A LIFELONG Chester City fan is angry after he and seven children were forced to leave their seats at the Deva Stadium.
Just 25 minutes into Chester City’s Carling Cup clash against Leeds United on Tuesday night, Matthew Dalton, his four children and their three friends – all aged between seven and 11 – were told they could not sit together.
After discovering that seats in the East stand he had paid £85 to book had been occupied, Mr Dalton, 37, went in search of eight vacant seats together.
Mr Dalton, operations manager at King Kabs in Chester and a supporter for 25 years, sat the children in a buffer zone of empty seats which had been cordoned off.
He said: “The kids were really excited because it was the first game I’d taken them to, but they weren’t jumping about. A steward came up 25 minutes later and said ‘you can’t sit there’.
“Three police officers said to the stewards: ‘can’t you just leave them there, they’re not doing anything wrong’. A lot of people in the stand all started shouting ‘leave the kids alone’.
“Two of my kids started crying their eyes out, wondering why their dad was getting kicked out.”
Mr Dalton was told the people who had sat in their seats could not be moved because a disruptive game of musical chairs would have ensued.
He was offered empty seats dotted around the ground but with seven children to look after, he politely declined.
On their early exit from the Deva, Matthew took the children – still clad in Chester City scarves – to McDonalds.
“My youngest said ‘I want to burn my scarf,” he added.
As a ‘gesture of goodwill’, the club offered Mr Dalton eight tickets to the game against Barnet and a full refund.
Club secretary Tony Allen said: “It’s unacceptable. This is being looked into and if this is down to poor stewarding then the club will take a very dim view. If it is, something’s got to be done.
“They are supporters and supporters are valued customers. They are our future and we want the experience of coming to Chester City to be an enjoyable one.
“Let’s hope they have smiles on their faces at the Barnet game and they want to come again.”
Cheshire Police spokesman Glyn Hellam promised police will discuss with stewards a solution enabling supporters to sit in the groups they travel to matches in at the next safety advisory group meeting.