Hamilton chairman Allan Maitland has warned a section of supporters that “vile abusive comments” towards management and board members will not be tolerated by the club.
Accies boss John Rankin claimed on Saturday that a fan had been “derogatory towards my wife and my children” at a time when the team trailed Alloa 3-0 on aggregate in their Championship play-off semi-final second leg, before Hamilton fought back to win 5-3 over the two legs.
Maitland issued a statement ahead of Wednesday’s play-off final first leg away to Lanarkshire rivals Airdrie in which he stressed that anyone who “crosses the line of acceptability” with their language is not welcome to attend matches.
“In my role as the chairman of the club, I feel the highs and lows of all Accies supporters and fully understand the frustrations of the last few seasons when we haven’t reached the standards expected from our club,” said Maitland.
“I also understand the need on occasions to vent that frustration – however there is a line where the expression of that frustration becomes intolerable and totally unacceptable, and we reached that on Saturday afternoon.
“Several supporters shouted vile abusive comments to our management team and directors that were disgusting and unacceptable in any environment at any time, never mind a football match where families and young kids are present.
“We are working to identify those responsible for this hate crime and these so-called supporters will receive the banning order they deserve from all football matches.
“I have consistently tried to engage with unhappy supporters, even in difficult times, to listen to their concerns and provide a balanced and fair view whenever possible but there is now a section of fans who are no longer worthy of any exchange of views.
“We all feel the passion of being a supporter and have experienced days when you understandably express your frustrations or disappointment towards players, management, and directors when things are going horribly wrong but there must be a control mechanism in place to stop that from crossing the line of acceptability.
“If you personally are unable to control that emotion or feel the need to be overtly abusive, then please don’t come to the games – you’re not welcome.”
Accies finished second bottom of the cinch Championship and must defeat League One promotion hopefuls Airdrie over two legs to retain their second-tier status.