Widnes Vikings have a loyal, passionate, and dedicated supporter base, who proudly represent the Club. However, in recent weeks, we have also seen a group of individuals attach themselves to the Vikings, whose anti-social behaviour is an embarrassment to everything that the Club stands for.
At recent games, we have sadly witnessed three separate instances of flares being set off. We have also experienced beer being thrown from the stands and this group fighting amongst themselves. At our fixture against Wakefield Trinity, the group released a flare and made appalling chants. They embarrassed themselves, the Club and our community.
Rugby league is an inclusive, family game, and this type of behaviour has no place in our sport. In no sense, can they be regarded as supporters.
Some will question our decision to highlight this behaviour, but morally this is the right thing to do. The supporters of our Club will be equally embarrassed by the perception this group creates of the Vikings and our town.
Anti-social behaviour like this also has the potential to a causes real damage to the Club - we only need to cast our minds back to 2014 and remember the fall out of crowd troubles in the Challenge Cup Semi Final. Such actions bring the real threat of serious fines or point deductions. No supporter would want the Club to be penalised, losing money or experiencing the adversity of a points deduction, at the hands of a mindless few.
We have also seen the impact of this type of behaviour on our home supporters. As a result of flares being set off and repeated crowd issues, we had to accept a decision by Halton Council to net off an area of the North Stand. Again, the behaviour of a few has gone on to cause issues for other decent supporters.
We ask for the assistance our supporters in tackling this. If you witness anti-social behaviour, please contact your nearest steward. There is also a confidential text number for home games, 07506 605205, and you can email any information to email@example.com. We will be using CCTV to identify any perpetrators.
The Vikings will do everything in our power to root out those who act in this way, including issuing lifetime banning orders. We will not allow a very small minority of individuals, intent on causing trouble, to ruin the enjoyment of our supporters.
There are thousands of people in our One Club family who are all working hard to support this great Club. At a time when we are looking to grow attendances and introduce new supporters to the game, we must stand up together against this behaviour.
Finally, I'd like to close this message by apologising to both the supporters of Wakefield Trinity and Widnes Vikings for the actions of this group. I hope that you can appreciate that their behaviour does not reflect the true values of this Club.