Cambridge United chief executive Ian Mather has vowed to take action against supporters that booed players who chose to take a knee ahead of their home game against Colchester on Tuesday night.
A small number of fans in the Abbey Stadium ahead of the League Two fixture could be heard booing as the players knelt in support of the fight against racial injustice and discrimination, although they were quickly drowned out by applause.
Mather believes the majority of supporters choosing to clap the players “shows what our fans are really about”, but says the club will not allow the booing fans to go unpunished.
“[I’m] incredibly frustrated, angry,” Mather told Sky Sports News. “There were only a few people booing, but one was too many.
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“We worked really hard to get the fans in and it’s behaviour we don’t want here.
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“The message to our fans is: that behaviour is totally unacceptable. We don’t want it here. We will decide on the appropriate sanctions, we will identify the right people and we will take action.
“There are terms of entry into the Abbey Stadium, as with any other stadium. We can determine what behaviour’s acceptable and not.
“Identifying them is actually quite easy. Somebody actually sent me a direct message on Twitter last night explaining his views, and others have been identified in other seats. So finding them is actually not very hard.”
Supporters booing players who chose to take a knee ahead of kick-off followed similar events at Millwall and Colchester earlier this month, with both clubs condemning the fans who did so.
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Speaking after his side’s game – which they won 2-1 – Cambridge head coach Mark Bonner said: “I’m disgusted, to be honest. It shines a light on our club for all the wrong reasons.
“What was a really good game for us on the pitch was overshadowed by a really small minority that decided to boo in a moment when we’re reflecting the values that everyone at our club believes in.
“It is just behaviour which is unacceptable and at our club, we don’t want that at all.
“What was most encouraging is the vast majority drowned them out quite quickly with applause and reflected the values of our club much better.
“We work incredibly hard in the community and there’s massive work that goes on to highlight all these issues.
“We’ve clearly got some work to do because some people have embarrassed our club and embarrassed themselves, to be honest.”
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