Stevenage FC accused of treating Grimsby Town fans ‘with contempt’ as row over inappropriate searches rumbles on

Grimsby Town supporters being searched on the way into the Stevenage away end. Picture: Carlton Myri

Grimsby Town supporters being searched on the way into the Stevenage away end. Picture: Carlton Myrie - Credit: Archant

Stevenage FC have been accused of “continuing to treat Grimsby Town supporters with contempt” by refusing to directly respond to their complaints that female fans had to show their bras before entering Boro’s ground.

Grimsby fans say female stewards at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium told women entering the away end to reveal their bras so they could check the underwire, in full view of male staff and supporters, before the match on August 19. They also describe full-body searches of children as young as five, and being “treated as animals”.

The story has made national headlines since the game, with Stevenage publicly standing by their security measures – denying anything “inappropriate”, and citing alleged crowd trouble at Grimsby’s previous away game at Chesterfield.

On the other hand, Grimsby Town have backed the complaints of supporters group the Mariners Trust.

The Mariners Trust say Stevenage FC have now informed them that they will not respond to their complaints directly – in the supporters’ view, “contiuing to treat Grimsby Town supporters with contempt”.

A spokesman for the group said: “In responding to our complaint, Stevenage have said they have a policy of only corresponding with other football clubs and so won’t be contacting the Mariners Trust any further.

“They have instead contacted officials at Grimsby Town and asked them to keep the response confidential – and away from the supporters who complained.

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“In their initial public response, Stevenage FC stated they would ‘speak to relevant parties’ – yet they haven’t spoken to a single supporter who has complained.

“The Mariners Trust is bitterly disappointed with the attitude of Stevenage FC, who have not taken the issues we raised seriously – continuing to treat Grimsby Town supporters with contempt.

“Aside from the English Football League and Grimsby MP Melanie Onn, none of the other agencies we have contacted regarding these very serious allegations have even acknowledged receipt.

“We have more than 20 supporters, who aren’t necessarily known to each other, that have reported experiences which corroborate – indicating they they are a true picture of events. This makes it even more disappointing that we have not been allowed to see the response Stevenage FC have sent.

“We thank the Football Supporters’ Federation for their continued support. The Mariners Trust does not believe this matter is closed and awaits with interest the findings of the EFL’s investigation.”

A previous letter from the Mariners Trust alleged other security failings including the posting of a female security guard inside the male toilets, the confiscation of items that were not banned, and stewards standing in front of Grimsby supporters and blocking their view of the game.

Stevenage FC, the police and the English Football League have said they are looking into the matter.

A spokesman for Stevenage FC said: “Stevenage Football Club have engaged fully with Grimsby Town Football Club and the English Football League and has answered all of the points brought to our attention.

“The club has also offered officials of Grimsby Town Football Club the opportunity to review the CCTV footage to substantiate the facts of the matter.

“It is this club’s policy to direct communications between member clubs of the EFL and not to respond to supporter groups directly. The club will always answer any questions fully and frankly directly to the fellow member club concerned and not through the public domain.”