Vikings plead with fans to behave

Brian O’Connor, a director at Widnes Vikings, has pleaded with fans to watch their behaviour after receiving a number of complaints from other supporters.

O’Connor claims that a number of first-time supporters have been put off by the language used by a ‘small number’ of people.

And in an open letter on the club’s official website, O’Connor has asked fans to think about their actions.

The statement reads: “One area of concern for the club is the behaviour of a small number of people which is ultimately discouraging new supporters to embrace our sport and, more importantly, OUR club.

“We have fielded a number of complaints over the past few weeks from supporters, primarily attending their first game or first away game, who have felt the need to highlight to the club that although the spectacle on the field was fantastic they would not be returning due to the language or inappropriate behaviour that they had encountered in the stands.

“As with any sporting environment passions can ride high and emotion can get the better of people.  All we ask is that our supporters remain as loud, passionate, proud, witty and funny as always whilst being respectful of each other, in particular those with young children in attendance.”

The Vikings fans have been in a number of incidents in the past, with the most memorable coming in 2014 when fans invaded the pitch following their Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Castleford Tigers.

The statement continued: “As a club I strongly believe that we are building something special at Widnes Vikings, something that the whole town and borough of Halton can be proud of. We work tirelessly in our local community to encourage people, especially youngsters, to attend their first game. Our challenge as a group is that we ensure that they have a great experience and wish to return week after week to allow us continue our growth and capture the next generation of supporters.

“If we miss this opportunity due to an uncomfortable experience at the game, then the chances of recovering their support is highly unlikely.

“I would ask that all supporters are respectful to others and considerate of those around them to ensure that nobody, regardless of age, sex, gender, ability or race is offended or feels threatened in any way.”

The club have a confidential text service called ‘Tackleit’, which allows fans to report any bad behaviour at both home and away fixtures.