Banbury United is not an easy club to dislike. Actually, there are plenty of positives about the Puritans. But there was nothing puritanical about the referee getting a bottle thrown at him as he walked off at half-time in Banbury’s clash with Slough Town.
Now Banbury have not had a good time in recent seasons. Indeed, they are red-hot favourites for relegation from the Southern League Premier division this season. You can appreciate that some people may be upset at the moment. Strangely, it was supposedly an empty plastic water bottle that was hurled at the official, by a teenager. That doesn’t sound like a dramatic event, but nevertheless, a missile is a missile and the referee fell to the ground.
But was that enough for the referee to claim he was feeling unwell and unable to continue? And did it warrant police intervention? Surely it was more lethal than an empty Evian container? Thrown from distance, this would not cause much in the way of impact. There must be more to this than meets the eye.
Banbury had taken an early lead and had fallen 2-1 behind in the final minute of the first half. Emotions may have been running high. But the Banbury manager, Paul Davis, is a little naive to claim that the club should not be punished because of the actions of a fan. Talk of a fine or points deduction is one thing, but Banbury should be forced to play their next home game behind closed doors. And Slough should be awarded the points from the abandoned game.
Also, Banbury should issue a lifetime ban for the teenager in question for life. Draconian? Maybe, but it is supporters like that who drag a club down. There should be zero tolerance for such behaviour and failure to punish will not deter others from doing likewise.
One would hope that the Southern League show some cojones and discipline Banbury for this event at their ground. But if it is anything like their fixture compilation (and that’s another story), think again!
As for Banbury. You’re a good bunch at the Spencer Stadium. Ban the culprit.