‘Lessons learned’ as Asfordby FC thrown out of County Cup

Asfordby FC directors at the club's senior team launch last summer - Andy Harrison (front) with Dean Cook, Jamie Hill, Sarah Wilson, Duncan Shelley EMN-180131-094330002
Asfordby FC directors at the club's senior team launch last summer - Andy Harrison (front) with Dean Cook, Jamie Hill, Sarah Wilson, Duncan Shelley EMN-180131-094330002
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Asfordby FC chairman Andy Harrison believes a big lesson has been learned after the club was thrown out of the County Cup last week.

The club should have been lining up in Saturday’s County FA Intermediate Cup semi-finals, but were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player in the quarter-final win over North Kilworth.

Jon Allsop joined Asfordby FC as first team manager last summer EMN-180131-094341002

Jon Allsop joined Asfordby FC as first team manager last summer EMN-180131-094341002

County FA officials contacted Asfordby’s committee last Wednesday who had no option but to accept the charge.

But the chairman insisted it was an innocent mistake rather than intentional cheating.

“It was a bit of an administration error,” he said. “We tried to get the player in and thought we had signed him, but the signing hadn’t gone through as it transpired.

“Once we found out what had gone on we knew there was nothing we could do about it.

“We had a meeting on Thursday and dealt with it internally and now we have put measures in place to make sure it never happens again.

“It was pretty disappointing, but one of those lessons learned as a club at this level. It is not what we are about.”

First team manager Jon Allsop offered his resignation, but was persuaded to stay on as the team looks to maintain its challenge in the Senior League Division One.

“Jon was pretty distraught, but we spoke about it at length and told him what is expected at the club,” Harrison added.

“We will draw a line under it now and move on.

“We said at the start of the project it’s not all about winning, it’s about developing the club.

“We want to be transparent all the way through so anyone who walks through our gates knows what they are getting here.”

It is the first blot on an otherwise excellent debut season in senior football for the club, with both its first team and development squad chasing promotion in their respective leagues.

The first team sit fifth in Senior League Division One, but with games in hand on the teams above, while the unbeaten development squad are second in Division Three of the North Leicestershire League.

“We didn’t expect to be in the position we are in our first season,” said Harrison.

“Our under 18s go into the development team which is there to support the first team, and it’s working a treat at the moment.

“The project is there for any player to walk into the club as a four-year-old and have that pathway right up to senior football.

“I could never understand why there was no other club doing this around here.

“Our best under 18s would go on to play for Holwell or Melton, and we thought why should they get the fruits of our labour.”

As well as its expansion from an exclusively junior club, Asfordby FC also signed a 30-year lease at their Asfordby Acres home last year with site owners Melton Mowbray Town Estate.

“Since the takeover of facilities it has just grown and grown, and we are struggling to cope with the numbers,” the chairman added.

“We had 11 teams last year and we are up to 19 this year.

“But it’s a nice problem to have and I’m proud of how hard everyone is working at the club.”