The Ryman Football League
Published 17th May 2012
.....controversial owner and fans.
Sutton police have issued a prevention of harassment letter to a 68-year-old fan, Chris Allen, after claims he threatened violence towards the club's owner and manager Paul Dipre at a crisis meeting to end the row between him and a section of the club's support.
Allen, a former director of the club who left under Dipre's stewardship of the non-League outfit, could face arrest and prosecution for harassment if any further incident should occur.
Police involvement is another worrying incident in an increasingly bitter stand-off between a group of supporters at the club and Dipre over his running of the club.
Nine supporters were banned from the club's War Memorial Sports Ground last year for allegedly abusing Dipre, while a group of supporters boycotted the Robins' final home fixture of this season in protest against him.
The owner has been a figure of controversy at the non-League side, after parting company with a string of managers before appointing himself as head coach in March last year. After buying the club in 2008 he was accused of wielding too much power, changing the club’s badge and the colour of its kit - to the anger of fans adhering to the traditions of the club.
The already deep fissure between him and the fans has grown even bigger, after an indifferent run of form since he became manager.
Dipre said the incident was part of a dispute with "a handful of fans" and should not overshadow the "massively successful community club."
Lifelong fan Robert Steel said fans had been left frustrated at the meeting last month because it was not an open forum to discuss the future of the club, as had been promised to them.
He said: "This is to my knowledge the first time police have become involved in this dispute, and is quite a nasty development."