It is with regret that the club has to report on the following
disturbances by a section of around 250 - 300 so-called
Newcastle United fans during The Cosmos South Lancashire
Counties Premier Division Fixture Vs AFC Leigh Centurions on
Sunday 17th March at the Scott Lane pitches adjacent to the
Wigan Soccerdome which is situated next to the away supporters’
car and coach park in Wigan.
After about 15 minutes of the game, at approximately 2.15 pm, several coaches arrived at the car park. As the supporters spilled out of the coaches, which were not managed by the club or police officials, they proceeded to watch the game from the touchline. Some fans then chose to run onto the field of play, dropping their pants, causing the game to be stopped. The situation then magnified as a crowd around 250 – 300 Newcastle United fans followed suit. Although good natured at first, the fans then started to rip out corner flags as they ran over the pitches and also took the match ball. We never recovered the ball, though we did manage to recover the corner flags.
The so-called fans then decided to charge over to the adjacent pitch where Goose Green Reserves were entertaining Olympic AFC in another South Lancashire Counties Fixture. They again began by ripping out their corner flags. The fans then charged into the goalmouth, jumping onto the goalposts in an attempt to snap the crossbar with the sheer numbers clambering on them. They then started to rip the nets from the posts, tearing them and trying to take them. Our players helped to retrieve the nets. After spending quite some time singing and hanging on the goalposts the fans then ran back over to our pitch whilst singing “we’re Newcastle United, we’ll do what we want.”
They then charged our goals, jumping on the goalposts again actively trying to tear the nets and rip them off the goalposts and take the nets. The nets were actually ripped, with pegs taken and net clips also ripped off. These fans again took corner posts for a second time, ripping off the flags and actively trying to snap the posts. Eventually the posts were taken and thrown and later retrieved but are now, without flags and the posts, unusable. Once again I would like to stress that, despite the obvious scenes developing, no support was provided from the authorities.
This incident was a very distasteful experience that lasted for over 40 minutes and with families, dads, grandad’s and youngsters all watching the games as well as some quite experienced players who were all left shaken. There was total disregard to costly equipment for an amateur side who rely on players’ subscriptions and kind sponsors who are becoming harder to come by at grassroots level due to the current economic climate. A match ball that cost us £65 only two weeks prior to the incident, along with corner flags, nets, pegs and clips that did not require replacing but now need replacing due to the mindless vandalism from these so called football fans and more than likely lads who themselves play for amateur sides in the North East. There will be a cost to our club of somewhere in the region of £200 to buy new equipment that would not normally need replacing. This may sound miniscule to a Premier League Club that receives mass income from a variety of sources but it is a significant debt to an amateur non-profit football club that raises its funds from charity events and the weekly charge put on its players to allow them to enjoy a game of sport.
The disrespect and hooliganism, dragging the good name of Newcastle United through the mud in such a disturbing manner is quite hard to accept to me personally as before Wigan Athletic reached the Premier League Newcastle United were always my second team. From the early Gazza day’s through to the Keegan era and most recently the Alan Shearer period, I have always had a soft spot for Newcastle and enjoyed good laughs with Geordies at matches, visiting Newcastle and away on holidays. So from a personal point of view this leaves a really sour taste in the mouth. I realise of course that other issues over the weekend have altered some relations between our clubs (Wigan Athletic & Newcastle United), but I hope that this is seen as a separate, and disappointing, issue.
The fact that these same fans have taken to Twitter and YouTube to boast about the incident and in fact revelling in it, showing no signs of remorse is possibly even more disturbing. Not only have they cost my football team a great deal of expense but they have shown a total disrespect to football itself. I feel that we all belong to a football community right from the Premier League to Grassroots football, so I am ashamed to call myself a football person at the moment and quite ashamed that these people who are allegedly representing such a great club as Newcastle United in such a manner. Fortunately the situation didn’t turn nasty as the players from all teams were heavily outnumbered but the situation could have been extremely serious as a crowd can very quickly turn into a mob and escalate violently. This was a highly volatile situation for all concerned.
I will also be writing to the Football Association regarding the matter as well as to Wigan Athletic, Newcastle United and the Greater Manchester Police in order to question why there was a lack of Police presence in order to direct the Newcastle fans from the coach park to the ground. Every other ground I have travelled to operate this policy. The Police did later turn up and do this and this did alleviate the problem and prevent this situation from escalating but unfortunately this was too late for the two games disrupted. Ultimately I feel the fans of Newcastle United Football Club should represent themselves and their football club responsibly and not in the manner that they did on Sunday. Many other fans in this situation in the past have represented their football clubs with distinction with many arriving fans watching the games and cheering all the teams on. Sadly Newcastle fans on this occasion couldn’t do that and I trust that you will join with me in condemnation of these acts and those involved in them.
The club has received a courtesy reply to our email from Wigan Athletic with a promise of a formal reply.
We also spoke to an employee from Newcastle United whilst trying to obtain an email address from the club (we have now also sent a letter). He stated "that Newcastle United are aware of the incident following a number of complaints that they had received and that the matter was now being dealt with by the Wigan Police", he added “that Newcastle United accept and are aware that they have a minority of fans intent on causing trouble and are working with the Police to identify these fans and were passing on any information and complaints to the Police.” He went on to say that "because of the Wigan away allocation there was a larger number of travelling away supporters”. He also went on to say that “your club (Wigan Cosmos) would not be reimbursed for the damage (by the Newcastle fans) to the nets, corner flags or for a replacement ball."
Newcastle United have since had a change of heart, offering to refund Wigan Cosmos in full and also inviting the club down to play at St James Park with dates etc to be confirmed.
The Newcastle Fans have also blown the club away and have so far donated at the last count close to £500 which is a quite simply staggering amount.
After meeting with Wigan Athletic the club has recently with Club Secretary Stuart Hayton, CEO Jonathan Jackson and Manager Roberto Martinez, who after talking plenty football, presented the club with a "Lucky" Training ball and a cheque for £200, these were greatfully recieved by the club as is all the generous donations.
I will update the website properly as soon as possible and will do the Newcastle fans, Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic justice in each article as well as replying to every email recieved which is the 100's, please bear in mind, i am doing all this on my own and have been tied to the computer since Thursday, i am doing the best i can but may i ask that you please remain patient.
Thanks for your understanding!
I update everythig as soon as we can!!!