REDDITCH United manager Liam McDonald has hit back at Poole Town boss Tom Killick and suggested he and others should worry about their own affairs rather than speculating about a possible points deduction for the Reds as the Southern League Premier Division promotion battle hots up.
The Southern League is still deciding what, if any, further action to take against the Valley Stadium outfit who were charged with fielding ineligible players Jazz Luckie and Jim Mutton against St Neots Town.
It later emerged they should have begun three-match suspensions following their red cards a fortnight previously at King’s Lynn Town.
The 1-0 defeat at King’s Lynn has been shrouded in controversy as the hosts also saw a player red-carded in a match which saw the referee injured and replaced by an assistant and subsequently no referee’s report was ever received by Redditch, therefore preventing any immediate chance to appeal against the red cards, which McDonald believes were completely unjust.
“I’m pretty sick of reading comments from people who have no idea what has gone on and what is still ongoing as we discuss this matter with the FA, but who feel they are judge and jury,” said McDonald, who confirmed the club have now appealed against the bans despite the fact they have been served.
“The Poole manager Tom Killick has had lots to say on it, suggesting we’ve fielded ineligible players and should have three points deducted and that’s the end of it. Well, it’s not as simple as that, this is a lengthy process and there are a lot of unusual circumstances in this case which need to be properly examined.
“After the King’s Lynn match we received the paperwork for the yellow cards but nothing ever arrived for the red cards.
“We knew straight away we wanted to appeal against the dismissals as we have video evidence which proves Jazz (Luckie) did not run to the technical area and throw a punch as was suggested on the day and that Jim (Mutton) did not get involved in a wrestling match with his opponent on the floor after they had both gone to ground following a challenge.
“In theory, we could not appeal as technically we did not have the paperwork to say what we’d be appealing against. Also, there was then a glitch on the FA website which reports when any suspensions are due to start and the FA has admitted responsibility for this glitch to us.
“If we had tried to go through with an appeal – which appeared pointless at the time as there was nothing in writing to appeal against – then both Jazz and Jim, who are key players for us at both ends of the pitch, would have been available for key matches against promotion rivals Hitchin Town, Poole and Weymouth. As it was, they missed those games and we suffered for it.
“As soon as we did see the suspensions appear on the website the night before the Hitchin game, I was changing my team at the last minute.
“There has never been any intention to cheat the system on our part. You only have to look at the St Neots game, where Jazz came on as a late substitute. Do people honestly think I’d have stuck him on for ten minutes in a game we were winning if I thought there was any danger he was not allowed to play?
“We have been fined, the players have missed a crucial six games between them and we have not benefited as a club. How much more do we need to be punished?”
McDonald is disappointed that Killick in particular is vocal in his views on the matter and added: “This is an ongoing process in the hands of the Southern League which will come to a decision in good time.
“Those with a view on it should really start concentrating on their own matters. The likes of Poole, Leamington, Kettering Town and Weymouth have double if not treble our budget yet it seems we’re the biggest thing on some people’s minds.
“They see Redditch as a threat even though we’ve lost the services of the best player in the division in Jamey Osborne through injury.
“My players are taking some of these comments from other people as a compliment. We’ve had a great 40 games so far and will continue to give everything to be the best we can in what is a very tough league. Perhaps the pressure is starting to tell elsewhere.”