Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders 2 Glentoran 0

By Graham Luney

Eddie Patterson switched on the hairdryer at Seaview on Saturday but it wasn’t just directed at his players after the painful defeat at Crusaders.

After watching his side lose their unbeaten record in the league, the Glentoran boss had reason to dish out a few harsh words to his troops.

But after reflecting on a lack-lustre first half performance from his side, Patterson also gave Irish Football Association disciplinary chiefs both barrels.

The former Cliftonville boss is still seeing the red mist over the decision to hit Glentoran’s promising prospect Ryan Newberry with a whopping eight-month ban.

The heavy punishment was handed out following an incident when Newberry was with the Northern Ireland Junior international team at the Uefa Regions Cup in Macedonia.

Glentoran have appealed the suspension, and their anger is being fuelled by what they feel is a burning sense of justice.

The ex-Ards Rangers midfielder needed more than 50 stitches after punching a window during a row with a team-mate in Strumica.

But now it’s Patterson who is trying to keep a lid on his frustration and despite the appeal process being under way, the Oval chief couldn’t resist offering his forthright views on the matter.

“We have put an appeal in because it’s an absolutely farcical decision,” blasted Patterson. “He plays in an international tournament in Macedonia, gets into a bit of trouble, a bit of argy-bargy and he gets an eight-month ban?

“Let’s go back seven years ago to what happened in Prague, the same sort of argy-bargy but Ryan didn’t end up in jail. Players ended up in jail in that incident but there was no IFA decision taken on any domestic bans, although an Irish League player was involved in it.

“I’m asking the question is it because the player plays for Glentoran? I’m asking that question because we have had obstacle after obstacle after obstacle put in our way before the season started.

“We are backing the kid all the way because it was an international tournament and he should be banned for the rest of that tournament or perhaps in Uefa games involving Glentoran. A domestic ban is just a farce.

“I feel for the boy big time, he’s only 22 and his life is football. He just wants to play and he’s a quality player. He was selected for the international side based on his performances for Ards Rangers, not Glentoran.

“There’s all sorts of questions that can be asked and I’m asking what dinosaurs are making this decision? What John Terry was guilty of is much worse. Another player hit a referee in Portugal and got a three-month ban — what is this all about?

“We are still waiting to see what the sanction is? Why eight months? People are throwing the book at us but it’s time they put proper disciplinary procedures in place.”

Newberry was instructed to play for Glentoran II at the weekend but his ban kicks in from today until May 31 unless the appeal can alter the penalty.

The IFA has also instigated proceedings against a second player, David Wright of Bangor, over the incidents in Macedonia.

Newberry did express a concern that this experience could see him walk away from the game but Patterson added: “I have spoken to Ryan and I have told him not to make any hasty decisions until this process is over. I don’t want to see a player quit in these circumstances. He’s a good kid and raw talent. Other clubs were interested in him but he’s from east Belfast and I hope he has a bright future.”

Matters on the pitch were also upsetting Patterson as his side were too slow out of the starting blocks at Seaview and were floored by a Jordan Owens double.

Crues boss Stephen Baxter said: “Our first half performance was stunning and I felt Jordan would be a big threat if we could get the ball into the box. He was unlucky not to get a hat-trick but Elliott (Morris) pulled off a great save.

“Jordan came back this year and wasn’t scoring but I just felt he would score today if we could get him in the right areas. This was the Jordan of two years ago, clever and clinical.”

Belfast Telegraph


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