Wolves favourite Andy Thompson believes the club’s fans are being punished rather than Slovan Bratislava’s supporters over UEFA’s controversial ruling.
Bratislava lost an appeal over the Europa League game against Wolves on October 24 being staged behind closed doors after racist chanting marred a match against Greek side PAOK in August.
But despite the crowd ban, up to 15,000 people could be admitted to the stadium as accompanied children of 14 and under are allowed.
Wolves have been taking 1,000 fans or more to European games but they have been allowed just 200 tickets, priced at £55 each, for the game in Slovakia.
Racism is again a hot topic after England exercised UEFA’s protocol twice during their 6-0 win against Bulgaria on Monday night, with the game stopped twice in the first half following chants from the home fans.
Thompson, who made 452 appearances in gold and black from 1986-97, feels UEFA’s decision has hit Wolves fans hardest.
“It’s a shame because they (Wolves) are being punished. I think more Wolves fans should be allowed in,” the 51-year-old told www.wolvesbite.com
“The home crowd are the ones that have done wrong, so surely they are the ones that should be punished, not Wolves fans.
“Look how many years Wolves fans have waited for their team to be in Europe.
“They want to embrace it and go to the games. They have always had a good away following and they have been taking a decent number to the Europa League games as well.”
Thompson added: “Surely it should be all or nothing. Their fans have got the club in trouble and the club have lost their appeal.
“If these things (racist chants) are going on, then something needs to be done about it.
“It’s a shame (about the ban) but something has to be done about the fans if they are breaking the law or doing something they shouldn’t.
“There seems to be a lot of it going on at the moment and someone has to make a stand.
“It’s ridiculous that this sort of thing is still going on but you can’t have a ban and then let thousands of people in.”
The crowd ban should remove the more vociferous element of Bratislava’s support, and Thompson believes this could be a plus for Wolves.
“I see it as an opportunity and an advantage for Wolves because their (Bratislava’s) full support can’t get behind their team,” he said.
“I don’t think the away team should be punished but then there are probably security concerns about people sneaking in to support the home team.”
Banning fans from games as a punishment is nothing new and Thompson played every game when Wolves fans were banned for six away matches early in the 1987-88 season after crowd trouble in the opening day game at Scarborough.
Wolves fans travelled in sizeable numbers even in those Fourth Division days and attendances were hit hard by their absence.
The crowds when Wolves fans were banned were 2,676 at Hereford (won 2-1), 2,258 at Cardiff (lost 3-2), 3,089 at Peterborough (drew 1-1), 2,234 at Stockport (won 2-0) 3,833 at Bolton (lost 1-0) and 2,621 at Carlisle (won 1-0).
Thompson admits it was a weird experience without the Wolves fans being there.
“It’s strange because you’re used to hearing them encouraging you and getting behind the team, and then you’re coming out (of the tunnel) to no noise,” he said.
“When the fans are there it definitely pushes you on and drives you forward.
“There’s also a better atmosphere because when you have two sets of fans, there is banter between them. That’s the biggest thing you missed when they weren’t there.
“It was a shame when our fans were banned because the majority of them were absolutely brilliant, it was just a few who ruined it for the rest.”