KILBIRNIE Ladeside will be without supporters at the beginning of next season after the club was sanctioned for previous fan behaviour.
The Garnock Valley club will also be out of pocket, as they have been handed a hefty fine, and will have to fund policing for a further part of their match schedule.
The sanctions relate to two separate incidents from last season’s West of Scotland Football League Premiership.
The first of these saw the club handed a fine, reported to be in the region of £250, for setting off flares in a fixture against Rossvale, which caused the match to be delayed.
The second, and most serious incident, involved fan behaviour in the club’s remarkable 2-1 win versus eventual league champions Darvel.
It was reported that on five occasions, the assistant referee in front of the Ladeside support was shot with pellets from a BB gun.
This has led to a sanction, which the Herald understands to be that the club’s first three matches of the new season will be played behind closed doors.
Further to this, for their first six matches, police/security will be required – something which the club must fund.
Fines and revenue lost is estimated to be in the region of £7,000.
Fans of the club have hit back at the sanctions imposed, and have set up a GoFundMe page to help offset the projected losses.
A spokesperson for the fans explained their views on the situation on the fund-raising page.
They said: “People of Kilbirnie. This is nothing less than a rallying call, to once again show that when it comes to the crunch we are together as a community, a family and a defiant figure in the face of those who try to put us down.
“In the last 12-18 months, the supporters of Kilbirnie Ladeside have become an unrivalled force in junior football. From the stands, bankings and sometimes the streets, we have backed our club in a way that no other community has in junior football history. However, this atmosphere created and the attention it brings to the club is not always positive.
“The attention of envious and motive-driven others, has seen the club handed an example-making sanction that could cost the club thousands of pounds, with no exaggeration.
“With games now to be played behind closed doors, and policing to be funded for a further part of the match schedule, they have tried to hit our working class, community-backed club in the pocket.”
They went on to explain how they would like fans to help them in response to the sanctions.
They continued: “We, the fans of Kilbirnie Ladeside Football Club aim to do everything we can to make up this unfair imbalance by putting your money where our mouth is. But we need your help.
“Please donate what you can and don’t let this sanction spell trouble for our beloved club. As always it’s down to the people of Kilbirnie, let’s stand up and be counted.
“We are organising a fans football tournament in aid of the club.”
Further details of the tournament have not been confirmed at this time.
The GoFundMe page is open online just now, and is available here.