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LETTER: Fans' verbal abuse may be driving spectators away from Wanderers

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karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
I was at the University of Bolton Stadium for the Blackburn game on the front row of the Nat Lofthouse stand, next to the linesman with the yellow flag.

He was very impressive at moving up and down the line sideways faster than most of us can move forwards, keeping in line with the last defender and, as far as I could tell, he seemed to be calling every decision right.

Then, as you know, in the dying minutes as the referee blew for a penalty for a trip on our number nine, he flagged to signal offside.

Our section of the stand was too near the halfway line to know if that was correct or not but it did not stop a volley of verbal abuse being hurled in his direction which continued right until the final whistle.

The atmosphere was not pleasant. I was sat next to a young lady with her young son of primary school age.

Although we never spoke her body language as they left suggested they may not be coming back.

Earlier on they seemed to be enjoying the occasion, especially when Lofty came to shake hands (or paws).

It got me thinking as to whether we may be losing a whole demographic of potential supporters due to the behaviour of some in the crowd.

And right now we need every paying customer we can get.

I don't want to stop anyone for coming to enjoy the game in whatever way they want, but for as long as the attendance is some way short of capacity, designating one section as a verbal-abuse-free zone might be worth a try, it would certainly be my preferred section.

It is not so much the language. The problem was we were sat in front of half a dozen people who seemed to be competing all game to see who could shout the most abuse at the referee, the opposition and, indeed, our own left-back.

When that controversial decision came they felt they really had to up the volume.

My son has not come with me to a game since Wembley, his own choice not mine, but to be honest I'm quite pleased as he had started to copy the antics of those around us in ways that was a bit worrying.

I’m sure Phil Parkinson wouldn’t tolerate verbal abuse of the officials from his players, neither should we from our family.

I expect things are a bit different in hospitality but that is beyond the reach of most of us.

Tom Rigby

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Norpig

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Has this person never been to a football match before? Suck it up buttercup  Rolling Eyes

It's not the verbal abuse that's keeping fans away that's for sure.

Natasha Whittam

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
That letter has got to be a wind up.

I'm guessing the "body language" for not coming again was more to do with the defensive tactics and lack of ability on show.

RustyNail


Nicky Hunt
Nicky Hunt
I must have been sat near to this fella for the Blackburn game as that is where we always sit. I heard some of the abuse (some of it made us laugh actually) and it was just run of the mill stuff but another mate who was a bit closer later heard something along the lines of 'I hope you are your family all get Aids'. Somebody rightly reprimanded the fella at that point for going too far.

I think there is a certain point were banter or whatever you want to call it turns in to something else entirely. That is certainly not the sort of thing that any sane person, sat with children or not, wants to hear at a football match. 

So yes I think he may have a point.

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