Like many however, we were shocked at the extent to which TCFC Chairman Peter Masters has been prepared to continually give misleading accounts of the events in question to the press including using his personal contacts in the media to sensationalise and misrepresent the actions of those involved.
We now find that the original club banning orders have been extended without any of the banned being given sight of the FA Report on which the bans were apparently based nor having any opportunity to appeal. Therefore we would like to put on record the facts relating to the incidents and subsequent bans without hysteria or sensationalism:
In some cases, because none of the banned fans have been told specifically why they have been banned, we can only use previous media and press statements made by Mr Masters to guess which incident each fans ban relates to.
Two smoke sticks where let off in the stand housing the bulk of the Truro City fans.
These smoke sticks are designed to be used safely as fireless hand held devices. Whilst deemed illegal to use except in an emergency, their use on the day put nobody in any danger and if anyone was uncomfortable with the smoke they could simply have just walked away from the area.
Being annoyed that at half-time the TCFC Chairman had ordered the players to snub its own supporters at the end of the game, a TISA representative enters the Dunstable Town Boardroom and confronts the TCFC Chairman, accusing him of disrespecting the Truro City fans.
The representative did not know it was the Boardroom. There was no sign to indicate that it was and the entrance was directly accessible to the supporters standing area. Although confrontational, there was no foul or abusive language used. The Dunstable Town Chairman, in reply to a letter of apology for this incident sent to him by the TISA Secretary, confirms that he “fully understands” the feelings of the fans prior to the entrance into the boardroom, and that it caused “no offence” just “mild shock and amusement”, and is happy for the representative to “buy him a pint” the next time the two teams meet in March.
Mr Masters had several exchanges with fans on the closed Facebook TISA Group.
Mr Masters had himself requested to join the TISA closed Facebook Group and had been told at that time that it is an un-moderated group where comments may sometimes offend. He himself has used social media to make some pretty tasty comments about people, so to actually ban people on the grounds that he didn’t like what he read is a bit rich.
The following banning orders have been issued by TCFC:
· Two fans banned from Treyew Road until the end of season 2016/17
· Two fan banned from Treyew Road until the end of season 2015/16
· Three fans banned from Treyew Road until the end of the current season
In addition to being banned from Treyew Road, TCFC have stated that on all TCFC away matches the host club will be made aware of the bans. To date this has included asking host clubs to display ‘mug shots’ of the banned and trying to persuade them to enforce the bans at their ground.
With regard to the smoke stick incident (Incident 1), it was so widely rumoured in advance that a pyrotechnic device was planned that it is inconceivable to us that Mr Masters himself was not aware of this. It is strange, therefore, that he did not inform his hosts of this, in order that they may take some preventative action or plan for the event, or indeed speak to any of the supporters’ representatives to try and dissuade them from carrying out their planned action. Rather than do any of these things he instead chose to position himself at a vantage point alongside his photographer who he instructed to snap away as events unfolded.
Whilst TISA recognises that the actions of some fans including some of its members may have overstepped the mark at Dunstable, we really would have expected things to be dealt with a little more leniently considering the support we have given the club over recent turbulent times. Our members travel to every league away game with an average round trip distance of 487 miles. (Indeed the Dunstable round trip was 600 miles). If the players are not allowed to come over to the fans at the end of a game when we have demonstrated that level of commitment and support then it’s little wonder we are going to be upset. Not forgetting that it was only two out of a contingent of around 40 fans that let off smoke sticks.
TISA was instrumental in guiding Truro City through the administration process it found itself in when the former owner sold Treyew Road and went into bankruptcy. Had it not been for our actions then, there would not have been a club for Mr Masters and his business partner to purchase. Whilst we predominantly raise money for ourselves in order that we can fund our massively expensive travel to away games, we do also contribute annually to charities which included approximately £600 recently to Cornwall Hospice Care and Bipolar UK. We may not be able to contribute very much in hard cash directly to the football club apart from our money through the turnstiles and in player sponsorship, but that money is permanently given unlike the current owners whose funds are given as directors’ loans for which they stand to be compensated for by the company hoping to develop Treyew Road.
We understand that Mr Masters resents the independent nature of our association, having tried and failed on several occasions to establish an official supporters’ club. His failure to do so is a result of alienating most of the volunteers who gave their time freely before and after his arrival at the club. When Mr Masters arrived he had a structure of approximately 50 volunteers, over half of whom have now been sacked or have resigned in exasperation of his tyrannical approach. This is in addition to the entire reserve team which Mr Masters disbanded last July.
In conclusion TISA regrets the disturbances on the day in question but it is the host club Dunstable Town whose stadium suffered the smoke, and their Board room which had an unwelcomed guest appearance, and it is to them that TISA has given its written apology indicating a willingness to pay for any damage although we believed there was very little or none. Thankfully, unlike Mr Masters, the Dunstable Chairman clearly being a rational ‘football’ man, understanding of the feelings of supporters, accepted this apology, dismissing the event as “that’s football for you”
Regretfully what was a healthy relationship between fans and owner has now deteriorated due to the draconian measures enforced, but with Mr Masters it’s very often a case of ‘My Way or the Highway’ - unfortunately we are just the latest car crash on his highway.
Simon Birch - TISA Secretary
Simon Birch - TISA Secretary