Northern Ireland

BNP told "stay away from matches"

Oval stadium in east Belfast
Image caption The BNP were canvassing outside the ground

The British National Party has been told by football fans to stay way from local grounds after members canvassed support outside the Oval at the weekend.

They issued leaflets seeking support to bring Troops back from Afghanistan.

Graham Moore from the Castlereagh Glentoran Supporters' Club said the BNP was not something fans want to be associated with.

The BBC contacted the BNP office for a response, but no one replied.

Mr Moore said he noticed BNP literature on car windscreens on his way into the football ground.

"I noticed the BNP presence and I have to say I was a little puzzled.

"In the run up to elections we sometimes get mainstream parties outside the ground but this was very unusual, " Mr Moore said.

"I wasn't interested in what they were doing so I didn't go any closer to see what exactly they were doing.

"They were outside the ground so there is nothing the club can do but it's not something the supporters want to have to see."

East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton described the presence of the BNP at the football game as uninvited and unwelcome.

Mr Newton said a number of constituents contacted him to "express their disgust" at the presence of the BNP outside their local club.

"They go to the Oval to support the Glens and enjoy a game of football; they don't want to be faced with BNP messages of hate," Mr Newton said.

"Glentoran Football Club has a generational tradition of appealing to a broad range of supporters and players, irrespective of race or religion.

"I presume this BNP presence is some sort of campaign to raise their nauseous profile, and I appeal for everyone to stand as one to reject their message," he added.

"I understand they are now seeking to link their actions to some form of support for our troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"How ironic, given the fact that our brave young soldiers are currently fighting those who espouse exactly the same sort of bile and hate as preached by the BNP.

"The BNP should pack up their messages of hate and disappear. They have been rejected time and time again, they represent no-one, and we don't want them in our midst."