'Irrelevant' Ulster flags discouraged at Tynecastle
Hearts are to take a strong stand against the flying of flags such as the Red Hand of Ulster by spectators at Tynecastle.
The club has already held talks with stewards and police about fans using flags "in an inciteful manner," and is determined that people doing so will be arrested.
While admitting that the club would not have the power to ban flags, managing director David Southern told the club's agm yesterday that "the colours of this club are maroon and white," and he wanted to encourage the flying of Hearts flags.
He said the club did not object to the Union Flag - referring to the Hearts players' and staff's proud record of war service, he said "no club more deserves the right to fly the Union Flag".
Southern added: "Quite frankly, the Red Hand of Ulster flag has no relevance at this ground, except perhaps for the Ulster Hearts supporters club. We do not have a player of that nationality. It is something we will be questioning."
Shareholders at the agm welcomed the pledge to tackle what one called "the lunatic fringe".
The flag "ban" is part of the fallout from the incident in which Celtic manager Neil Lennon was attacked in front of the main stand during the club's match with Celtic last month.
A Hearts fan has been charged with assaulting Lennon, and Southern confirmed the man has been banned from Tynecastle for life, while, in a fresh development, the supporter who sold the ticket to the alleged attacker has been banned for 12 home games.
Southern said that as a result of the incident, and following talks with the SPL, stewarding company and police, the lower main stand would become an all-season-ticket area, and that there would be expanded "sterile zones" at the Roseburn end where away fans congregate.
In addition, there would be small sterile zones around both dugouts with extra stewarding.
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