Done (no questions or comments needed please!):
From: Andy Ashworth
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2019 12:17 PM
To: Forest Green Rovers
Subject: Complaint re Steward Number 34
PLEASE PASS ON THIS FORMAL COMPLAINT TO MR VINCE AND YOUR SAFETY OFFICER IN CHARGE OF STEWARDING.
I’m a Bury fan and had a rather unpleasant experience with one of your stewards on Saturday, whose number was 34. He’s a fairly stocky guy, with a grey beard or goatee.
I won’t spend too long typing the complaint, because it would be easier to explain verbally to someone in authority at your football club. However, these are the relatively brief details:
1. Steward 34 prevented a Bury fan from entering the ground for something or nothing or a bit of banter if you like. The said Bury fan, is a club employee of Bury Football Club! I went to the steward/police to testify for the Bury fan and to give him a break and use some common-sense. I was basically told to clear off by Steward 34 – he came across as obnoxious and power mad.
2. At half time there was an incident going on behind the away side. Lo and behold it was Steward 34 ejecting a Bury fan for what would again appear to be something or nothing, although i would add i didn't see the incident. But i did hear another Bury fan explaining the situation in an articulate and sober way, only for Steward 34 to effectively say he wasn't interested and he was being ejected. Once again he came across as obnoxious and power mad...it was like he was looking for any reason to throw Bury fans out. I told Steward 34 that in the hundreds of football matches I've been to, he was one of the worst stewards I'd come across and was a disgrace. At that point, i turned around and walked away. A second later i was pounced on by Steward 34 from behind and dragged out, assisted by 2 other stewards. I asked why i was being ejected and Steward 34 said he’d had enough of me. Is that a good enough reason? Is telling the truth or at least my honest perception of the truth, a crime or reason to be ejected?
3. During the 2nd half, i told several police officers what had happened and they told me to complain to the club. Otherwise, if i didn't, nothing would be done, nor the steward censored appropriately.
4. Near the end of the 2nd half, i told the Police Officer from Bury that my flag was inside the ground and asked how i get it back. He told me to wait for the final whistle and then make my way past the Bury fans to get it. I did as i was told. As i made my way to the away entrance/exit – who did i come across again? Yes, you’ve guessed it, Steward 34! He prevented me from going any further. When i told him my flag was inside the ground and I'd been given permission by a police officer to retrieve it, in his now familiar obnoxious manner, he effectively said he wasn't interested and i wasn't going back in the ground. What lack of common-sense.
5. At this point, i told him i was going to make a formal complaint and wanted his name – he refused, which is fair enough and said, i could have his number instead. I asked what it was and he said it was on his bib. However, his bib was crumpled up and no number was showing. I told him that and he kept saying his number was on his bib. I must have asked about 10 times, with the same reply by him, until eventually, he showed me his number. When i said i wanted to take a photograph of it, he immediately covered it up again, i asked him repeatedly to show me again and he refused. I then left the scene telling him i would be formally complaining, as I'd been asked to do by several police officers.
Now i know it’s his word against mine, but to give you my background, I'm a 55 year old retired Bank Manager who has never, ever been ejected, arrested or involved in any football related violence, etc., in 40 odd years of watching hundreds of football matches. I’m sure this steward will have had complaints about him before, there again, maybe not, because people tend not to want to waste time phoning up, typing emails, writing letters, etc. But when i see an injustice – that’s what i do, take the time to raise the issue, so something is done about it. In my experience of Steward 34, he is power mad, obnoxious, lacks common-sense and in general, an unpleasant character. In short, in my opinion, he is not fit for purpose to be a steward and even worse, i think he is one of your senior stewards.
As a side issue, I'm led to believe that 2 separate stewards, literally punched Bury fans. Now i didn't see these incidents, so i can’t really comment, in fact, the first 2 stewards i met at the away tent who allowed me to put my flag up were great. But overall, in my honest opinion your football club has an issue with several stewards, especially Steward 34.
PLEASE CONTACT ME TO DISCUSS FURTHER.
Thank you and regards.
P.S. When i phoned up today to obtain an email address (all your emails on your website are for media, hospitality, events, etc.). I ended up speaking to Matt at Ecotricity (Extension 5577) as my phone call was re-directed there, as nobody answered at your football club. Before phoning me back to discuss further, please speak to him, as i think he will have some wise words to add and vouch for me. By the way, he was excellent; as was the lady i spoke to last week, when i was checking it was okay to bring my flag. Forest Green is a great little club but have things to learn (the idea to invite Bolton Wanderers fans to the game for example, even if i feel sorry for your club and what Bolton have done, was a recipe for disaster) and in many ways, why I'm spending part of my Monday typing this email...which to be honest, is the last thing i want to do. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.