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Football fan facing ban swears Fife accent is cause of ‘repeated complaints’

Barry Innes.
Barry Innes.

A football fan hit with a letter threatening to revoke his season ticket because of his swearing says he is being discriminated against because he has a Fife accent.

Barry Innes, who supports Bristol City FC, is facing being banned from Ashton Gate stadium and has been moved from his seat in the South Stand to a different part of the ground.

The club claim “repeated complaints” have been lodged regarding Mr Innes’ outbursts from supporters sitting near him.

And the club has warned him he faces being banned from one or more games if he carries on swearing at matches.

Mr Innes, who lives in Southmead but is originally from Kirkcaldy, believes the club’s stewards are picking on him because he is Scottish.

He says his bad language sticks out among “everyone else there who swears” because of his distinctive voice.

Mr Innes received his first letter from Ashton Gate after the opening home game of the season, warning him fans around him had complained about his bad language.

Then, following the big game against Leeds United on Saturday (March 8), he received another email – this time telling him he was to be re-seated in another part of the stadium.

Mr Innes first moved to Bristol in 2005 and has been a season ticket holder at Bristol City for the past eight years.

He has supported the club through the dark days in League One, through promotion and now the cup runs and promotion push of the Lee Johnson era.

Mr Innes said he thinks his thick Scottish accent might seem aggressive to people, but he is never threatening.

He said: “I think it’s because I’m Scottish, so it seems aggressive. It stands out a bit.

“I might swear on the odd occasion, but to say it’s repeatedly is rubbish.

“The people behind me are louder than me, and my friends at the game will shout and swear.

“But I have tried not to, but it slips out, and it stands out a bit more.”

Ahead of tonight’s game at home to Ipswich Town, he isn’t sure where he will be seated.

An Ashton Gate spokeswoman said Mr Innes was falling foul of the EFL’s regulations about foul and abusive language.

She said: “We have received repeated complaints from supporters sitting near Mr Innes, that he is aggressive and shouts foul and abusive language.

“In accordance with Regulation 9 of the EFL’s Football Ground Regulations: The use of threatening behaviour, foul or abusive language is strictly forbidden and will result in arrest and/or ejection from the ground.

“The club may impose a ban of one or more matches. Up until now we’ve tried to appeal to Mr Innes to curb his language and behaviour.

“Mr Innes will now be moved from his seat in the South Stand and relocated to another area where he will be closely monitored.

“If Mr Innes persists in this anti-social behaviour he will be ejected and/or banned from the Ashton Gate stadium.”

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