Glentoran chairman Terence Brannigan has supported Eddie Patterson’s view that the club is being unfairly punished by the severe ban dished out to Ryan Newberry by the Irish Football Association.
The Glens are appealing the whopping eight-month ban imposed on the club’s reserve team player following an incident while he was on duty with the Northern Ireland Junior international team at the Uefa Regions Cup in Strumica.
If the suspension is upheld, Newberry will be unable to play until May 31 — ruling him out of the rest of the season — and the player told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday that, “I really don’t know if I will ever play football again.”
The 22-year-old needed more than 50 stitches after punching a window during a row with a team-mate after a match in Macedonia in September.
Another player — Bangor’s David Wright — is also believed to be facing a charge of bringing the association into disrepute.
Glens boss Patterson, who along with the club’s vice-chairman Aubry Ralph, joined Newberry at a hearing on Wednesday night, argued: “The incident happened while Ryan was on international duty, so he should be banned from playing in that context.”
Brannigan echoed those sentiments: “As long as disciplinary hearings are consistent in their approach and the punishment handed down then, as one of the leading clubs in the Premier League, we would support a robust approach.
“However, in this instance, the young player was on international duty and, as such, the IFA have a duty of care to the player and a responsibility for him and for his discipline. Therefore, it appears to me that the club is being severely and unduly punished when, in similar circumstances, an international ban would be appropriate.”
Patterson brought Newberry to the Glens in the summer from Ards Rangers and he may even feature for Glentoran II in the Steel & Sons Cup on Saturday as the appeals process is under way.