Businesses seek comprise after Chorley Council's U-turn on "football fans not welcome" statement

Have your say

Something still needs to be done about visiting football fans coming to Chorley.

That’s the message from a town business owner in the aftermath of a controversial letter sent out to football fans warning them they will “no longer be welcome” in
Chorley on match days.

The letter, sent to Sheffield United from Chorley Town Centre Team, was criticised throughout the country last week, leading to the author of the letter Coun Danny Gee – the chair of the Town Team – issuing an apology.

But town business owners feel the main reasoning behind the letter still stands despite its unfortunate wording.

Malcolm Allen, chairman of the Chorley Traders Alliance, Town Team member, and owner of Malcolm’s Musicland, said: “Chorley is a family town but when some football fans come you see people running away from them. It’s the fear of the situation.

“We are trying to reach a compromise. It’s business for the pubs but we need to all work together to have a successful town centre and if it’s managed correctly it should happen.

Wolverhampton Wanderers fans outside the Prince of Wales prior to their April fixture against Bolton Wanderers

Wolverhampton Wanderers fans outside the Prince of Wales prior to their April fixture against Bolton Wanderers

“Working together we should be able to get something worked out.”

READ MORE: Away fans are welcomed to Chorley as a new proactive approach is planned following ‘ban’ U-turn

And a spokesman from Lancashire Police said the force will be “monitoring the situation” ahead of this weekend’s match between Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United.

It comes after 200 Wolverhampton Wanderers fans stopped off in Chorley in April ahead of their match against Bolton at the Macron Stadium, a short drive away on the M61.

Mr Allen said that the Town Team are happy that fans come and spend their money in Chorley but that they had “had enough of it” following the Wolves fans visit and that similar visits had “gone on for too long”.

Last night the Town Team met to discuss the issue which has gripped the national headlines.

And Chorley Council has stated that it has already moved to look at the ways things can be improved, including:

• Introducing town centre ambassadors to welcome everyone to the town and assist in managing any busy areas;

• A coach booking system for football fans so demand can be managed;

• Putting in themed events to add to the atmosphere on Saturdays.

A council spokesman also added that there are plans to meet with football supporting groups over the next few weeks who have offered to help come up with solutions.

Coun Gee added: “I hope the discussion this has created will lead to a solution that will end any problems we’ve had and we can continue to look forward to the improvements in the town centre that will bring in more visitors going forward.”