Parents who travelled for four hours to watch Great Cornard schoolboys in a football final have complained after being told to keep the noise down.
Six coaches travelled from Great Cornard Middle School to Walsall Football Club’s Banks’ Stadium on Wednesday to cheer on the school’s under-13s team in the English Schools Football Association Small Schools final.
Parents were issued with a list of “Dos and Don’ts” in the lead-up to the game, forbidding “over-exuberant celebrations on the pitch” and any photography.
Sabrina Pengelley, from Great Cornard, whose son Aaron played in the final, said: “It did take the edge off it a little bit. When you read the list, you had to laugh.
“It was a boys football match and, of course, whoever scored a goal was always going to go mad – I did not know what they meant by ‘over-exuberance’.”
Supporters’ frustrations were made worse by a tannoy announcement asking them to stop blowing a horn as it was disturbing corporate clients who had hired a function room in the stand.
Cheryl Cowlin, who made the trip from White Colne to cheer on son William, said: “If they really wanted it to stop, they could see it was Catherine Fraser, the deputy headteacher, blowing the horn and have a quiet word.
“It was a bit of a dampener on the game and they could have handled it differently.”
Ralph Pruden, head of PE at the school who coached the team, said: “There was no form of misbehaviour, they were creating an atmosphere.”
He added that he did agree with restrictions on some celebrations as it reinforced the FA’s Respect campaign. “Anyone who scores is going to be delighted but they are encouraging people to be gracious and respectful and that is what I teach our kids,” he said.
Mrs Cowlin said she complained to an ESFA representative on the day who said he agreed and thought they should “make as much noise as they wanted to.” She also emailed Walsall FC to complain and said parents had no idea that a corporate event was happening while the match was being played.
John Read, chief executive of the ESFA, could not be reached for a comment.
Daniel Mole, Walsall FC secretary, said he had responded to Mrs Cowlin’s email and explained that he understood the excitement and enthusiasm of the crowd on the day as the club allowed school teams to use the ground for three weeks every season.
“However, instruments such as these horns are not permitted at any game, regardless of whether this is a first team fixture, Cup or schools match,” he said.
“We always advise any conference customers that these matches are taking place so that they are aware and do our very best to ensure that everyone has a successful event, whether this is a football-related event, a private party or a conference.”