Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Linfield chairman issues ban warning over alleged abuse following win over Glentoran

Linfield chairman Roy McGivern
Linfield chairman Roy McGivern

By Stephen Looney

No-nonsense Linfield Chairman Roy McGivern has promised to ban any Blues fans found guilty of verbally abusing Glentoran’s official party following last weekend’s hotly contested Big Two clash at Windsor Park.

Sunday Life Sport can confirm that Linfield have launched an internal investigation into the alleged unsavoury incident which took place after Kirk Miller’s late goal sealed the Blues’ 1-0 win.

It is understood the official Glentoran delegation, led by new owner Ali Pour, were subjected to vile remarks from nearby supporters.

“If it is established that any of our fans made abusive comments to members of the Glentoran party, Linfield Football Club will take steps to ban them,” said McGivern.

Iranian/Welsh businessman Mr Pour, along with his consortium, has invested heavily in the Glens after a summer takeover at The Oval.

Mr Pour was at Windsor Park last Saturday to take in his first Big Two clash and Sunday Life understands the Glentoran contingent, who were allegedly abused by a small minority of Linfield supporters, comprised of directors, staff and family members.

The National Stadium at Windsor Park does not have a purpose-built directors’ box as other clubs do, rather it uses a VIP area designed when the new stadium was built between 2014-2016.

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“It seems to be a design flaw”, added Blues chief McGivern.

“And it is something we are looking at to find a solution.

“We don’t need a VIP area for hundreds of guests and we use part of that area of the South Stand to house supporters.

“We have spoken to our counterparts at Glentoran about alleged incidents after last Saturday’s game, we are looking into it and steps will be taken to ban supporters if they are found to have abused anyone.

“There is an issue of moving visiting parties through the stadium to our boardroom and we are looking at ways to resolve this.”

Windsor Park is owned by Linfield but the IFA has a long-term lease on the stadium with Linfield paying rent to use it, and stadium management is a constant source of tension between the two bodies.

“There is a VIP seating area in the stadium and that’s where the Irish FA President and IFA guests sit at international matches”, said an IFA spokesperson about matchday arrangements.

“This area, or part of it, could arguably be transformed into a directors’ box for club games, however it’s up to Linfield where they seat their directors and guests on match days.

“Our arrangement with Linfield means they are in charge of the stadium when Linfield play there.

“The allocation of seating and stewarding arrangements is the responsibility of Linfield FC on their match days.”

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