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Newport boss condemns apparent racist gesture from Gillingham fan

28 Oct 2023 4 minute read
Newport manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Simon Galloway PA Images

Graham Coughlan paid tribute to Omar Bogle as his two penalties helped Newport to a 2-0 win over Gillingham at Priestfield, while the Welsh club said they were “extremely disappointed” after a Gills supporter appeared to make a racist gesture towards the striker as he celebrated.

The County forward found the net twice in the space of seven first-half minutes, and appeared to be racially abused by a Gillingham supporter after the first goal – with the fan promptly issued a lifetime ban, according to Gills’ director of operations Joe Comper.

And Newport boss Coughlan, a central defender in his day, gave Bogle the ultimate compliment after the win.

He said: “He was a real handful all afternoon, which we know he’s got in his locker. He worked his socks off. As a centre-half, I wouldn’t have enjoyed playing against him when he’s in that form. I just had a little nibble at him inside as I thought he should have got a hat-trick.

“He had a couple of chances to do so and that’s the ruthlessness that I’m after. I could have rested a bit easier on the sidelines if we’d have got another one!

“I thought we were magnificent. I’m really proud of the way they managed the game. Let’s be honest – it is a big, big win for us. We really needed that.”

On the supporter incident, he added: “It has no place in the game. But, I’ve got to say that, having competed against Gillingham for years, I don’t think that’s representative of this football club. It’s a minority and these people don’t represent the club or the fans.”

A statement on Newport’s website read: “Newport County is extremely disappointed with the racist gesture made to striker Omar Bogle by a Gillingham supporter during today’s League Two fixture at Priestfield Stadium.

“Newport County abhors any forms of racism, prejudice or discrimination and has a zero-tolerance policy towards incidence of such nature.

“The EFL have confirmed that the individual has been identified and arrested.”


Anti-discrimination body Kick It Out wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “We are aware of the disgusting abuse from a fan directed towards Newport forward Omar Bogle during Saturday’s League Two match at Gillingham.

“There is absolutely no room for so-called supporters like this in football and offences such as this should be met with the strongest possible punishments.

“We send our support to Omar and remind fans that discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated. If you see it or hear it, report it.”

Bogle opened the scoring when he was fouled by Gills keeper Jake Turner after a careless back pass from Cheye Alexander.

And he doubled the advantage, making no mistake again from the spot, when Alexander was at fault once more, this time bundling over Matty Bondswell, leaving Gills interim boss Keith Millen particularly frustrated.

He said: “It’s a tough one to get my head around. I wasn’t expecting that performance or the result. It’s difficult to digest, especially off the back of the last two performances.

“They changed their shape, which threw us a little, as they’ve never done that before and we did a lot of work on how they normally set up. But we played against a 5-3-2 on Tuesday, so it’s not rocket science. We didn’t get to grips with it and we didn’t really look like creating chances.

“When you look at the two penalties and the build-up to them, we should have played forward instead of going for a back pass for the first, then we gave the ball away for the second and they punished us.”

On the supporter incident, he added: “It’s disgusting. It’s not acceptable. As a club we don’t accept it, it’s wrong. It involved one person in a crowd, and thankfully the club have identified him and acted quickly. I feel sorry for the rest of the Gillingham fans as there are a lot of really good supporters here.”

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