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Diabetic fan gets apology from club

PUBLISHED: 04:35 21 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Town Football Club has apologised for removing the top from a diabetic's drink bottle.

Canaries fan Robert O'Neill travelled to Ipswich for Sunday's match and was told by a Portman Road gate steward that he was not allowed to take the bottled drink into the ground with the top still on.

IPSWICH Town Football Club has apologised for removing the top from a diabetic's drink bottle.

Canaries fan Robert O'Neill travelled to Ipswich for Sunday's match and was told by a Portman Road gate steward that he was not allowed to take the bottled drink into the ground with the top still on.

Mr O'Neill explained he was a diabetic and might urgently need the Lucozade drink at some point during the day, but the steward said the screw-on top had to be removed.

Mr O'Neill was forced to put the opened drink under his seat, but at some point during the game the bottle was knocked over and the drink spilled out.

Stewards and police were confiscating bottle tops from all fans in a bid to prevent them being used as missiles during the game.

"I was told having the cap on the bottle made it an offensive weapon," said Mr O'Neill, who works for a glass supplier in Norwich.

"I was allowed to take the drink in but without the top. It was a busy game and I knew it would eventually get knocked over, and that's what happened.

"The steward didn't have a problem with me taking my insulin needles inside the ground, but the drink was an essential part of the pack.

"If my blood sugar levels had dropped, I would have had to ask someone to go and buy me a drink and by the time they came back I could have been in real trouble."

Mr O'Neill, who is also a health and safety officer, said he saved a fellow diabetic Canaries fan at a pre-season game last season.

He said: "We were away at Colchester and a fan nearby collapsed. I recognised the signs and gave him a drink, which I had in my pack, and he came round."

A spokesman for Ipswich said the club would be issuing an apology to Mr O'Neill. He said: "We, along with all other clubs in the Football League, adopt a policy of removing bottle tops before drinks are allowed into the ground. However, we do, as you would expect, make concessions where drinks are needed for medical reasons. Clearly, this did not happen on this occasion and we will be investigating why this was the case and writing to Mr O'Neill to offer a full explanation and apology."

n YUGOSLAV team FK Sartid left Ipswich today with more than just a good result – most of the team went on a shopping spree in town before their match at Portman Road.

Soon after they arrived in Ipswich on Wednesday afternoon, the team were taken to the town centre – especially to sports' store JJB.

"We had about six or seven members of the team come in here – we knew who they were because they were all wearing FK Sartid jackets," said John Beaton from JJB.

"They seemed taken aback by the size of the shop and bought a lot of kit like boots and shinpads.

"I don't think they've got anything quite like JJB at home.

"But they'd clearly done their homework and knew the value of everything – and which were the bargains."

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