Jeff Stelling has hit out at the Hartlepool fans who allegedly racially abused their own players on Saturday – labelling them “scum who have disgraced us”.
Hartlepool’s clash with Dover was reportedly marred by despicable chants from the home support during the National League fixture.
Inih Effiong’s 37th minute goal from the penalty spot opened the scoring for Dover, but the following celebrations sparked ugly scenes from the Hartlepool support.
Sections of the home crowd were said to have made monkey chants after Effiong taunted the home crowd, which then caused an 11-minute delay.
Effiong protested to the officials, as Hartlepool’s Gus Mafuta was also understood to have been among those targeted.
Lifelong ‘Pool fan Jeff Stelling wrote on Twitter after the match: “Ashamed of the fans who disgraced themselves and Hartlepool.
“Credit to Gus Mafuta and Nicke Kabamba for their action. It does not matter who they play for, racist abuse of any sort is disgusting. Makes me feel sick.
“I would not blame any of our black players if they did not want to play for the club again.
“I genuinely hope they realise they are loved by our fans. The scum who have disgraced us will never ever be allowed back.”
Hartlepool lost the match 2-0 after also losing two players and their manager to red cards.
Ryan Donaldson and Nicky Featherstone were both given their matching orders along with boss Craig Hignett in the hot-tempered affair at Victoria Park.
Dover players also took to social media following the contest to condemn the actions of the offending fans.
“What a sad day for football,” said Dover’s Ricky Modeste. “I’m all for fans giving opposition players stick but the disgraceful racist comments and gestures that us players received today was way over the line. We are only human and are there to do a job.”
Modeste’s teammate Aaron Simpson said: “In all my life I have never experienced anything like that on or off the pitch.
“Fans having banter with players and giving them stick is one thing but when there is racial abuse and monkey chants involved it needs to be talked about.
“Massive respect to all the players on both teams for sticking together and dealing with the situation like professionals. Hope that the FA take serious action and the fans get lifetime bans because there’s absolutely no place for it in the game.”
Dover kitman Richard Harvey claimed he was “spat at for doing the job he loves”, while midfielder Jai Reason wrote: “These people should not be allowed anywhere near a football ground.”
Hartlepool chief executive Mark Maguire insisted those responsible would be “dealt with in the strongest possible manner” after condemning the alleged behaviour.