A GROUP of more than 30 Limerick FC supporters who have been banned from attending the club’s home games have vowed to continue their protest outside Jackman Park on match days.
The supporters, members of the Blue Army Loyalty Group (BALG), have been informed by Limerick FC that they are ‘no longer welcome’ at the club’s home fixtures as a result of ‘unacceptable behaviour’ at previous games.
Limerick FC, in a statement, claimed the club had received a number of complaints from supporters - many with young children - who had stated their unwillingness to attend further games due to the banned supporters’ behaviour.
Limerick FC have indicated that they will not comment further on the matter.
Members of BALG held a protest outside Jackman Park on Saturday evening prior to Limerick’s Premier Division clash with Longford Town. The group unfurled a banner which read, ‘The fans are the club’.
Chairman of BALG, Kevin Kiely, said the issue began in a local bar prior to this season’s opening home league game with Bohemians when they were informed by the Club Chairman that they would not be allowed watch the game from the stand at Jackman Park.
Kiely, who was a Limerick FC season ticket holder and has supported the club for 15 years, said: “We got into the stand for the Bohs game.
“However, after the Bohs match we e-mailed the club looking for an apology over how we had treated in the pub prior to that game. We felt we were treated with a complete lack of respect.
“The club looked for a list of names of those who were in the bar that day so they could speak to them and we provided it. The club then informed us that everyone on the list was now banned from attending games.
“They said bad language and abusive songs were the reasons. We can get a bit loud and hyper at games, but we don’t cross the line.
“There has never been any contact with us ever before about toning down the language in our songs. I had bought a season ticket before the start of the season costing €180 but have gotten my money back. In the last four years I have missed just five of Limerick FC’s home games and seven away games. We have spent massive money supporting the club.
“We didn’t want to make a big deal out of this. We felt that we needed an apology and if we got one we would 100% take it. We want this put to bed and to get back supporting the team. Now more than ever the team needs the support. We held a protest outside Jackman Park before Saturday night’s game with Longford. We got a good reaction from people on the night. I watched 20 minutes of the game looking in over the wall from the train station, but my view of the match wasn’t great.
“The whole thing is very frustrating. The lads are talking about having a protest before every home game until this is sorted. We have no problem meeting the club.”
Limerick’s FC’s home attendance in the Premier League fell dramatically from their first to second games. While 920 fans paid in to see the opening weekend 3-0 defeat to Bohemians, the attendance given for last weekend’s clash with Longford Town was just 481.
Limerick FC’s next home game is against FAI Cup holders St Patrick’s Athletic at Jackman Park on Saturday next at 6.30pm.