FOOTBALL: REDDITCH United manager Liam McDonald said the Valley Stadium outfit had “nothing but the best intentions” for new midfield recruit Jamey Osborne following his switch to the club from Hednesford Town.
Osborne has faced criticism from some Pitmen supporters on social media following last week’s decision to leave Keys Park for the Valley Stadium – as exclusively revealed by the Standard – but McDonald said some fans did not understand the reasons behind the move and feels the playmaker has been unfairly treated.
“I am a close friend of Jamey and have followed his career for a number of years but he’d become frustrated with a few things in football in general and he was considering taking a year out of football to concentrate on his work and spend more time with his young family,” said McDonald.
“I thought it would be a tremendous shame for a player of his ability to stop playing, so we spoke and I offered him the chance to play here for a season which, with us playing at a lower level, allows Jamey the chance to spend more time on things important to him at the moment.
“I can categorically refute that we have taken Jamey on board with any ulterior motives. That would be utterly disrespectful to Hednesford and respect is something I am big on, especially after the Jermaine Hylton transfer to Swindon which caused controversy.”
McDonald added: “Because Jamey is 23, the Bosman ruling means Hednesford are entitled to compensation from us and we’ll be in touch with them about that in due course, otherwise it will go to a tribunal.
“Jamey has had the whole summer to ponder what he was going to do and he’s decided on this. Dropping down a division will allow him to enjoy it and spend more time with his family, so I’ve asked him to have a season with us and see how he feels.”
On the field, the Reds have recorded two impressive results to reach Saturday’s (3pm) Worcestershire Senior Cup final, in which they will take on Worcester City at Bromsgrove Sporting’s Victoria Ground.
United came from a goal down to see off Stourbridge in Saturday’s quarter-final at the Valley thanks to strikes from Jordan Archer and Luke Shearer, before defeating a strong Kidderminster Harriers side 3-0 on penalties in Monday’s semi-final at the Valley, which had ended in a 1-1 draw after the visitors scored a late goal to cancel out another Shearer effort.
McDonald was full of praise for his side: “We’ve beaten some decent opposition there and deservedly so in both games, even though we had a number of key players unavailable.
“It was a good game against Stourbridge which we largely dominated and it shows the strength in depth we now have.
“We bossed the game and it shows how the tables have turned over the past couple of seasons that we were able to beat them comfortably.
“We should have been out of sight against Kidderminster long before it went to penalties, so again I was happy with the performance.
“It was good to have competitive games and our spirit and desire was good, which now sets up what will be a really tough game for us against Worcester because I fancy them to go well in National League North this season.
“I am pretty sure we’ll both be fielding strong sides and we’d love to start the campaign by winning a cup.”