housed in a stand which can take close to 2,000. We were not a health and safety hazard or obstructing anyone's view, so why the confrontational attitude?

Needless to say they also did not allow us to go out for a fresh air break at half-time.

At Grimsby we had 51 fans housed in a stand that takes 2,000. We were free to stand, we were free to take a fresh air break. We were smiled at, chatted to and wished a safe journey. The Mariners could not be any more welcoming.

Why the difference? If anyone should have the big-time mentality shouldn't it be Grimsby who have only just left the Football League?

I have found a common denominator in the clubs that have not been great with their customer care towards visitors, namely that the stewards are employed by a third party. This means they have no affinity to the club and no understanding of supporting a football team.

Friendly stewards tend to be the ones employed directly by the club, usually volunteers. At Grimsby the stewards were queuing for tickets to the next away match. They are fans, they have an affinity with the football club and empathy for the away fans.

Which clubs to you think I will return to? I will never tire of visiting the likes of Grimsby, I will be in no hurry to go back to Mansfield.

Off the field it is a hectic time. The Supporters' Society Easter soccer schools have been very well attended, plans are in full swing for the end-of-season presentation evening on May 6 and Adie Britton is getting ready to climb Ben Nevis to raise money.

The Supporters' Club have also organised a match on May 1 between teams of supporters managed by Adie and assistant Lee Howells, with special guest players Jim Rollo and Sido Jombati.

On the field we entertain Histon on Saturday and then visit another relegated club in Eastbourne on Bank Holiday Monday. A chance to bag a few goals, maybe?


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