Watford supporters' trip to Manchester City for FA Cup fourth round tie 'turned into a nightmare'

Watford Observer: Hannah Hall, Roxanne Hall, Graham Hall (snr) and Graham Hall (jnr), Abbey Silverstein, Adi Silversterin, Neil Silverstein enjoying the ‘Matchball Sponsor’ package before Watford's FA Cup tie against Manchester CIty in 2013. Hannah Hall, Roxanne Hall, Graham Hall (snr) and Graham Hall (jnr), Abbey Silverstein, Adi Silversterin, Neil Silverstein enjoying the ‘Matchball Sponsor’ package before Watford's FA Cup tie against Manchester CIty in 2013.

A family's dream day out at Manchester City turned into a "nightmare" after a group of Watford fans, including three young children, were told to leave their seats at the Etihad Stadium after celebrating the Hornets’ opening goal.

Graham Hall and Neil Silverstein have been given a full refund by the Premier League club after they were removed from their places in City's Citizen's Suite shortly after Fernando Forestieri’s stike in the 20th minute.

Having missed the rest of the game, the party decided to give up and go home midway through the second half.

Hall had booked seven tickets for the FA Cup fourth round tie last Saturday and was joined by his two older daughters, Hannah and Roxanne, who are both in their twenties, as well as his seven-year-old son Graham. Silverstein took his son Adi, also seven, and Abbey, who is ten.

The group had enjoyed City's 'Matchball Sponsor' package when the two teams had met in the FA Cup in the 2012/13 season (pictured) and were looking forward to another day out at the Etihad, this time in one of the executive suites.

The tickets for the match cost £637.20 in total and, including travel and other costs, the day came to almost £1,000 overall.

"A good day turned into a nightmare," said Hall, who is a Watford season ticket holder and lives in Abbots Langley.

"We saw the first goal but that was it - after that we didn’t see any more of the match.

"It completely ruined the day - when you go to a football match you don’t expect to have your seven-year-old balling his eyes out.

"And the worst thing about it all was that on the way home Adi and Graham both told us they didn’t want to go to away matches any more - they were cold and they were crying.

"You want to give your kids good, positive experiences and that was taken away from us - it was a wasted day."

Initially, Hall and Silverstein were told they could be relocated to a lower tier with other Watford fans but miscommunication between the stadium's hospitality and stewards caused confusion.

Manchester City say the group were told to respect the fact the Citizen Suite is located in the home supporters' area of the Etihad Stadium but Hall insists he had made it clear they were Watford fans from the start.

"They knew we were Watford fans," he said. "When we booked we told them again and again and again - and they said it wasn’t a problem at all.

"It’s not every day Watford take the lead against Manchester City so of course the kids were jumping about and celebrating the goal.

"We told them to settle down once the game started again but there were City supporters around us who told us not to worry, that the kids should just enjoy themselves."

He added: "We weren’t a bunch of blokes getting drunk and being rowdy - we were a family who just wanted to go to the football for fun. But it wasn’t fun at all."

Hall wrote a letter of complaint to Manchester City on Tuesday asking for an apology and a full refund for his tickets.

A Manchester City spokesperson told the Watford Observer yesterday (Thursday): "After celebrating in the home end, a small group of Watford fans were given the option by the match steward to watch the game from either the suite, away from the home fans, or in the away end with fellow Watford fans.

"The party preferred neither and chose to leave the stadium of their own free will. The Club has since been in contact with the party and offered them a full refund."

Hall said the club are yet to contact him and he added: "If that's all they've come back with, I'm really disappointed.

"We were never given the option of watching the match in the suite and to not receive an apology, I think it's shocking really.

"It's not about the money, it's about the kids who had their weekend ruined and don't want to go to football matches anymore."

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Comments (13)

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8:12am Fri 31 Jan 14

goldanboy says...

Why would any Watford fan want to put his family away from all the other Watford fans? Oh, maybe so they didn't have to queue up for prawn cocktail crisps like the rest of us. The first half atmosphere was amazing in the away end...that's where they should have been.
Why would any Watford fan want to put his family away from all the other Watford fans? Oh, maybe so they didn't have to queue up for prawn cocktail crisps like the rest of us. The first half atmosphere was amazing in the away end...that's where they should have been. goldanboy

9:31am Fri 31 Jan 14

neilhorn says...

Idiotic from Man City - one of the kids was 7 for christ sake. Like the mum says - a bunch of drunk blokes in the home end supporting the away team is one thing, a 7 year old in an executive area is another. Yet some idiot at Man City is unable to make the distinction
Idiotic from Man City - one of the kids was 7 for christ sake. Like the mum says - a bunch of drunk blokes in the home end supporting the away team is one thing, a 7 year old in an executive area is another. Yet some idiot at Man City is unable to make the distinction neilhorn

9:49am Fri 31 Jan 14

Alban Hornet says...

This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches...
This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches... Alban Hornet

10:19am Fri 31 Jan 14

the sniper says...

Looking at the picture above its seems we re-signed John Eustace for a day and played it last seasons kit.W/O is so up to date...NOT. Yet again treating its readers as idiots. Disgraceful behavior from Man City as well.
Looking at the picture above its seems we re-signed John Eustace for a day and played it last seasons kit.W/O is so up to date...NOT. Yet again treating its readers as idiots. Disgraceful behavior from Man City as well. the sniper

10:24am Fri 31 Jan 14

LoveKeithDublin says...

goldanboy wrote:
Why would any Watford fan want to put his family away from all the other Watford fans? Oh, maybe so they didn't have to queue up for prawn cocktail crisps like the rest of us. The first half atmosphere was amazing in the away end...that's where they should have been.
The family were going to sit with the Watford fans but Matthew Mesiano warned them that it might get a bit rowdy in there with all those hoodlums!
[quote][p][bold]goldanboy[/bold] wrote: Why would any Watford fan want to put his family away from all the other Watford fans? Oh, maybe so they didn't have to queue up for prawn cocktail crisps like the rest of us. The first half atmosphere was amazing in the away end...that's where they should have been.[/p][/quote]The family were going to sit with the Watford fans but Matthew Mesiano warned them that it might get a bit rowdy in there with all those hoodlums! LoveKeithDublin

11:24am Fri 31 Jan 14

1watford says...

Alban Hornet wrote:
This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches...
They must of been Match Day Sponsors last year and decided to go back this year but in a lounge - I would have thought
[quote][p][bold]Alban Hornet[/bold] wrote: This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches...[/p][/quote]They must of been Match Day Sponsors last year and decided to go back this year but in a lounge - I would have thought 1watford

11:24am Fri 31 Jan 14

1watford says...

Alban Hornet wrote:
This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches...
They must of been Match Day Sponsors last year and decided to go back this year but in a lounge - I would have thought
[quote][p][bold]Alban Hornet[/bold] wrote: This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches...[/p][/quote]They must of been Match Day Sponsors last year and decided to go back this year but in a lounge - I would have thought 1watford

11:42am Fri 31 Jan 14

The BestTrip2011 says...

LoveKeithDublin wrote:
goldanboy wrote:
Why would any Watford fan want to put his family away from all the other Watford fans? Oh, maybe so they didn't have to queue up for prawn cocktail crisps like the rest of us. The first half atmosphere was amazing in the away end...that's where they should have been.
The family were going to sit with the Watford fans but Matthew Mesiano warned them that it might get a bit rowdy in there with all those hoodlums!
You just beat me to that one LoveKeithDublin!
[quote][p][bold]LoveKeithDublin[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]goldanboy[/bold] wrote: Why would any Watford fan want to put his family away from all the other Watford fans? Oh, maybe so they didn't have to queue up for prawn cocktail crisps like the rest of us. The first half atmosphere was amazing in the away end...that's where they should have been.[/p][/quote]The family were going to sit with the Watford fans but Matthew Mesiano warned them that it might get a bit rowdy in there with all those hoodlums![/p][/quote]You just beat me to that one LoveKeithDublin! The BestTrip2011

11:50am Fri 31 Jan 14

lockerbiehornet says...

Alban Hornet wrote:
This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches...
It says quite clearly that they were at the game last year also as matchball sponsors in a suite and made it clear again they were WFC fans
[quote][p][bold]Alban Hornet[/bold] wrote: This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches...[/p][/quote]It says quite clearly that they were at the game last year also as matchball sponsors in a suite and made it clear again they were WFC fans lockerbiehornet

12:49pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Murder in the Vicarage says...

lockerbiehornet wrote:
Alban Hornet wrote:
This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches...
It says quite clearly that they were at the game last year also as matchball sponsors in a suite and made it clear again they were WFC fans
Should have never been allowed to happen, but they were in the City end!

It was party time in the Watford end when the goals went in - and the "only sing when you winning" chant that went out on 85 minutes was marvellous!

Did amuse me that the stewards stood up and started some kind of "procedure" after both Watford goals, with all of them wearing safety specs. This on top of the full frisking on the way in, with a spaniel sniffer dog - we weren't there for some mass demo, just to watch the football!
[quote][p][bold]lockerbiehornet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alban Hornet[/bold] wrote: This article is confusing. The image shows last years game and the caption states that it is the family in question, yet the article is about this years game... unless they bought the package for both matches...[/p][/quote]It says quite clearly that they were at the game last year also as matchball sponsors in a suite and made it clear again they were WFC fans[/p][/quote]Should have never been allowed to happen, but they were in the City end! It was party time in the Watford end when the goals went in - and the "only sing when you winning" chant that went out on 85 minutes was marvellous! Did amuse me that the stewards stood up and started some kind of "procedure" after both Watford goals, with all of them wearing safety specs. This on top of the full frisking on the way in, with a spaniel sniffer dog - we weren't there for some mass demo, just to watch the football! Murder in the Vicarage

12:54pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Taxidermist says...

neilhorn wrote:
Idiotic from Man City - one of the kids was 7 for christ sake. Like the mum says - a bunch of drunk blokes in the home end supporting the away team is one thing, a 7 year old in an executive area is another. Yet some idiot at Man City is unable to make the distinction
We get away supporters regularly in the box's behind where I sit in the Upper Rous but no one complains about them. Shame on City for not having a more flexible policy on this issue. It would have been different if the family had seats in the middle of a home supporters stand but they didn't. That's why executive box's are there for goodness sake.
[quote][p][bold]neilhorn[/bold] wrote: Idiotic from Man City - one of the kids was 7 for christ sake. Like the mum says - a bunch of drunk blokes in the home end supporting the away team is one thing, a 7 year old in an executive area is another. Yet some idiot at Man City is unable to make the distinction[/p][/quote]We get away supporters regularly in the box's behind where I sit in the Upper Rous but no one complains about them. Shame on City for not having a more flexible policy on this issue. It would have been different if the family had seats in the middle of a home supporters stand but they didn't. That's why executive box's are there for goodness sake. Taxidermist

1:44pm Fri 31 Jan 14

truefan1 says...

That bloke Neil looks like a hooligan to me,He's the sort of bloke that sits in the exec area at Watford bullying upper rous season ticket holders (-:

On a serious note Man city should be ashamed ,no child should be afraid or intimidated at a football match no matter what team they support
Yet again Two bob Heavy handed stewards who think there important,
Hope Neil & his friends get a full refund & apology
That bloke Neil looks like a hooligan to me,He's the sort of bloke that sits in the exec area at Watford bullying upper rous season ticket holders (-: On a serious note Man city should be ashamed ,no child should be afraid or intimidated at a football match no matter what team they support Yet again Two bob Heavy handed stewards who think there important, Hope Neil & his friends get a full refund & apology truefan1

3:22pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Alban Hornet says...

They must sit in the upper Rous then
They must sit in the upper Rous then Alban Hornet

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