Bray Wanderers are “making progress” in eliminating crowd trouble which has marred some of their games this season.
Ugly scenes were witnessed earlier this month when Longford hosted Bray, as a small group of supporters in the away section engaged in violent behaviour towards stewards.
In May, stewards were forced to intervene to keep distance between manager Pat Devlin and some fans during an incident away to Wexford. Bray’s chairman Tony Richardson said the club are working hard to eradicate the behaviour.
“We are making progress in trying to stamp it out. We are pretty confident that we’re getting to the bottom of it. It gets a bit costly putting on extra security and when there’s fines involved. That’s money that could be used within the club. I think the most important thing is that we are dealing with it.” The club has strongly condemned the behaviour of the perpetrators and operates a zero-tolerance policy for anti-social behaviour. League of Ireland director Mark Scanlon praised the club for tackling the issues.
“It’s something we don’t want to see happen,” said Scanlon. “It’s important to note that it’s on a very small basis. Overall, you have to look at the positives in the league. The attendances are up 23pc. There are lots of new supporters coming in and here in Bray, the club are very keen on it. They want to see families involved and people coming in who weren’t at games before.”
Scanlon was speaking at the launch of Bray’s new permanent rainbow seating area at the Carlisle Grounds, as part of ‘Pride’ month. The initiative aims to promote diversity and inclusion in the local community.
“This isn’t just a box-ticking exercise for a month,” Scanlon added. “It’s something the club feels strongly about. It’s a fantastic initiative. We are very supportive of any similar initiatives, like the rainbow corner flags, captains’ armbands or rainbow laces. We have a lot of really strong community officers within the League of Ireland now. They see the real social issues and make sure their club embraces them.
“Hopefully it’s something that, ironically, people don’t see if the seats are occupied, because it brings people into the ground.”
Richardson said the club aims to reach out to all aspects of the community. “It’s really important,” Richardson continued. “We’re really trying to reach out to all aspects of the community and make the ground open and inclusive. It’s a great initiative. It’s the first in the country and has been really well received.”
Bray have taken 18 points from 20 games and currently sit seventh in the First Division.