Melton Town call for FA action after second cup final incident in six days

Town co-managers Jon Stevenson (left) and Tom Manship (second left) in the dugout at Holmes Park last week EMN-190417-134150002
Town co-managers Jon Stevenson (left) and Tom Manship (second left) in the dugout at Holmes Park last week EMN-190417-134150002
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Melton Town co-manager Tom Manship has admitted he questioned his future in step six football after an incident at last week’s County Cup final.

Manship, who played more than 100 times in the Conference, joined Melton last summer for his first managerial role, looking to overhaul the squad and club structure.

Rob Peet leads Town out of the Holmes Park changing rooms before kick-off EMN-191004-090513002

Rob Peet leads Town out of the Holmes Park changing rooms before kick-off EMN-191004-090513002

But he has become frustrated at the handling of three complaints made to Leicestershire and Rutland County FA and the United Counties League, culminating with the cup final.

“I would be lying if I said I hadn’t questioned what I’m doing, but on the other hand I haven’t let anything beat me in my life,” he said.

“It makes me more determined to go even harder and make this club more of a success.”

He was furious after an altercation took place during half-time when the manager of another club, not involved in the final, entered their changing room.

The County FA confirmed they had been made aware of an incident and said they would not be able to comment while the matter was being investigated.

It was the second unwelcome off-the-pitch incident at the county FA’s Holmes Park headquarters in just six days.

The previous week, Wymeswold FC Reserves player Linford Harris claimed he was racially abused by a spectator in the County FA Vase final which drew a police investigation.

But Manship is not confident that strong sanctions will be taken once the investigation into last week’s final is concluded.

He added: “If the FA can’t make strong decisions, then what’s the point of us doing things properly and professionally?

“You wouldn’t be able to get away with this in the leagues I’ve played at. It seems to be one rule for one, and another rule for another.”

Town also lodged a complaint last October over the refereeing of their home defeat to Lutterworth Town last October when three of their players were sent off.

After the game several Melton supporters were subjected to verbal abuse on social media platform Twitter from an account purporting to be that of match referee Dave Bullen who told the County FA it was a fake account run by someone else.

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Such frustrations have led Manship to ask the club’s board about leaving the United Counties League and moving to another step six alternative.

“I’ve put that forward to the board, but the club is bigger than me and any individual,” Manship added.

“We are doing things professionally and the right way while others are taking shortcuts.

“It’s frustrating, and that’s an understatement.”

Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at leaders Lutterworth Town, 11 days after a 2-0 loss at title rivals Anstey, has all but ended their promotion hopes.

But Manship was honest about last weekend’s performance and positive about the season as a whole.

“They played the conditions better than us,” he admitted.

“It was one of the worst pitches I have seen, but both teams have to deal with it and they did it better than us.

“It is a learning curve for myself and Stevo (co-manager Jon Stevenson) that sometimes you have to go to places like this and grind out results.

“If we get maximum points from our remaining games we will have 90 points and if you told me at the start of the season we would do that and get to a county cup final I would have taken it.”