Chesterfield season ticket holder banned from home matches for three years following Twitter row with Spireites defender Anthony Gerrard

The Proact Stadium, home of Chesterfield Football Club.
The Proact Stadium, home of Chesterfield Football Club.

A Chesterfield season ticket holder has been banned from attending matches at the Proact for three years following a Twitter row with Spireites defender Anthony Gerrard.

Chesterfield have decided to take action against the fan after he turned up at the Proact on Tuesday morning after the pair arranged to meet during the exchange of unsavoury messages on the social media site last Saturday.
The club's chief executive, Graham Bean, said he believed the fan had arrived at the stadium with the intention of 'confronting' Gerrard. The incident did not go any further.

Following the social media row, Gerrard, 33, who joined Town in the summer, was subsequently stripped of the captain's armband, received a hefty fine and apologised. He has now deleted his Twitter account.

As well as having his season ticket cancelled and a three-year banning order, the fan will not be able to attend the Proact altogether during this period.

The fan will still be able to attend Chesterfield away matches because the club has no control over who other clubs sell tickets to.

The incident has been referred to Derbyshire Police by Chesterfield Football Club. The Derbyshire Times has contacted the force for a comment.

Chesterfield chief executive, Graham Bean, said: "It has been well publicised the unsavoury issues surrounding Anthony Gerrard this week which has been dealt with internally and swiftly.

"But there is also a responsibility on others to behave appropriately and, as a consequence of what happened this week, we gave due consideration to the whole picture and came to a decision that we felt it was appropriate that one of the individuals involved was subjected to a club banning order predominately because he went beyond the line of acceptability in terms of turning up at the stadium.

"This is not just a Chesterfield issue. This is a public issue and a social issue whereby it seems that people feel that it is right and fair game to issue personal abuse to you.

"We as a club have a duty of care to our staff whether that be a player, a coach or a member of the administration staff. We have got to to ensure that they can come to work without any sort of issues at all.

"The fact that somebody turns up at a car park on the back of the Twitter exchange clearly with an intention of confronting a member of staff is unacceptable to us and we will clamp down hard on anybody that decides to take the law into their own hands.

"We will name and shame these people if this type of behaviour continues."

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The incident dampened the mood around the club after Chesterfield's 1-0 win against Torquay United which was their first victory of the season. Gerrard did not play in the game because of a hamstring injury.

Bean told the Derbyshire Times: "There can be no positives taken out of this episode this week with Anthony Gerrard and the supporter and a number of other supporters.

"Anthony has been instructed to close his Twitter account down which he has done so that means he can't engage with supporters even on a humorous, witty exchange or a genuine exchange so everybody loses out in effect.

"It is a sad indictment of society that we have to take these type of actions because of a minority.

"Last weekend after a difficult start was a boost to all of us and then we were hit with the downside of the social media issue and I think now it is all about kicking on and trying to add to what happened last Saturday afternoon. Last week took the shine off what was a good result for us."

Chesterfield players have this week been reminded by the club of their responsibilities when using social media.

Bean said the club does monitor social media in case such incidents like this arise.

Bean added: "People have to take responsibility for their actions and there is a massive difference between going on social media and being critical of the team's performance or an individual's performance or something that the club have done that is not quite in line with the feelings of the supporters and I understand all that. That type of criticism is fair game and is just part and parcel of being involved in a football club or being involved in public life. However, when it comes down to slugging it out with personal insults then it clearly can have a detrimental effect on an individual's wellbeing. I think it is important that people take responsibility for their actions and think before they start making these comments.

"We want to work with supporters. We are thankful for their loyal support and 99 per cent of supporters might not be happy with the team's performance and that is fair enough but there is that one per cent that go beyond what is acceptable and it is those one per cent that we will target if we have to. We don't want to do it, we value each and every supporter. As chief executive I have a duty to protect my staff from inappropriate behaviour."