READ | Message from the Board: Support the team responsibly

We all have a responsibility to protect the reputation of our Club and ensure that watching Chester FC is a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone.

The support you have given the team so far this season home and away has been exceptional. We are proud of our fan base and take great encouragement from the growing number of younger fans at matches, the efforts of Cestrians 1885 to enhance the atmosphere on the Harry McNally Terrace and the tremendous followings on the road.

Like you, the players and staff are hugely excited for this weekend’s FA Cup tie at Oldham Athletic, where we will have the backing of one of our biggest away followings for some time in what is a brilliant opportunity to showcase our football club.

The majority of our fans behave impeccably and have earned the respect of other clubs, but over the past 18 months we have experienced an increase in antisocial behaviour and, following further incidents this season, our message to the minority responsible is that it needs to stop.

The ‘Love Football. Protect the Game’ campaign has implemented stronger measures and tougher sanctions for antisocial and criminal behaviour within football stadiums.

The FA expects us to take more responsibility and clamp down on poor behaviour. Clubs are now required to report offences to the police and to issue automatic stadium bans – or face heavy financial penalties.

If you are identified entering the pitch without permission, carrying or using smoke bombs, throwing objects onto the pitch or taking drugs, then you can expect to be issued with a temporary or lifetime ban – and risk criminal prosecution.

It is vital you understand the potential consequences and we urge you to think before you act.

The Club will also be working with stewards and police to challenge unacceptable conduct within the Deva Stadium, including discrimination, harassment and threatening or abusive behaviour.

We understand football is a passionate game, but using offensive language, making threats of violence and sexist or racist chanting does not help your team. It is damaging to our reputation as a family club and does not reflect the values of a supporter-owned, community football club.

Four supporters have recently been issued with formal warning letters to improve their behaviour as part of this new approach and we trust those individuals will heed the warning and take positive action, however anyone who persists in unacceptable conduct risks being ejected from the ground and issued with a stadium ban.

Everyone attending a football match has the right to feel welcome, safe and included, so if you see or hear something that concerns you, please report it to the nearest steward.

Thank you for your continued support.