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Former Preston North End goalkeeper subjected to ‘disgusting, prolonged’ abuse

Posted on - 4th January, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Preston News, Preston North End, Sport
Connor Ripley during his time at PNE
Connor Ripley during his time at PNE

A former Preston North End footballer has spoken out about abuse he faced in a fixture on New Year’s Day.

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Goalkeeper Connor Ripley, who played for PNE between 2019 and 2022, alleges he faced ‘disgusting’ abuse while playing in goal for Port Vale in their fixture at Carlisle United in League One. The match ended in a 2-1 victory for Carlisle United.

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Speaking after the game, Ripley said: “Really disappointed about the result yesterday against Carlisle but one thing that has stood out to me more than anything yesterday is what was being said to me behind the goal by a couple Carlisle fans!

Read more: Two teenagers charged after incident at Walton-le-Dale Spar

“I don’t mind people saying stuff to me normally and I will always give a bit back cause that’s who I am but in all my years playing football I’ve never had anyone tell me “go and hang yourself”.

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“I think it’s disgusting and because I play for a different team to them they think they can say stuff like that whilst I am working.

“You don’t know what I’m going through and you don’t know if that could have had a serious effect on me. Maybe people just need to think that we’re just normal people with family and friends.”

Ripley also thanked Carlisle United fans who have reached out to offer their support after the game. Carlisle United have spoken to Connor Ripley and offered an apology.

A spokesperson for Carlisle United said: “We have become aware of disgraceful comments aimed at Port Vale ‘keeper Connor Ripley from a ‘fan’ in the Warwick Road End during the second half yesterday.

“We sincerely apologise to Connor and Port Vale. The abuse he received was totally unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest terms.

“The young person making the comments does not represent our fans or what we were stand for as a club. These comments embarrass and shame us all. Sorry Connor, and sorry to Port Vale.”

Nigel Clibbens, CEO of Carlisle United, said: “I was made aware of this tonight. I asked Paul Simpson to get me Connor’s number so I could speak to him straight away.

“I spoke to him earlier tonight and apologised personally on behalf of the club.  He was very understandably still angry and upset. No player deserves that abuse and we are truly sorry he suffered it. 

“He was able to give information about the incident and it was clearly prolonged abuse. I said that we do not tolerate this and will do our best to deal with it. We will do all we can to identify the culprit and take the strongest action we can. Fans close by will know who it was and I hope they will help as they have done in the past, by giving information.

“Everyone knows the Warwick Road End has seen really positive developments in terms of atmosphere but it continues to see regular incidents of disorder and now abuse. It’s extraordinarily disappointing. 

“We appeal to fans to stop and behave. This cannot go on.”

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