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Bristol City apologise for ‘offensive’ message on big screen about loyalist murderer

Bristol City have took to apologise for an ‘offensive’ message on the big screen at Ashton Gate about loyalist murderer Michael Stone.

Social media users want an inquiry after a message appeared at Bristol City congratulating Michael Stone, a convicted loyalist murderer for “beating Milltown 3-0”.

The Championship outfit has said sorry for its “serious mistake” that resulted in the message being displayed on the board at half time on Saturday.

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The ‘tribute’ was shown during the club’s match against Burnley, which ended with a 2-1 loss for the hosts.

After the game, it’s believed that players, including Belfast-born Mark Sykes who plays for Republic of Ireland, thought the picture was a fake, according to Sunday World.

A spokesperson for the club confirmed that it did indeed appear on the screen at Ashton Gate, and said all efforts were being made to find the culprit and faces a stadium ban.

Club members have been urged to find out who Michael Stone was and what he had done at Milltown Cemetery in March 1988, going on to spend 27 years in prison for a series of sectarian murders.

Three of his victims died when he launched a gun-and-grenade attack on the graveyard in west Belfast where an IRA burial was taking place. He also injured 60 other people.

Stone was able to escape a group of mourners that pursued him, but he was apprehended later by officers.

The police dealt with an angry mob after Stone was put in to a car that the IRA hijacked on the M1 motorway.

The vehicle was stopped before the perpetrator was arrested with his life saved.

The loyalist murderer was sentenced to life in prison, but released under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000.

Six years later, he was arrested at Stormont for trying to kill Sinn Féin chiefs Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

Stone was armed when being caught by security personnel with a knife and an imitation pistol, as well as a viable explosive device.

His wife Karan and he returned to Parliament Buildings in May last year to celebrate the Orange Order’s NI Centenary with his release on parole two years earlier.

“Bristol City would like to sincerely apologise for any offence caused by a message displayed on the screen,” the club said.

“We acknowledge that this was a serious error and the message that was sent into the club, one of many messages received and displayed on match days during the season, should never have got through our checking procedures.

“We will now review those processes and take every step to avoid something like this happening again.”

This is what Twitter users said as Bristol City apologise for the ‘offensive’ message on their big screen about loyalist murderer Michael Stone…

@DagensMargaret: That is revolting.

@boyscout1966: Won’t be hard to trace the culprit. @BristolCity

What is going on in English football.
The English FA has allowed abuse
of McClean, and other Irish players,
go on for years – with no real action.
Even this incident gets under reported.
But hey, lets host a Euros with them.
(FAI will just look the other way)

@OConnachain: What disgusting individual would do this.. 🤬

@BirgitSchippers: Utterly disgraceful ‘tribute’ during @BristolCity home game against Burnley

@BelfColm74: Surely @BristolCity can trace who sent and paid for that message. Name and shame them.

@Fuscalino: In their defence, English people neither know nor really care about what happened here.

@AndrewMcG_90: Not much of a prank is it? Not funny and I doubt many in the stadium know who Stone is so not even sure who it is aimed at. If someone hadn’t snapped the picture it would have went completely unnoticed.

@RoisinG86: Some sick people in the world

@SEFFLisnaskea: We take absolutely no glee in the death of anyone, the message displayed on the Bristol City FC large screen was a crude stunt by someone who does not share our value system. Stone was a convicted terrorist who brought devastation to many homes. Some will say he was attacking an IRA funeral & by extension directly attacking the IRA. This is no justification. Because those being buried were involved in terrorism & destruction doesn’t then justify a retaliatory act of terrorism upon those attending that funeral, whatever of .their status as civilians or IRA members. We also must be mindful that just a couple of days later 2 off duty Army Cpls David Howes & Derek Wood were butchered by a Republican mob. Those actions, the actions of Stone & the actions of The Gibraltar 3 prior to their deaths were all wrong. There was never justification for the use of criminal violence in the furtherance of or defence of a political objective.

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