'˜If I become the most unpopular man in Chesterfield so be it' - Spireites CEO Graham Bean continues crackdown on pitch invaders
Chesterfield are continuing their crackdown on Proact pitch invaders, with changes to the stadium and further banning orders expected.
Last week three supporters were banned from the stadium, one of them for 10 years, and the club has been working to identify others involved in the Boxing Day protest and the pitch invasion during the recent Ebbsfleet game.
The club will put on extra training for stewards and fans may no longer congregate behind the goal at the Kop end in the final minutes of a match.
CEO Graham Bean believes Chesterfield are ‘walking a tightrope’ with the latest incident, when fans entered the playing area to celebrate Will Evans’ late equaliser and a number of allegations were made following the game.
“Since this stadium opened in 2010 there have been 39 separate pitch encroachments,” he said.
“We’ve got two FA inquiries. To encroach the pitch is a criminal offence.
“If this type of behaviour continues, there is no doubt the FA will take serious action.
“I think we are walking a tightrope on the Ebbsfleet one.”
Bean says he’s aware that the ‘strong action’ the club is taking may not win him any popularity contests.
But he makes no secret of his desire to prevent future incidents of the same nature.
“People shouldn’t rest easy,” he said.
“We have now identified a large number of individuals involved in both pitch invasions and banning orders will be issued in the coming week.
“It doesn’t matter whether the supporters agree with me or not,” he said.
“First of all it’s a criminal offence, you’re running the risk of losing points.
“We have to show the FA that we are taking this matter seriously.
“If I become the most unpopular man in Chesterfield because of the strong action I‘m taking against individuals then so be it.
“Under my watch I’m not going to let this continue.
“People are going to be dealt with strongly and severely.”
The recently appointed CEO says the majority of the club’s match-going fans will be affected by the actions of a few.
“All supporters have the right to come to a game and enjoy the football in safe circumstances,” he said.
“What concerns me is that this affects the law abiding supporter who comes to the game, sits in his normal seat and wants to enjoy his football.
“All these issues we’re having to put into place because of a minority is spoiling it for the majority, that can’t be fair.”