Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Guard evicts fired coach's supporters

Jackson Gibbons (left) and Carter Simpson show their support for Kevin Fallon. Photo / Doug Sherring
Jackson Gibbons (left) and Carter Simpson show their support for Kevin Fallon. Photo / Doug Sherring

Two shocked students were escorted from a school football match by a security guard yesterday for wearing T-shirts supporting their 1st XI's sacked coach, Kevin Fallon.

Parents and supporters looked on in astonishment as the 17-year-olds from Auckland's Mt Albert Grammar School were booted out.

Jackson Gibbons and Carter Simpson were on the sidelines to support their 1st XI in a match against St Kentigern. They were wearing tops emblazoned with the slogan "Bring Back Kev".

The boys said that 15 minutes into the game, MAGS deputy principal Paul McKinley told them to remove the T-shirts or leave.

"He repeatedly told Carter and me we were bringing the school into disrepute," said Gibbons.

Security staff were patrolling the grounds. Simpson said he and Gibbons told McKinley they were not doing anything wrong by showing support for Fallon, the ex-All Whites coach fired this week after 18 years at MAGS.

Adult supporters were also wearing the Bring Back Kev shirts, which were being sold outside the ground for $10 by parent Julie Mata, who has two sons in the team.

"I was in the carpark when I saw the two boys being ejected by a security man and I was shocked. I just thought, 'Far out, you must be kidding, this is a kids' football match at a school," she said.

Gibbons, a boarder, said headmaster Dale Burden approached him later as he was leaving to go home to Kaukapakapa for the weekend.

Burden last night confirmed he had spoken to one of the boys and told him he was not to wear the Fallon T-shirt.

"I will be looking into the matter on Monday as I was told the boys were asked to leave the playing fields because there was an issue with their behaviour, not because they were wearing the T-shirts.

"We had two security guards present but that was because we have a community swimming pool and there can be issues with parking on big sports game days."

Banished Fallon watched the game from the balcony of his apartment, which overlooks the school.

- Herald on Sunday

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