King’s Lynn chairman pledges to act after FA hearing
King's Lynn chairman Buster Chapman insisted yesterday lessons must be learned after the club were fined �150 at a Wembley FA hearing into the crowd disorder that marred last season's FA Vase semi-final aggregate defeat.
Town were charged with three breaches of FA rule E20 at a four hour disciplinary commission, with opponents Coalville fined an identical amount for two breaches of the same rule following the second leg tie at The Walks on April 2.
Chapman is now appealing to the club's huge support base to ensure there is no repeat of the ugly scenes which saw police make two public order arrests outside the ground following the tie.
'As far we are concerned that is the end of the matter,' he said. 'We draw a line under that and the season and we can move on. Norfolk constabulary and the Norfolk safety advisory group were very supportive and the club would like to place on record its thanks to both. We acted on what happened immediately and things were put in place for the next big game when we played St Neots. We'll be giving our staff further training and there will be banning orders placed in the future.
'We are still carrying out investigations in the events of that day, but no-one has been banned. A small minority of supporters have let the club down. The club takes on board the fine, but it is as a result of the actions of a small group.'
Lynn officials put forward a case backed by video evidence and supporting statements from the authorities.
'It was a long old day but we were found guilty on all three charges and they fined us a nominal fee,' said Chapman. 'They asked us to submit evidence to tell them what exactly had happened on that day and we did that with a view to putting across what we felt were mitigating circumstances and to appeal for leniency. The problem, unfortunately, with these type of incidents is that you can not control every single supporter inside the ground.
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'It was basically a supporters' conduct charge so unless you have as many stewards in the ground as supporters it is not something you can ever say isn't going to happen. We felt we had a strong case and we went in there with supporting statements and video evidence.
'Under the way it works, once the club had been charged then the presumption is you are guilty and it's really a situation where you try to put forward evidence to mitigate that. There is nothing else more you can do.'
Chapman remains convinced the UCL Premier Division title contenders have a bright future ahead of their second season in existence.
'No one wanted to see what happened that day,' he said. 'But if everyone can take on board what we saw and make sure it doesn't happen again then that is the one major positive to take from it all.
'There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. The FA case is closed now. That is behind us and we have the open day coming up on July 2 where fans can come down and meet the new players and have a look around. We'd invite all the fans to come and meet the lads and see the facilities.'