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Torquay fans apologise for ‘vile chants’ about Yeovil’s Lee Collins

Torquay United fans apologise for ‘vile chants’ about Yeovil‘s Lee Collins sung during the two sides’ recent league meeting.

A small group standing with the Gulls fans on the Popular Side started to taunt visiting supporters with the chant about the footballer, who sadly died earlier this year.

One home fan said it was “the most abhorrent, disgusting, disrespectful and utterly unacceptable chant I’ve ever heard.”

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Torquay officials have set up their own investigation and have pledged lifetime bans for the perpetrators if they are able to identify.

Some of the Plainmoor faithful confronted the group on the terrace at the time, with the chant was widely condemned online after the match.

Now a group of Torquay supporters has written an open letter to Yeovil Town and their fans, condemning the chant and apologising for the actions of the small group.

The letter has been signed by 16 fans and is also signed from ‘All the right and proper thinking supporters of TUAFC’.

One of the signatories – Hayden Jones – said the letter-writers would also be lodging a formal complaint with their own club about the behaviour of the chanting group.

Collins unfortunately took his own life in March 2021. He was 32 years old.

An inquest heard that he had been “struggling with injuries and personal problems”, and had battled long-term alcohol problems.

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The letter of apology in full reads:

“Dear Yeovil Town FC and all their supporters.

“I almost don’t know where to start but I shall try. What I can tell you is that I write to you in genuine and profuse apology.

“I can’t say that I speak on behalf of the Torquay United supporter base, as I haven’t had time to consult them widely, but I am confident that 99.9 per cent of all Torquay supporters will agree with the main sentiment of this missive.

“Collectively we are incredulous at the decision of some ‘people’ – and I use the word people in the widest sense of the word – to chant the most abhorrent, disgusting, disrespectful and utterly unacceptable chant I’ve ever heard in my 36-plus years of standing on the Pop Side.

“I won’t give it a crumb of dignity by repeating any part of it here, but suffice to say that it was aimed at ridiculing your former captain Lee Collins and his tragic suicide.

“I have always been very proud of the dignified way Torquay United fans go about their support of the team and the fact that they are an extremely friendly and welcoming bunch.

“Sadly on this occasion the levels of bonhomie were massively diluted by the actions of a few who I can assure you DO NOT represent the wider Torquay United supporter base.

“I sincerely hope that you can see the genuine nature of the apology which I extend to you all.

“In the spirit of football I hope that you will refuse to tar all Torquay United supporters with the same brush which was wielded with such hatred by the few.”

Mr Jones added: “I have no idea who these people were as I’ve not seen them before, but I couldn’t in all good conscience stand there and listen to that without intervening.

“I got plenty of verbal abuse for doing so and it was pretty intimidating, so I can totally understand people’s reticence when they find themselves in such a situation, but I just had to call it out.”

Torquay United has confirmed that it is investigating the matter.

In a statement the club said: “Having become aware of incidents that marred our win over Yeovil Town, the club has now begun launching a full investigation into the matter.

“The club would like to stress that whilst the vast majority of supporters in attendance for this match were once again a credit to our football club, Torquay United AFC has a zero-tolerance policy regarding any behaviour of the nature being reported.

“Any so-called fans identified as partaking in these acts will never be welcome at Plainmoor, and the club will be issuing any perpetrators with life bans from the stadium accordingly.

“Torquay United AFC prides itself on being a family-focused club at the heart of our local community, and we will not allow the mindless actions of a few to tarnish our proud reputation.

“Any supporters who witnessed these actions, or have any information regarding them, are asked to report them to the Club via yellowarmy@torquayunited.com, in order to further assist us with this investigation.”

Twitter users reacted as Torquay fans apologise for ‘vile chants’ about Yeovil’s Lee Collins…

@donttakethepeas: Well done #TUFC. This behaviour is sickening, I’m pleased to see Hayden has spoken up about this too via @DevonLiveNews. Hayden certainly speaks for me. I doubt these individuals will be travelling to @YTFC, but if they do, then I hope they’re refused entry there as well.

@tufcbryn: There was a group of 20ish young men near the away fans. They were the same ones who tried getting on the pitch after our goals but were stopped by stewards. Can’t be certain which ones joined in the chant, though. They left after half an hour and came back for the second half.

@LeeCloke: Often happens on Boxing Day. You get those that wouldn’t normally travel/come to games and see it as a chance to act like morons and come back again the year after. #tufc

@RowenaWilliams1: Short, concise and to the point. Apologies to Yeovil and their fans. Hopefully those responsible are caught and banned.

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