A shocking revelation has been made as Wrexham manager Dean Keates speaks out on receiving threats from fans of his own club.
The 42 year old former footballer says that online trolls have threatened to burn down his house, abused his children and wished he contracted Covid.
The National League side took part in a four-day social media silence and their manager says he even considered calling quits due to online abuse that is at it’s peak right now.
Keates’ side currently sit 6th in the top tier of English non league football and are seeking a return to the Football League after a 13-year hiatus. Way too long, let’s been honest.
Wrexham, who drew 2-2 with Maidenhead on Bank Holiday Monday, have seen increased publicity and expectation this season after seeing Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney take over the club, and that pressure has really increase after the duo offered a £250,000 bonus to the players if they achieve promotion.
However, away from that, Keates admits social media abuse left him questioning his own future in a season where online abuse has been rampant.
“Some of the abuse has been disgusting to be honest,” he told BBC Sport Wales.
“When it goes to the point people are happy to abuse you… I have had people threatening to burn my house down, stuff against my kids, personal insults… I just don’t understand it,” he said.
“And when it gets personal, when it was aimed at my family, my kids and people are taking it upon themselves to wish that you catch Covid-19 and that gets you out of a football club, it is hard to take.
“I am not going to lie, when it gets to that level when people are saying things about your kids or whatever, there are points where I have thought ‘is it worth it?’. But I have never shied away from things.
“When that is happening you need to think that times are that humanity need to be a bit more considerate of people’s feelings.
“When people are wishing you catch Covid, it is disgusting.”
Keates adds that he and his club are in agreement that social media companies must do more, especially after taking part in the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram blackout in the hope that they will do more to kick out racism and online abuse.
“There is pressure that comes with managing a football club, but when it goes above and beyond, speaking for myself, there have been a lot of bad things written about my team and my group and it is upsetting,” he added.
“Football criticism is part and parcel, by 5pm everyone knows your job better than you. We put in hard work and it doesn’t always go to plan.
“It is disappointing to live in a time where this is happening. Social media companies need to do more.”
Football clubs, players, staff and the game’s leading organisations went silent on all social media from 3pm on Friday until 11:59pm on Monday in solidarity with victims of abuse and to encourage companies to do more.
On ending the blackout, Premier League clubs released a statement reading: “We now call on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to use their power to affect change and ensure there are real-life sanctions for online hate. We invite these social media companies to respond to our requests for action.”
Away from social media, Dean Keates has hailed his side’s character as Wrexham came from two-nil down to secure a 2-2 draw against Maidenhead United at York Road.
“It was great character from the boys,” said Keates.
“It is difficult being two-nil down but we have been in that situation before.
“We know if you can get one goal, you get momentum and second half we had the wind behind us.
“We got them penned in, they had one or two breaks but Rob Lainton never really had to make a save.”
“We started really well,” said Keates.
“We were on the front foot, we got a corner in the first couple of minutes and we had opportunities.
“Take nothing away from Maidenhead, they got some great blocks on shots that one or two looked goal bound.
“It was a positive start and the goal has come from absolute nowhere.
“Give the lad credit, it is a Goal of the Season contender for the National League; he executed it absolutely spot-on.
“After that we had to weather the storm with the wind and how bad the conditions were, and we were disappointed with the second goal. Tyler is in the right slot but he missed his clearance.”
Fans reacted after seeing the shocking revelation made as the Wrexham manager speaks on receiving threats…
@Deaddoghank: It’s sports. It’s supposed to be an escape. People need to get a life. Compassion.
@redfern438: Not real fans hope club bans them from ever entering the stadium again. At end day hardest league to get out of manager has new platform his own players now and we are starting to see a change. Not going to happen over night and most likely won’t be this season
@aled174: He’s not the only one unfortunately. Dior Angus had a nice welcome when he signed from a fan who disapproved of his BLM Twitter header. People can say “these aren’t fans of our club” but unfortunately, they are. We all have a duty to call them out on their abuse, it needs to stop
@_NathanRowlands: They’re not fans of our club, fair enough if you dislike him as a manager but ffs this is too far. Might not play the prettiest football but we’re still in the playoffs so let’s just stick together
@wfcbanksy: Don’t fuck with Keatesy
@ffsWrexham: Zero place in football or society for abuse like this, those that have done it aren’t real Wrexham fans, just vile keyboard warriors. You can be critical of the manager or think he isn’t the man to take us forward but subjecting him to abuse like this is utterly disgraceful.
@GazTrow: The abuse DK has had has been disgusting, no matter what you think of him as a football manager he should never have to receive stuff like this from braindead fans. Really hope he takes us up to shut them up!
@_honez: Awful treatment by social media keyboard warriors. Dislike the way he does things, his style, management, tactics, whatever, but personal attacks on him and his family? Disgusting.
I may think there are some better for the job, but I respect Dean Keates the man, husband & dad.
@78Spirit: WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH PEOPLE?
@danrowe28: I have no words!
Fans continued to react at the shocking revelation made as Wrexham manager Dean Keates speaks on receiving threats…
@Nic_Nac_Ola: People really need to have a look at themselves if they are sending any level of abuse to Dean & his family all because of a football result!
@redfern438: No place in football for this. Your not true fans if this is how you act yes you express anger when players or managers not performing or owners. But sending threats is not the way. @Wrexham_AFC fortunes have changed under him now club have real owners. @BBCSportWales
@gareth1864: Nobody deserves abuse like that!
@Connor_4400: Clearly not true Wrexham fans then, every club has that small minority; whilst I personally don’t think Dean is right for the job you can’t stoop so low as to make comments such as these, fucking sickening.
@OwenThornley3: Never understood the hate the man gets, twice now pulled the club from a relegation scrap to play offs within one season, football may not be up to Pep Guardiolas standards but it’s fifth tier football it’s never pretty, id still give him another years contract
@BraisdellLiam: Absolutely disgraceful to hear about the personal abuse to Dean Keates and his family. There’s a line that just shouldn’t be crossed whether we agree with his management or not.
@pauljones_wxm: It’s sickening and totally undeserved.
@JayWaterhouse6: Am absolutely fuming here!! There not fans there scum!!