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Grimsby Photographer Stewards were too Heavy Handed

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THE Grimsby Telegraph photographer who captured the moment a Grimsby Town fan was headlocked by a "heavy-handed" steward has spoken of the incident on BBC radio.

As reported in yesterday's Grimsby Telegraph, and online at www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk over the weekend, Duncan Young, pictured below, photographed stewards ejecting Mariners supporter Bryan Winship, 41, from Forest Green Rovers' ground before Saturday's game after he was spotted playing with a giant inflatable ball.

He said: "I just set up approximately at the half-way line when I heard some booing and hissing from the Grimsby Town fans. I just spun round to see some disturbance going on."

Describing what happened next, Duncan said: "The thing that struck me the most was seeing the chap's face. When you're looking through the long lens of a camera, you're quite close in on the action. One of the stewards had this chap in a headlock and he looked really, really distressed.

"There were at least three stewards holding him. I then spoke to some of the stewards at half-time asking why but they refused to comment and they just said several of the stewards had been brought in from the Bristol area to bolster support.

"I asked one of them the reason why and he just said it was just a standard thing they do sometimes."

Duncan added that father-of-four Bryan, who was at the game with his 15-year-old daughter Janelle, is a familiar face at Grimsby Town games both home and away and he has not seen him involved in trouble before.

He said: "He's a normal football fan. I've seen him quite a few times at different away games, he's not a hooligan.

"I think it was a bit heavy-handed to say the least."

When asked about local reaction to the photograph, Duncan described how he was aware how quickly it had spread on social media causing outrage among fans. He said: "I'm not fully aware of all the reaction but I know the photo has been retweeted hundreds of times and people are distressed by it. I'm not quite aware of the background to the reasons for it to happen but, regardless of whether what the chap did was wrong or right, he shouldn't be treated that way by a football steward in my opinion.

"It's not very nice to see and it wasn't very nice for the other fans to see. On one of the pictures, there's an elderly lady looking gobsmacked."

Despite being an experienced freelance photographer with years of covering sporting events under his belt, Duncan said he had never seen somebody treated in this way by a steward.

He said: "Obviously I've seen trouble and violence where a fan has been ejected but, even then, the stewards didn't act this way. It's the first time I've ever seen a steward grab hold of anybody. He just seemed to be too heavy-handed."

Reaction to the picture, which has been viewed more than 18,000 times since it was posted on www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk at the weekend, has continued to pour in.

In a statement, Forest Green Rovers said: "Forest Green Rovers are investigating an incident before the kick-off to Saturday's game against Grimsby Town at The New Lawn, where a fan was removed from the away end of the ground.

"FGR accepts the photos of the incident do not make good viewing for a club that prides itself on being family-friendly and welcoming to away fans.

"The club is awaiting the post-match report from the stewarding company before we comment further on the incident."

Read more: http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk

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