A Preston North End fan has lashed out at the club his family have supported for generations after they handed him a lifetime ban over tweets he sent regarding the Queen and Royal Family on his personal account.
The now-former season ticket holder fan was been told in no uncertain terms that the views 'crossed the boundary of acceptability' despite them insisting that they recognise an 'individual’s right to free speech and personal opinions'.
The country has been placed in a state of mourning following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 – but the supporter doesn't see why his tweets are of any connection to the football club.
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The fan was left baffled by the decision having been attending fixtures since the age of three – and says he wasn't even told which of his posts had led to the ban.
Speaking to Daily Star Sport, he said: "They wouldn't tell me what tweet it was. They wouldn't quote any of the tweets. I went straight up to Deepdale when I got the letter and the member of staff was acting smug. It felt like a personal vendetta.
"I said I didn't know why they were being smug for and asked why I was banned. They said 'tweets' so I asked them which ones.
"The only one they quoted was me asking what would happen if I booed during the minute's silence. It was a question, I didn't say I was going to do it.
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"I said they couldn't ban me for just asking a question, I told them that if they look at the tweet I didn't say I was going to boo it at all. I want to make this clear, I've got a very strong dislike of the Royal Family – but that's up to me."
The letter sent to the fan states that the ban includes all matches at Deepdale as well as all reserve, friendly and youth team fixtures. And that the police have been advised.
Further details say that the fan in question is also banned from entering all Preston North End property, which includes the club shop and ticket office.
A subsequent statement said: "As a football club we acknowledge every individual’s right to free speech and personal opinions. In this specific case a series of tweets were put into the public domain and by association linked to this football club.
"One specific tweet, which has since been deleted, crossed the boundary of acceptability and by associating us as a club a stadium ban was issued.
"As with all decisions, if the individual were to make representations as to why our decision was inappropriate to their actions we will always listen."
The fan went on to explain why he didn't understand the reference to the specific tweet, having deleted what he believed to be the worst of the posts before being contacted by the club.
He adds: "I don't believe for a second that that was the tweet in question because that tweet got deleted before they had even contacted me as I thought it was a bit…
"Even if that hadn't been deleted, that wasn't ban-worthy either. I said 'wouldn't it be a turn-up for the books if the rest of the Royal Family died on the way to see the Queen'.
"And I thought that was in bad taste even for my liking, whether I like the Royal Family or not. So I deleted that about an hour after posting it.
"So I don't know why they have come up with that, they asked if I had deleted them and I said no they are all still there except one that was in bad taste. They asked me what it said and I told them I wasn't telling them because they might use it against me.
"All the rest of the tweets are still there to see now. Even that one I thought… it didn't mention Preston North End and it was my own personal account. I only just have 100 followers. I'm nobody connected to anybody or anything."
Having faced some discontent on Twitter including name-calling, the fan insisted that his tweets were in no way threatening and even amused some of his Royalist friends.
Adding: "I've had a few people calling me names but most of it… they know it's not designed to be threatening.
"I've got friends who are royalists and they all say 'you're a d*** on Twitter' but they laugh about it because they know I'm not threatening them or hoping that the Royal Family die or all this.
"I've not deleted any except that one, as even I thought that it was a bit ill-timed."
Having asked the member of staff how to approach an appeal, the fan says he got a cryptic answer before revealing that his young nephews will no longer be able to attend half of Preston North End fixtures.
He said: "I'm not a troublemaker. I often go with my nephews who are 12 and nine. They won't be able to go to some of the games because I drive them to away games and the club have told me I can't go to those either."
He concluded: "My views on the Royal Family are simply my views, it's nothing to do with the football club.
"I'm a supporter, have been all my life, my dad was a supporter, my grandad and his dad were all supporters. We come from the city. We have all lived in the city all our lives.
"We have traced our ancestry for about 300 years into this city and we have all supported the club."
Preston North End revealed on Monday that Russell Watson will perform the national anthem before Tuesday's visit of Burnley, with players set to wear black armbands and flags flown at half-mast.
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