United’s failure to field a side is ‘embarrassing’

Worthing United
Worthing United

United had to pull out of the County League Division 1 clash an hour-and-a-half before kick-off after seven players pulled out over the course of Sunday night and Monday morning.

Downie blasted player commitment as, after manager Paul Curtis had a side on Sunday evening, texts came through from five players dropping out between 11pm and 2.30am, before another two pulled out the morning of the game.

EP will almost certainly be awarded the points from the fixture, which will go down as a 0-0 scoreline.

United have been charged by the Sussex County League for failing to fulfill a fixture and have seven days to respond, before the league will make a decision on the outcome.

Downie said: “There is not much more I can say than it’s down to players’ attitudes.

“I was in the changing room after the game on Saturday when Paul asked if anyone wasn’t available on Monday and nobody said they couldn’t play.

“It’s disappointing and embarrassing for the club and I am not happy about it, but what can I say?

“I have spoken to Paul (Curtis), Martyn (Rea) and my vice-chairman (Steve Taylor) and they all are unhappy, but I am being assured it won’t happen again.

“Other than that what can I say? It’s just very embarrassing.”

Three United players were forced to pull out after picking up injuries playing for their Sunday sides, Downie believed that the rest of the players, due to some texts coming through at 2.30am, were out on the town.

He added: “When I took the club over, the finances told me I couldn’t do certain things this year. But I have got them right now and that means we can do things again next year, like have a reserve side again.

“Paul is sick as a parrot about it and has had a difficult job since he came in after James Baker left. It hasn’t gone how he wanted but he has stuck at it.”

Jamie McLeod was one player who Downie did salute after playing through illness in the 7-0 defeat at Dorking on Saturday, before being the first one to turn up on Monday, while the managers frantically rang around trying to put a team together.

Downie added: “There are no excuses, but we don’t have a reserve side and that’s down to a financial thing and that hasn’t helped.

“But, hopefully, next year we’ll have that in place, and I am realistic that we’ll likely be a county two side, but we’ll be looking to bounce back.

“Whatever they fine us I will pay it as, at the end of the day, the buck stops with me as chairman.”

WORTHING United Football Club chairman Gary Downie was left severely embarrassed after Mavericks failed to field a side at East Preston on Bank Holiday Monday.