A DIEHARD Port Vale fan who saw friends beaten up after a match because they supported Huddersfield Town has vowed to stand by his club and kick out the hooligans.
Stephen Walters said he had considered abandoning the club he has supported since he was a teenager after his younger brother's Town-supporting friends were savagely attacked after Saturday's match between the two sides.
But now he is determined he will not let the thugs win and is calling on true fans, the club and the police to make a common stand against them.
Stephen, who has held a Vale season ticket for five years, said: "For a brief period I thought about giving up Vale. But then I thought I'm not going to let people like this affect my way of life.
"If people just walk away nothing will improve. People like me need to stand up and be counted. That's the only way things will change."
He spoke out after Town fans Gareth Morris, Ian Clough and Paul Matthewman were attacked and beaten after Town's win last Saturday.
Stephen's brother John, who is originally from Stoke-on-Trent but now lives in Huddersfield, went to see Saturday's match with the three Town fans.
John watched the game with Stephen, his father and Stephen's 10-year-old son Michael, while his friends went to the away supporters' end.
Police and ambulances were called and the Huddersfield fans were treated for their injuries before giving a statement to the police.
While they were being treated Stephen, aged 34, of Navigation Loop, Stone, said he saw passing Vale fans laughing at them.
He said: "That sickened me more than anything else.
"But when you sit back and take careful consideration you want to place the blame where it really lies, with the people who did this disgusting act."
A police spokesman said: "The incident was in Lawton Street at 5.10pm. We are looking through CCTV to see if we can identify the offenders."
The police believe five or six men were involved in the attack.
One of the offenders was wearing a black shiny coat and another was wearing a Burberry baseball cap.
Witnesses should contact police on 01782 202555.