'Some people were in a bad way': Northampton Town supporters say 'disabled' fans had to walk half-a-mile at away game

Despite the fact attendance was low at the Wigan Athletic away game, Northampton Town fans were told they could not pick up near the stadium as the forecourt was full.
Despite the fact attendance was low at the Wigan Athletic away game, Northampton Town fans were told they could not pick up near the stadium as the forecourt was full.

Disabled Cobblers fans were made to walk more than half-a-mile at an away game because stadium managers would not let a coach pull up near the ground, the supporters' trust says.

A formal complaint has now been raised against Wigan Athletic after the League One clash with Northampton Town on September 19.

The decision meant disabled and elderly Cobblers fans had to walk half-a-mile to the nearest car park.

The decision meant disabled and elderly Cobblers fans had to walk half-a-mile to the nearest car park.

Chairman of the supporters' trust Roger Averill believes away fans were misinformed about being able to park the coach at the "stadium" for a £20 fee as when they got there the car park was half-a-mile away.

A steward allowed them to drop fans off at the ground before the match.

But when the final whistle went at the DW Stadium - the coach driver was stopped from picking up the travelling supporters because the forecourt was supposedly full.

Mr Averill said: "We had three disabled lads with us and an 83-year-old man.

"One Northampton Town coach was parked near to the stadium at the end of the match, and I could see no reason why the other couldn't have been lined up with it.

"A couple of our group were not in a very good way after walking the half-mile and there was a lot of anger towards Wigan Athletic for this totally avoidable situation."

The supporters trust has requested a refund from the former top-flight club.

A spokesman for Wigan Athletic, said: "We received no request from Northampton. There were three away coaches, all of which were allowed to drop off, then the first coach was allowed to park on the access road.

"When the second and third coaches dropped off they could see that the first one had been allowed to park up and virtually demanded that they be allowed to do the same.

"They were informed that there was no room so they then demanded that they be allowed to park up on the main Stadium Way access route, which is not allowed as this is the 'Blue Route' and must be kept clear for Emergency Vehicles.

"The drivers were told to use the normal car park."

The Wigan spokesman said the Cobblers away bus coach drivers were allowed to watch the game for free as a goodwill gesture.

But Mr Averill believes this was not the case.

"We would have been out and in those coaches in five minutes," he added.

"This didn't need to happen."