It’s a complex situation. Legal action could bring attention to issues of free speech versus club policy, but it also raises questions about responsible behavior on social media.

A football fan who was banned from attending matches after expressing gender-critical views on social media has begun a crowd-funded legal action against Newcastle United and the Premier League.

Linzi Smith was barred by the football club after a “Stasi” spying investigation into her, which detailed where she lives, works, and even where she walks her dog. It was launched after someone wrote to the club accusing her of being transphobic.

The 34-year-old, who is gay and promotes lesbian, bisexual, and women’s rights, has raised £15,000 through a crowdfunding campaign supported by fellow fans and free speech campaigners.

Lawyers fighting her case have now written to the club and the league demanding compensation and an end to the ban. Ms Smith is prepared to take her case to court if they refuse to comply.

Her legal team says the Premier League club illegally discriminated against her after she expressed legally-protected beliefs that people cannot change their sex.

Levins Solicitors also say the Premier League and the club had no “lawful basis” for snooping on her when a special unit set up to combat racism compiled an 11-page “target profile” dossier on her.