"Get over yourselves (A-League fans) and come to terms with the fact you’ve got 198 of you who are bad eggs" - this is what you said on Sports Night on Sky News on Tuesday night.
You are simply wrong.
Sure, there are some "bad eggs" on the list of banned A-League fans you exposed - but there are also fans who were banned on questionable grounds, without the right of appeal.
When asked about the right to appeal of all banned fans, you said: "You can talk about rights of appeal and all those sort of things, but there is a reason why police have put together this file, because these are the worst offenders."
I have some examples which prove you wrong.
Being an active Melbourne Victory supporter, I have personally witnessed:
- A supporter receiving a one-year ban for entering the field of play, when he didn’t. CCTV footage could have been a tool used in an appeal.
- A supporter copped a five-year ban for lighting a flare that he did not actually ignite. Again CCTV footage may have helped clear his name.
This is only a few of the 198 banned, but it's fair to assume there are other fans in the same situation.
Do these fans, who have no way of fighting their ban, deserve to have their names, faces and details of their “misdemeanours” broadcast to the nation? No. And it's completely careless and ignorant of you to not take that into consideration.
You are putting the livelihoods and reputations of these people on the line - some whom may not even be guilty.
You are right when you say there are some violent, unpleasant characters on the banned list - it's great that these people can't attend matches. On that I agree with you.
But you are showing that you know nothing about the sport by applying an incorrect stereotype to the majority of football fans.
When Sports Night guest Andrew Webster said: "I’ve been to a few A-League games and I have never felt anything but completely safe there."
You responded by saying: "You are in a different situation because they consider I am public enemy Number 1."
While I definitely don't condone or agree with the threats aimed at you, you can't expect to have the red carpet laid out at A-League matches after your history of taking cheap shots at the sport and people who follow it.
Also, are the rest of the A-League members and fans "in a different situation" to you regarding their feeling of safety at matches?
You say that crowds are down because "people don’t feel safe at a lot of A-League games". Well the two clubs with the most number of banned fans, Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory, have both experienced membership growth this season.
In your universe the "violent thugs" were turning people away…
A good journalist can only write a balanced feature piece if they understand what they are writing about.
You clearly don't understand football.
Kieran Francis - Melbourne Victory supporter