FOOTBALL: We're disgusted
MELKSHAM Town have leapt to the defence of local rivals Bradford Town after they were booted out of the Wiltshire Senior Cup.
Dave Percival netted an extra-time winner as Bradford beat Melksham 3-2 in the quarter-finals on February 18 but Paul Shanley’s side have been eliminated from the competition after it came to light that Percival had not been registered with the club before the original date of the postponed tie on January 19.
Percival signed for 2010-2011 cup finalists Bradford from Westbury United on January 25 but rule 4 (a) of the Wiltshire FA’s competition regulations states that players must be registered at least 48 hours before the original date of a tie.
Melksham have been reinstated in the competition and will take Bradford’s place against Bemerton Heath Harlequins in the semi- finals, despite both clubs contacting the county association to request a replay of their quarter-final.
Melksham manager Dave Clayton said: “I think it’s disgusting.
“I think that it shows just how big the gap is between the administrators and the people that play the game.
“Bradford beat us fair and square and it’s not as if the player wasn’t registered for them or had played for someone else in the competition.
“If this is how it’s going to be then why isn’t the rule the same for league games?
“We’re almost going to have to do it for Bradford when we play Bemerton because it should be them playing.”
Last season, the Wiltshire FA ordered Trowbridge Town to replay a Senior Cup clash with FC Sanford, despite the Swindon-based side fielding an ineligible player in their initial match-up.
Bradford manager Paul Shanley thinks that the current eligibility rules need to be reviewed.
He said: “What’s going to happen if a manager leaves a club and takes four or five players with him? The club will only be able to play people signed on originally and it’ll be a mess.
“We checked that Dave hadn’t played in the competition for anyone else and I don’t agree with the rule.
“What happened with Trowbridge seems like double standards too.
“I’m disappointed for my players but I hope that Melksham go on to win the cup because they’re a good set of people over there.”
Wiltshire FA competitions secretary Sean Brosnan said: “It’s not nice but Bradford being eliminated was the decision that was taken.
“That’s the normal punishment.”