Hartlepool United’s match was left marred and close to being abandoned today after some Dover Athletic players suffered racist abuse.
There were awful scenes as some members of the Dover squad ended up confronting Pools supporters after Inih Effiong celebrated in front of the home fans.
Play didn’t resume for eight minutes as something was shouted from the stands, causing a flare up.
An announcement was made at half-time condemning racism.
The game continued and it saw Dover end up coming away with a 2-0 win, though there was yet more trouble with Hartlepool having two players along with manager Craig Hignett sent off and a Pools fan targeted an attack on official Joseph Johnson.
— MailHUFC (@HUFCMail) September 21, 2019
Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler said: “It’s a sad day for football.
“At half-time we were calm. I spoke to Craig and at one stage I wanted to come off the pitch – and Craig agreed with me.
“He was saying the same, we backed each other up, but the players wanted to carry on and credit to them.
“It’s a tough one for the referee – how tough for him. A crazy day all around. I’ve not been lucky here in recent years, but I’ll take that one.
“They wanted to carry on. We spoke and their players wanted to carry on too. I didn’t like what was going on, I felt it in my stomach.
“I said ‘look, if you want to come off, lets come off’, but they wanted to carry on – although we were winning 1-0 at the time.”
Hartlepool chief executive Mark Maguire said: “Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision, or the aftermath to the penalty which was scored, Hartlepool United utterly condemn racist behaviour of any description.
“We are a proudly inclusive as a Club, and we know that the vast majority of Pools fans will join us in standing up against words and actions which have no place in football or society.
“As I understand it, in this, the early stages after the event, individuals have been identified and will be dealt with in the strongest possible manner by both the Club and police.
“Equally, I personally spoke to the people on the receiving end of the abuse, assuring them that we would take the necessary action.
“We also made a public announcement at half time, setting out our condemnation of such behaviour, whilst I also spoke with the Chairman of Dover to offer my apology.
“As a Club we will protect the principles held by the vast majority of our fan base who would be insulted by their reputation being tarnished in this manner. In these type of circumstances actions speak louder than words and we will be judged accordingly.
“On days like today, Directors, Management and staff of both clubs have a responsibility to stand up and be counted, and we have no hesitation in reacting in the strongest possible manner.
“Of a completely separate nature is any concern surrounding events on and off the pitch during and immediately after the game, and we will deal with this accordingly with the appropriate authorities.”
There was also words from Craig Hignett, the Pools boss…
"Racism has no place in football and no place in life and those people will be dealt with severely because that's not us as a Football Club."
— Hartlepool United FC (@Official_HUFC) September 21, 2019
Jeff Stelling spoke of his disgust…
Ashamed of the fans who disgraced themselves and @Official_HUFC today. Credit to @APMafuta and @nickekabamba for their action. It does not matter who they play for , racist abuse of any sort is disgusting. Makes me feel sick
— Jeff Stelling (@JeffStelling15) September 21, 2019
A caller on a radio show also expressed his shock at what he witnessed…
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) September 21, 2019
After finding out what happened today at Hartlepool, fans took to give their reaction most slammed the culprits – see what they had to say on the next page.