It really is a strange set of events that panned out at Millwall and has subsequently gone back and forth somewhat surrounding the spat between Dan Westwell and Billy Davies.
What initially started as a strange press release from Forest about the actions of Westwall, alluding to inappropriate action. Davies had been seen haranguing the photographer after the match and on initial investigation it all seemed like Billy war with the Post had reached a new level of idiocy.
And then a lot more same to light. For instance that Westwell had been banned from Mansfield in 2007 and been in court for making rude gestures at former chairman of the Stags Keith Haslam. Now Haslam was a very unpopular figure and quite what those gestures were or were not trying to incite is unclear.
Bu even so that’s many years ago against a much disliked chairman at a club... but then there’s more. Westwell then claimed he had been treated harshly at Chester City and made to sit alone, despite many witnesses pointing out quite the contrary, and that pictures of him sitting alone were fabricated post match with other photographers.
This is taken from a Chester City forum about the incident where he apparently was intimidated and made to sit alone. (Link Here)
“As a Football Club we are very disappointed with the tact taken by Mr Dan Westwell, he seems to have circum navigated some of the facts, at present we are considering an Official response to the article but as fans of CCFC I think you should be made aware of the facts. I must point out that we have no axe to grind with Mr Westwell but simply would like the full facts to be known.
Mr Westwell was arrested for an alleged Public Order Offence and bailed until 9th February 2007 over an incident at Mansfield's Field Mill ground the previous Saturday.
He applied for two press badges for the Chester City v Mansfield game and was originally granted them.
We were advised by Mansfield Police to consider the granting of these press badges, because of the above incident but they did recommend that we should allow him in.
After considering all the facts at our disposal we decided that Mr Westwell could be allowed into the ground and was given two Complimentary tickets,he was not allowed pitchside but was allowed to take still photography from behind the perimeter wall from the West Stand.
Mr Westwell was not "constantly watched" by stewards and nor was he put in an area of The West Stand away from other fans. “
“Nottingham Forest later issued a statement on their website describing Dan’s conduct as “unprofessional” but Post editor said that the allegation is completely unsubstantiated.
“Dan Westwell is a professional sports photographer who has an excellent reputation for his pictures and his journalism,” .
In the comments section itself on that site, what appears to be Dan commenting says this
"During the second half I was sat along the touchline in between the half way line and 18 yard box taking photos of the game & Forest bench (as I was doing it for the paper in Nottingham and ironically, giving some pics to Forests programme too!). Billy Davies sent one of his staff out to tell me to stop taking pics of him so I said “ok fair enough” and went back to sit on my camera case along the 18 yard line. Within a few minutes I’d got Jonathan Greening standing behind me watching me edit my pics on my laptop and one of the subs standing 2 yards in front of me blocking my view of the pitch.At full time Billy Davies came straight over to me rather than the Forest fans and started screaming in right in my face “WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WHERE ARE YOU FROM?” The stewards had to pull him away from me. The Millwall fans were going mad & the stewards moved me ‘for my own safety’ even though the Millwall fans were telling BD where to get off and asking me what that was all about. The police asked me as well. I saw a photographer & asked him if he got pics & he got some of Billy right in my face which have gone all over the place now. That is it. Forest then tried to cover their own back (and embarrassment) by making a statement 24 hours later (!) saying I was being unprofessional, this was after Davies himself said in his post match interview that the incident was “nothing”! However they didn’t state what I was doing to make that observation! And they still haven’t done
Which is interesting as it’s practically verbatim word for word said elsewhere. I have been fairly critical of Davies in the past and his methods with the media, but this puzzles me., I can’t believe he’d go nuts at a photographer for nothing, and neither do I think that he did is excusable, you just move on, but I can't help wondering what else there is to this to bring about Davies reaction, and coupled with some liberal use of the truth before it seems odd.
It seems he might not be the most reliable man to listen to with his side of the story, but hell, what can he be doing other than potentially trying to antagonise Davies into a reaction shot or something. Both sides just seem daft on this. Davies for getting involved and the Photographer for gleefully playing this all out in public.