Chairman's anger at sectarian chanting

Published Wednesday, 18 December 2013
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The chairman of Ards Football Club has condemned sectarian chanting during his club’s Irish League Cup loss to Cliftonville and said those involved will be banned.

Chairman's anger at sectarian chanting
Cliftonville won the game 2-0. (© Pacemaker)

During the game at Clandeboye Park, a number of people in the home end were heard chanting sectarian songs.

According to Ards FC, it happened after someone appeared in the away supporters' stand dressed as the Pope and the Cliftonville supporters sang 'Happy Birthday'.

However, others have said the chanting began immediately after the kick off.

Ards chairman Brian Adams condemned the incident.

He said: "This was a small handful of idiots - maybe about 10 people at most.

"They are not football fans and certainly not Ards' supporters and they will be banned."

He added: "This is disappointing because we have a very good relationship with Cliftonville.

"When we lost Castlereagh Park, it was Cliftonville who helped us out with a ground and there has always been a very good relationship between the two clubs and the fans.

"We work hard to create a better league and improve the domestic game and there is just a handful of idiots determined to ruin that work."

Following the game, the club said it held its supporters in the ground until the Cliftonville fans had left to disperse any tension which may have remained.

However, one of the buses used to transport the Cliftonville support was attacked and a window damaged.

Brian added: "There were people who had gathered outside the ground, which we had heard about before the game and had contacted the police about and there was an increased PSNI presence outside of the ground.

"Unfortunately one of the buses was damaged after the game and the PSNI is investigating the incident."

The Northern Ireland Football League said it was waiting on the officials' match report before it could decide on a course of action.

Police say they received a report of a bus being damaged following the football match and enquiries are continuing.

Cliftonville did not comment on the matter.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
9 Comments
Peter in Finaghy wrote (124 days ago):
a view from the fence in Castlereagh : It was the Pope's birthday on the 17th December. That is why the fan came dressed as the Pope. Plese please do your homework before writing on here.
Cruesfan in North Belfast wrote (124 days ago):
Well said Ards supporters. I'm sure you speak for the majority down there. Always a few knuckleheads to try and bring things into the gutter. Think it would be a great thing if at least one fan from each club added their comments and endorsed this condemnation.
Confused in NI in Belfast wrote (124 days ago):
I wonder what Jamie 'I wasnt there, well oI was only for 5 mins, oops no I was there for most of the match' Bryson has to say on the matter now. What's that I hear oh yeah silence from the wee bigot.
a view from the fence in Castlereagh wrote (126 days ago):
sitting on the fence here with this but here is an honest question… what is the connection between Pope Francis and an Ards v Cliftonville League Cup game? Theres a lot arguments to be heard here but in my view, the Cliftonville supporters are as much to blame as the Ards support if not, fully to blame. At the end of the day, you DONT just head off to a soccer match on a Tuesday night in a largely protestant town to see your team with its predominately catholic support, play a side with a largely protestant fan base, dressed as The Pope WITHOUT the intention INCITING sectarianism? Just a thought, but no doubt I'll be the one tarred with the sectarian brush for being honest…… And here is another honest question… Why go dressed as the pontiff to an Irish League soccer match?
billy in bangor wrote (126 days ago):
I can see your point about anyone singing songs because someone is dressed as pope.but if someone came to solitude dressed as king billy the same thing would happen from Cliftonville fans so every true football supporter should cheer their team only thats why u never get this rubbish at rugby matches
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