It has come to the attention of the AFC Fylde Board that a ‘club statement’ was issued on 21 October by the Board of Chester FC, relating to events that occurred at the Chester FC vs AFC Fylde fixture, held at Chester’s Deva Stadium on 27 August this year.
AFC Fylde would like to record that they consider the Chester FC statement – superficially expressing concern about their unfair treatment by the Daily Mail newspaper – to be an outrageous misrepresentation of events and an insult to those at AFC Fylde that were subjected on the day to both verbal and physical aggression of the worst kind, not only from Chester supporters but also by a member of the Chester FC management team.
The decision by Cheshire Police and the Football Association (FA) not to charge Chester FC and a specific member of their management team was not, as stated by the Board of Chester FC, the outcome of unfair and unwarranted accusations.
Events on the day, together with first-hand witness statements and supported in writing by Cheshire Police, resulted in a number of Chester supporters being banned by the Club. The Police and FA subsequently confirmed to AFC Fylde that they were prepared to bring charges against Chester’s Assistant Manager relating to the entirely unwarranted aggression directed by him towards the AFC Fylde kitman.
Following the events of 27 August, AFC Fylde took all appropriate actions by notifying Chester FC that they had reported their concerns to Cheshire Police and to the FA. When AFC Fylde was subsequently notified by Cheshire Police and the FA that they were ready to charge the Assistant Manager of Chester, both the Police and the FA were informed in writing by AFC Fylde that AFC Fylde would prefer matters to be concluded without the potential threat to a fellow professional’s livelihood.
The AFC Fylde Board continued to work diligently with Cheshire Police and the FA to ensure that all related witness statements and activities were handled in a way that would ultimately facilitate cordial relations between AFC Fylde and Chester FC. It was the continuous involvement of the AFC Fylde Board on all related matters, together with the gracious behaviour of AFC Fylde’s kitman, that specifically prevented formal charges from being brought against the Assistant Manager of Chester by both the Police and the FA.
It was the AFC Fylde Board, with the support of the AFC Fylde kitman, working with the Police and the FA, that suggested that a written apology from the Assistant Manager of Chester would settle matters, rather than charges being brought against a fellow professional. This was explained to the Assistant Manager of Chester, who, to his credit, telephoned the AFC Fylde kitman to offer his sincere apologies for the events of 27 August. The Assistant Manager followed this up with what appeared to be genuine remorse in his written apology – albeit an apology that was limited to his swearing rather than other actions directed towards the kitman
When the written apology had been received by the kitman, the AFC Fylde Board confirmed to the Police and the FA that they were content that matters could be considered closed and that AFC Fylde was happy that no charges were to be made by either party against the Assistant Manager of Chester.
AFC Fylde subsequently received written confirmation from the Police and the FA that this matter could be considered closed. The FA, however, subsequently confirmed that they had issued a formal warning to the Assistant Manager of Chester.
Chester’s self-serving announcement of 21 October, portraying the Club and its staff as the hapless victims of circumstance, AFC Fylde and the Daily Mail newspaper, does their Club no credit whatsoever. The clear inference that AFC Fylde was in some way culpable in the sequence of events, and that Chester was due an apology from AFC Fylde, remains, at best, a shameful attempt to deflect attention from the behaviour of a small number of Chester’s supporters and, separately, their Assistant Manager.
It is the opinion of AFC Fylde that whoever approved the Chester FC statement has done themselves and their Club no credit whatsoever.
AFC Fylde has written to Chester FC, with a request that Chester’s statement is withdrawn and that an apology for the misrepresentation of events is issued to AFC Fylde. No such withdrawal or apology has been received, hence this statement by the AFC Fylde Board.
The Board of AFC Fylde would like to reiterate their previously stated views, expressed to Cheshire Police, the FA, and the National League, that they wish to maintain positive and effective relations with all Clubs within the National League structure – including their good friends at Chester FC, who they look forward to hosting at Mill Farm in January 2023.