Right-wing activist Tommy Robinson promises Hearts visit after masked group photo
Hearts fans have expressed their concern after Tommy Robinson announced that he plans to attend a fixture of the Gorgie side soon.
The right-wing activist announced his intention of taking in a Hearts game on his Instagram account which has more than 100,000 followers.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, posted a picture of a group of men wearing masks standing in front of a Hearts flag commemorating McCrae’s Battalion, the name for the 16th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Scots during the First World War. Sixteen Hearts players and hundreds of the club’s fans were among its ranks.
The message accompanying the picture reads: “You will be seeing me at a hearts game soon.”
It has been liked by around 3,000 people with comments urging him to make an appearance at Tynecastle.
One Hearts supporter said: “You’ll be more than welcome”.
Another follower suggested the part of the ground he should watch a game from: “Section N Tommy boy.”
The photo was reportedly taken at a charity event for autism in Edinburgh on Saturday evening which raised thousands of pounds.
The masks worn by the men are very similar to ones that can be purchased from Tommy Robinson’s online shop.
Some Hearts fans took to social media and fans’ forum to note their unease with the situation and the concern of Robinson’s named linked in any way to the club.
• READ MORE: Tommy Robinson’s previous with British football fans
“Robinson’s Instagram has a lot of followers, and that’s our club’s name, and the name of McCrae’s Battalion being dragged through the mud to all of them,” wrote one, while another added: “Having that flag behind them is the most repulsive desecration of the fine name of McCrae’s Battalion”.
One supporter said: “Grim. We need to actively denounce this sort of association.”
Another stated: “Keep him as far away as possible. Whatever your opinion on him, he has absolutely 0 business being anywhere near our club. Leave all politics at the door.”
Hearts owner Ann Budge recently released a statement in which she condemned the “unacceptable behaviour” by fans at the Edinburgh derby last month in which Neil Lennon was hit by a coin thrown from the Main Stand at Tynecastle, while Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal was struck by a Hibs fan.
In the statement Budge said there would be indefinite bans for fans “singing or chanting of any song or flying of any flag which is recognised as being sectarian, racist or political in its intent.”
Robinson, a journalist for Rebel Media, is the former leader of the English Defence League which he co-founded. The 35-year-old has received multiple criminal convictions, including fraud and assault, and was sentenced to 13 months in prison earlier this year for contempt of court.
He went against the reporting restrictions ordered by a the judge during a court case against a grooming gang and live-streamed events outside Leeds Crown Court.
Two months ago Robinson won his challenge against the contempt of court and was released on bail.
He has previous with Scottish clubs having attended an Aidrieonians game in March this year, while he has been pictured wearing a Rangers top.
Hearts have been approached for a comment.