Wrexham AFC were delighted to welcome supporters back through the turnstiles at the Racecourse Ground last weekend, for what was the Club’s highest attendance for our opening home match of the season since August 1979.
As we prepare for our first away game of the campaign, against Yeovil Town on Saturday August 13, the Club would like to issue a reminder about supporter conduct, to ensure the matchday experience remains safe and enjoyable for all spectators.
The Club was hit by fines totalling nearly £13,000 last season - with further cases outstanding - which were issued for offences including throwing missiles, encroachment onto the playing area and the use of pyrotechnics.
Wrexham AFC would like to reiterate that none of the above has any place at a football match, whether home or away.
Anybody found engaging in such behaviour faces stadium bans, and will be dealt with in the strictest possible manner. The cost of fines being imposed on the Club will also be passed onto supporters convicted of this unacceptable behaviour where possible.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is a criminal offence to encroach onto the playing area during a football match – this includes the period two hours before kick-off and one hour after the final whistle; and it is a criminal offence to throw missiles such as pyrotechnics, including smoke bombs, flares, bottles and coins. As such, anybody found engaging in such behaviour could face criminal charges in addition to banning orders.
This week, two men were handed football banning orders following pitch incursions during our home match against Dover Athletic last season.
Aled Roberts, 23, from Chirk, and Gary Dugmore, 31, from Rhos, have both been handed three-year Football Banning Orders at Wrexham Magistrates Court.
The Club has issued 33 bans in total - the majority for throwing of missiles or pitch encroachment - with a further nine anti-social behaviour contracts and five warning letters issued.
The bans highlight the potential consequences of disorder on matchdays and prevents either from attending any football matches in the UK for the duration of the order. They are also prohibited from being within 2,500 metres of the Racecourse Ground on matchdays, and banned from entering any town/city where Wrexham AFC are playing an away match, or the Wales national team are playing either at home or away.
We are proud to be a safe, welcoming and inclusive family environment and can only continue to reiterate that anybody found engaging in such behaviour is not welcome at our football Club, and our matches.
Wrexham AFC are proud of the loud, vocal following we receive home and away from our incredibly loyal and passionate supporters. We also fully understand football is an emotive sport and emotions can run high among supporters.
None of this excuses the use of flares, smoke bombs and other pyrotechnics at football matches, however – none of which should even be brought into the Racecourse Ground or any venue at which Wrexham AFC are playing. Neither does it excuse encroachment on the playing surface or the throwing of missiles.
Wrexham AFC CEO Fleur Robinson said: “We have seen the incredible atmosphere our supporters can create without the need for unacceptable behaviour and we once again thank the vast majority of our supporters who follow us so passionately without causing any issues.
“It is a small minority of attendees who risk ruining this for everybody else, and the message from the football Club is clear: stop, or face the strictest possible consequences for your actions.
“I’d like to thank North Wales Police for their support on these matters, as well as those supporters who have reported any instances of unacceptable behaviour at matches.”
Superintendent Simon Barrasford, of North Wales Police, said: “The recent upturn in the fortunes of Wrexham AFC has been welcomed across the local community and there is a real buzz of support across the town, which is great to see.
“The banning orders issued by the court today following the disorder at the Wrexham vs Dover match in March are very welcome and will prevent pitch incursions from spoiling future games for genuine fans.
“We will continue to work closely with the Club, supporters and the wider community to ensure that matches at the Racecourse are safe and enjoyable for all.
“I would ask that anyone who becomes involved in any form of disorder at future games to consider the consequences that a football banning order would have on them, their friends and families, and the reputation of Wrexham AFC.”
NWP Dedicated Football Officer, Dave Evans added: “I would urge all fans to enjoy the match from the safety of their seats and not to jeopardise their future match attendance.
“I’m sure that genuine supporters are desperate to be part of Wrexham’s exciting journey in the years ahead, but they should all be aware of the serious consequences of rule breaches within football grounds.”
Supporters are encouraged to report any unacceptable matchday behaviour to email@example.com.