Family's return rights cup wrong

EVO-STIK League Hyde United have been making sure a family of MK Dons fans have happy memories of Ewen Fields after their first visit was ended prematurely by the mindless flare-throwers who marred the televised Emirates FA Cup clash between the clubs.

Hyde United's football liaison director Mike Davies is pictured with Keith and Jen Frankish and their sons Seth and Luca after the family returned last weekend as guests of the Tigers to see their 1-0 win over Ossett Albion in EVO-STIK League North.

The club took action to mend their reputation after learning that the Blackburn-based family were left fearing for their safety during the first round clash eight days earlier and had left at half-time when the second of the two flares was thrown towards MK Dons fans in front of millions watching the 4-0 win for the League One club on BBC 2.

The Tigers published a letter of thanks from the family this week before their weekend reverse at Clitheroe and a proud club spokesman said: "We were delighted that MK Dons fans Keith, Jen, Seth and Luca were able to accept our hospitality invitation as we were absolutely determined that the boys love of football would not be tarnished by incidents that are alien to our own football club and that they saw the real Hyde United."

In his letter to the club, Keith Frankish wrote: "The whole day was special from start to finish and the attention and surprises that you laid on for Seth and Luca were brilliant and greatly appreciated. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves,the boys especially so!

"They've been wearing their Hyde United shirts this week around the house with pride! It is a fantastic club and everyone involved that we met on the day were so friendly and welcoming and it really made our day."

He added: "We definitely will be returning to watch more games in the future and if you could please pass on my thanks to the manager and the players for taking the time out of their routines to spend a few minutes will the boys before the game."

The Tameside outfit - who earned around £170,000 from their run to the first round proper for the first time since 1994, have also hailed the MK Dons for launching a crowdfunding campaign to help them pay an estimated bill of £12,500 to repair the damage to their scorched state-of the art 4G surface which was only laid last year by the EVO-STIK League's official pitch partners at Bolton-based turf specialists GreenFields.

More than £1,500 had been raised by before the GoFundMe campaign closed on Friday night to help the Tigers use their cup windfall for ground improvements and community projects and Hyde United secretary Pete Ainger is looking forward to a long and enduring friendship between the two clubs after hailing the "fantastic" gesture by MK Dons fans.

He said: "What a fantastic achievement by some fantastic people. They are a terrific club and I have to say our dealings with them, from top to bottom, have been absolutely first class. Everybody there has been brilliant since we were drawn together and the gesture from their supporters says everything you need to know about them."

"It was fantastic thing to do and I think there will always be a special friendship between us now so it was great that the family were also able to come back and see what this club is really about and represents. We were lucky that they didn't live too far away and delighted that they enjoyed their return."

Images courtesy of Hyde United & BBC Sport/Twitter

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