Ebbsfleet United manager Kevin Watson sheds light on alleged racist abuse at Hartlepool United

Ebbsfleet United manager Kevin Watson described the atmosphere at Victoria Park as ‘the most hostile’ he’s ever witnessed following allegations of racist abuse directed towards his players during their 1-0 win at Hartlepool United

Saturday, 7th March 2020, 6:14 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th March 2020, 1:13 pm
Gavan Holohan of Hartlepool United in action during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Ebbsfleet United at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 7th March 2020. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Gozie Ugwu’s penalty was enough to separate the sides at Victoria Park as Pools suffered their first home defeat since New Year's Day.

The match was marred by several stoppages in play, a fan invading the pitch and a mass brawl at the end which saw Ayo Obileye and Hartlepool manager Dave Challinor shown red cards following the full-time whistle.

Protocol was followed during the game with a stoppage in play and a tannoy announcement condemning racist abuse.

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It’s the second time this season such allegations have been directed toward the Pools fans following the incident during the 2-0 defeat against Dover Athletic in September.

Following the match, Watson commented: “From my point of view, didn’t hear anything at all.

“I was miles away from where the allegations have been made from. Our goalkeeper [Jordan Holmes] behind the goal and another from the far side from Jermaine McGlashan.

“I can’t comment because I haven’t heard anything. But I can say that we wouldn’t have wanted any delay to add more time to the game, the last thing we wanted was nine minutes added.

“The boys have heard what they’ve heard, we’ve followed the protocol. Then we go in after the game and discuss it with Dave and the officials.

“For me, you don’t report something like that unless it’s happened. Jordan immediately ran over and said it came from behind the goal [Town End].

“There’s no need for any player on the pitch to make an allegation like that. It’s happened and I must stress, allegedly, twice – I can’t comment any further on that.

“It’s mixed emotions, I’m obviously very pleased with the result.

“I’ve played at every level over 25-years and those allegations aside, it’s the most hostile atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. They are a very demanding support here.”