Non-league prima donna walks out before debut after being named sub

Posted by - January 27, 2009 - 'Do Are Ya?, Oddballs

Blue-haired player sees red over being benched

A non-league footballer walked out on his club an hour before his first match after hearing he had been named on the bench. Do Are Ya? candidate Jon Gardner packed up his belongings and left the changing room as the Didcot Town’s teamsheet was being handed in after discovering he had not been handed a starting place.

Gardner had only had one training session with the Southern Football League outfit since joining from Brackley Town the previous day. But the player obviously thought he had done enough to merit a start. Manager Stuart Peace (not Pearce) said: “I’ve never seen or heard anything like it in ten years of management. Nobody is guaranteed a starting place here and after just one training session he was only ever likely to start from the bench.

“I’m not sure who he thinks he is, but Jon Gardner has done nothing in the game to come along to Didcot Town and demand a place in the side.”

The player himself saw things a little differently. Gardner said: “He (Peace) spent all day Wednesday badgering me to join and said I would be better off playing for Didcot than sitting on the bench at Brackley.

“But when I turned up on Saturday, he didn’t even speak to me. He spoke privately to all the other players, didn’t even acknowledge I was there – which is very bad when you have a new signing in the changing room – and then named me as a substitute.

“I could not believe that after begging me to join, he didn’t have the decency to at least talk to me. I felt like I had been tricked into joining and wasn’t prepared to take it.”

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