Investigation launched after incident at King’s Lynn Town game

PUBLISHED: 11:50 10 October 2012 | UPDATED: 14:48 10 October 2012

Action from last night's clash between King's Lynn Town and Coalville Town. Picture: Ian Burt

Action from last night's clash between King's Lynn Town and Coalville Town. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

Police have launched an investigation after an incident in the players’ tunnel following last night’s clash between King’s Lynn Town and Coalville.

Officers were first called to The Walks 10 minutes before the start of the Evo-Stik Division One South clash after 20 Coalville fans were refused entry.

A Norfolk Police spokesman said officers remained in the area until after the match when an “incident of disorder” was reported in the players’ tunnel.

The spokesman said: “We are investigating an incident in the tunnel and liaising with the football club. This incident is likely to be referred to the FA by the club for further investigation.”

King’s Lynn Town captain Richard Bunting said the incident involved Coalville Town players and a group of fans stood by the tunnel.

“I didn’t see it all but it looked like their [Coalville] players were trying to go back out of the tunnel and the stewards were holding them back,” he said.

“There were stewards separating our players and their players but there were no issues between us.”

King’s Lynn Town manager Gary Setchell added: “We were in the middle of the pitch clapping our fans after a great match so I didn’t see everything.

“All I know is something happened as the Coalville players went up the tunnel and the police got involved and took them to their dressing room.”

Parts of the fence behind Lynn’s ‘Hospital End’ goal were also kicked in during the game but no complaint of damage has been made to police yet.

After the game, several Coalville town players posted messages on the social networking website Twitter condemning the behaviour of King’s Lynn Town fans.

Left back Cameron Stuart claimed Coalville players were verbally abused, punched and spat at and called for the next meeting between the sides to be played behind closed doors so they “can just get on with playing football”.

Mr Stuart later tweeted: “No problems with result or [Lynn} players who are good lads, but we shouldn’t have to put up with what happened after the game.”

Striker Jerome Murdock also claimed he had been racially abused during the game but no official complaint has been made to Norfolk Police.

However, a spokesman for the force added: “Any allegation of racist comments, by fans or players, will be thoroughly looked in to and police will take any positive action if required.”

It comes as Keith ‘Buster’ Chapman, King’s Lynn Town chairman, thanked supporters, stewards and police for “ensuring that a successful trouble-free night was had inside stadium”.

But he continued: “Ten minutes prior to the game there was an unfortunate hold up for some fans getting into the ground while a group of individuals were denied access.

“We wanted to ensure that supporters would be able to enjoy a trouble free game and therefore decided to stop any potential threats of trouble at the gates.

“While queuing a group of around 20 males, who were unknown in the local area, appeared to be highly intoxicated and reacted aggressively when questioned by our stewards, this led to a five minute delay while the turnstile gates were closed and the situation was dealt with by the police.

“I am aware this group may have continued to cause disruption outside the ground but again this was dealt with by the police and there was no damage caused to any vehicles parked in the local area. I am pleased to say the rest of the night went smoothly.”

It comes after two men were arrested after police moved in to separate King’s Lynn Town and Coalville fans the last time the sides met.

More than 30 officers were drafted in after missiles were thrown and the pitch was invaded at The Walks during the FA Vase semi-final clash last April.

A Norfolk FA spokesman said the association has not received reports from match officials but added these incidents fall under the jurisdiction of the FA - not the county FA.

A spokesman for Leicestershire and Rutland Football Association, which Coalville Town are affiliated with, said the association wasn’t aware of last night’s incidents and would not make any comment.

On the pitch, King’s Lynn Town ended Coalville’s unbeaten league record after an electric 90 minutes of football.

A sensational start from Lynn saw them go 2-0 up inside 12 minutes thanks to goals from Steve Spriggs and Jason Turner.

But Ryan Robbins’ replied to keep things interesting – and both sides slugged it out until Spriggs notched again to wrap up his side’s win.

*Were you are The Walks last night? What did you see? Call the newsroom on 01553 778 681

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