Sick banner at derby match 'mocked dead'

Published date: 18 December 2013 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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WREXHAM football fans displayed an offensive banned during a derby clash with Chester and made hanging gestures towards rival supporters, a court was told yesterday.

Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold heard how two Chester fans had previously died in tragic circumstances.

Prosecutor Peter Humphrey-Jones said one was said to have committed suicide by hanging himself and another had fallen from the City Walls.

The prosecutor said during the match Wrexham fans held up a banner bearing the words ‘Two dead fans, one dead club’ and ‘Join Monty in Hell’.

Fans also made hanging gestures towards the Chester supporters.

Mr Humphrey-Jones played CCTV footage of the incident at The Racecourse in Wrexham on August 31.

Matthew Duncan, 21, of Trevenna Way, Wrexham; Tomos Futcher, 24, of Corkscrew Lane, Ruabon and Gareth Higgins, 27, of Heol Dirion, Coedpoeth, deny a public order offence arising from the display of the banner.

Chef James Gruffydd Jones, 25, of Cristionydd, Penycae, pleaded guilty to the public order offence but denied assaulting Artan Hasaj, a matchday steward.

His father, head chef Alan Gruffydd Jones, 48, of Eight Avenue, Llay, also denied assaulting Mr Hasaj.

Opening the case yesterday, Mr Humphrey-Jones said special arrangements were put in place that day to prevent potential difficulties because of a history of fierce rivalry between Wrexham and Chester fans.

Chester supporters were only allowed to travel to the fixture by coach and specially trained ‘spotter’ police officers were deployed.

One of those officers became aware of Wrexham supporters gathering at 8am at the Red Lion pub in Kingsmills and during the morning up to 70 supporters were there.

The pub began to empty at 11am and a photograph was taken of supporters with the banner in the pub car park – although it was not alleged that any of the five defendants appeared on the picture.

That was the background, Mr Humphrey-Jones said.

The kick-off had been brought forward to 1pm, Chester supporters arrived at noon and were at the ‘away’ end and the corners were netted off to keep the fans apart.

Wrexham supporters entered the Mold Road stand but then moved as close as they could to the Chester fans.

They were goading each other and objects were thrown, including broken chairs and plastic bottles and cans.

Mr Humphrey-Jones said as the match got under way some of the Wrexham fans were not interested in the football but directed their attention to the Chester supporters.

The banners were displayed and then disappeared among the crowd when officials moved into confiscate it.

It was during that time that Mr Hasaj was assaulted, the prosecutor said.

The banners provoked an angry reaction from the Chester crowd and it was alleged that Higgins, Duncan and Futcher were involved either in the display of the banner or in making offensive “hanging” gestures.

Mr Humphrey-Jones said it was the prosecution case that the gesture was made to provoke a reaction from the Chester supporters which was indeed the consequence
District Judge Andrew Shaw rebailed all five defendants to January when the trial will be resumed at Wrexham Magistrates Court.

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  1. Posted by: Expat llangollen at 14:58 on 18 December 2013 Report

    Seems like the yob factor has increased since I emigrated in 1977. You would never get this behaviour in a Canadian sporting event. Perhaps a water cannon would cool off their agressive behaviour.

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