WINSFORD United Football Club have issued a formal apology to Northwich Victoria manager Steve Wilkes after he was subjected to a tirade of slanderous abuse from a small section of the crowd during Tuesday's cup clash.

And the club's chiefs, who say they are undertaking a thorough review of matchday operations, are calling on other supporters to name and shame the culprits so that they can be 'dealt with in the strongest manner'.

Wilkes posted on social media how he had suffered 'disgusting and vile' chanting at the hands of 'Winsford United fans' throughout the Mid Cheshire District FA Senior Cup semi-final at Barton Stadium, saying they had 'crossed the line' in regards to banter usually associated with rival fans.

He described the verbal attack as nothing like he had experienced in 24 years of non-league management and Wilkes went on to post three videos in which the personal abuse could be clearly heard.

Wilkes also revealed the obscenities continued when he entered the clubhouse after the game and feared the situation could have turned 'nasty'.

The behaviour of a group of youths, not known as regulars at Winsford's ground and who were said to be in a drunken state, has left others who were at the game and non-league fans in general appalled and offering their support to Wilkes.

Winsford United officials have responded by condemning the actions of those responsible and apologising to Wilkes and both sets of fans for having to witness the 'inexcusable behaviour'.

Wilkes posted: "On Tuesday night away at Winsford I was subjected to what can only be described as disgusting, vile chants for 90 minutes of a football match.

"Anyone who knows me will know that the Small, Baldy, Fat chants are what I call 'banter', but in 24 years as a non-league manager I have never heard comments like I endured on Tuesday night.

"This even carried on when I walked into the clubhouse after the game.

"I love being a non-league football manager and love the interaction with other fans, but the Winsford fans crossed the line Tuesday night."

He added: "Thankfully no member from my family attended the game.

"I'd like to thank the lady stewardess in the clubhouse, who tried to diffuse the situation that could easily have turned nasty after the game.

"I'd also like to thank my club Northwich Victoria for the support they've given me since Tuesday.

"I hope no other manager has to listen to what I had to listen to for 90 minutes last Tuesday."

Wilkes has been praised for the way he dealt with the situation on the night by Vics goalkeeping coach Garry Williams.

He posted on Twitter: "I was sat on the bench throughout the game and have to say Winsford United fans totally crossed the line.

"It was a vile and disgusting tirade by a group of drunken idiots.

"Steve Wilkes conducted himself with total professionalism and control. A credit to himself."

Approximately three hours after Wilkes revealed on social media what he had been subjected to, a club statement was issued by Winsford United 'regarding the behaviour from a small few'.

The statement said: "Winsford United Football Club are appalled by some of the chants circulating social media during the Winsford United v Northwich Victoria derby at Barton Stadium last Tuesday.

Steve Wilkes has posted on Twitter this example of the abuse he was subjected to:


"The club wholly condemns the chants and urges other supporters to help us identify those responsible.

"Chants of this nature besmirch the good name of Winsford United Football Club and our fans.

"If the perpetrators are identified they will be dealt with in the strongest manner by the club, resulting in lifetime bans to Barton Stadium and be reported to the police immediately.

"Our staff will be vigilant at forthcoming games to ensure that anybody attempting repetition of these chants will be dealt with severely.

"The club would like to formally apologise to Steve Wilkes, and both sets of supporters who had to witness the inexcusable behaviour."

The statement continues: "We would like to remind all supporters visiting the Barton Stadium that it is against the law to shout or chant abuse on the grounds of ability or disability; age; gender; gender reassignment; marital status or civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race, nationality or ethnicity; religion or belief; or sexual orientation.

"Under the Equality Act 2010 it is an offence to refer to the above protected characteristics in abusive terms and doing so could lead to arrest and prosecution.

"The club is currently undertaking a thorough review of matchday operations in line with its Equality Policy and supporters are urged to report any such abuse to the club as quickly as possible.

"Staff will then be required to relay any complaint that involves discriminatory behaviour to the control room immediately for a response to be provided."