Chorley Council aims to stop football fans intimidating locals
A town council has told large groups of unruly football fans to stay away after complaints from residents and shopkeepers.
Chorley Council has made the move amid reports of shoppers being intimidated by visiting supporters stopping off in the town on the way to matches at neighbouring clubs Bolton, Preston, Wigan, Blackburn and Burnley.
The council sent a letter to clubs suggesting fans were ‘not welcome’ in the town, but Councillor Danny Gee, chair of the Town Team, has since moved to clarify the situation.
He said: ‘One of the reasons they call here is that it is more and more difficult for away fans to get into pubs close to those grounds with many not admitting away fans and for certain games alcohol is not served to away fans in the stadiums.
‘That in turn has led to large groups of fans visiting Chorley town centre and on occasions spilling out of pubs on to the streets, drinking and intimidating people in town who are doing their shopping.
‘We know this is the case because both shoppers and traders have told us this and want us to do something about it.’
Coun Gee said police are sympathetic to the situation, but do not have the manpower to monitor coach-loads of people, often amounting to several hundred, and deal with the ‘irresponsible’ ones.
He added: ‘We know many football fans do visit Chorley town centre, whether that be residents meeting up with friends to go and support a team elsewhere, or fans of Chorley FC and their opponents, and are not only well behaved, but spend their money in the local pubs.
‘We very much welcome you to the town centre and the sentiments in the letter are not aimed at you.
‘What we are trying to stop is the occasions when we get a large group of supporters stopping off on the way to one of the above grounds descending upon a pub and then spilling out on to the streets, drinking, chanting and intimidating people who are there to enjoy themselves and do some shopping.’