Well-behaved away fans ARE welcome in Chorley
Chorley Council has assuredÂ visiting football fans that they ARE still welcome in the town.
The news comes after locals and fans reacted furiously to a letter that was sent to football clubs advising that they would no longer be welcome in the town for matches.
In the letter sent by Councillor Danny Gee, it stated that travelling away fans would not be welcome in town for daytime matches due to the affect it had on local businesses.
But a council spokesman told the Lancashire Post today that comments in the letter had been misinterpreted and that they actually related to large groups of antisocial football fans who had been using the town as a hub to travel to other football venues.
The council representative told the Post that well behaved away fans were still welcome.
The spokesman said: "It seems that some comments have been miscommunicated. We are not saying away fans cannot come but we just want them to bear in mind that we are a small town.
"We are asking them to be respectful when they visit our town.
"Anti-social behaviour is not acceptable but well behaved fans are still welcome."
In April, around 200 Wolves fans descended on the town ahead of their 3pm kick-off against Bolton Wanderers close-by down the M61 at the Macron Stadium.
Police said the fans were largely in good spirits and that apart from a broken glass in a pub, everything had been relatively good natured.
However, shop traders in the town called for landlords to stop serving antisocial football supporters drinks before matches which are not taking place in Chorley.
Speaking at the time, Malcolm Allen, chairman of Chorley Traders Alliance, called for both pub landlords and traders to reach a compromise on the issue.
He said: “We’ve been trying to solve this problem at the town centre team meetings for three years and it’s on the agenda again now.
“It really disrupts and damages trading in the town centre.
“All the drinking venues round the Macron Stadium say no away fans so they then come to us because it’s the nearest place. “We have raised it time and time again.
“It’s whenever there are teams playing in Bolton, Blackburn, Wigan or Preston. We can have them sometimes every other week.
“We are trying to reach a compromise. It’s business for the pubs but we need to all work together to have a successful town centre and if it’s managed correctly it should happen.”
Early this morning Chorley Town Council responded to the fury with a post on social media which explained their stance. The post reads in full: "'‹We wanted to clarify a few points in a letter regarding football fans visiting Chorley town centre, which was drafted on behalf of town centre businesses represented at the Town Team, and has perhaps been misinterpreted.'‹
"Over recent years we've seen more and more large groups of away fans travelling to clubs such as Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley stopping off at Chorley town centre.
"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.
"We've spoken to the police on numerous occasions, who are sympathetic to the situation, but because of the huge government cuts they've faced they don't have the manpower, in our opinion, to properly monitor football fans and deal with the irresponsible ones when they are in the town centre.
"If the clubs themselves see fit to stop away fans entering some of their local pubs and don't sell alcohol in the ground why should that perceived problem be passed on to our town centre to deal with?
"As we stated in the letter we have done a lot of work and invested a lot of time and money into the town centre and we don't want Saturdays, which are one of the busiest days for traders, to be affected by people put off by football fans causing anti social behaviour.
"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.
"The feedback we are getting is that this type of behaviour is putting shoppers off visiting Chorley town centre and making it a poor experience for those who are around at that time.
"As the number of times this has been occurring has been increasing we felt a way to try and stop it happening was to write to the clubs and ask them to encourage large groups of away supporters travelling together to go elsewhere rather than Chorley town centre on the way to the likes of Bolton, Preston and Blackburn.
"We appreciate the letter could have perhaps been better worded to get this message across and apologise to anyone who has been offended or upset by its content. We know it is only a small minority of people who spoil it for everyone else but its important we listen to and act upon what the town centre traders are telling us.
"We'd like to wish all football fans a successful season (except for away fans coming to Chorley FC) and we hope Chorley can keep up their 100% start to the season on Saturday."