Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville call on officials to come forward to clear Patterson's name

By Mark McIntosh

Cliftonville have challenged controversial referee Brian Turkington and fourth official Stephen Weatherall to reveal why Eddie Patterson was dismissed during Tuesday night's bad-tempered County Antrim Shield semi-final with Glentoran - just hours after they convinced their boss not to quit.

Reds' boss Patterson had to be talked out of resigning from his job yesterday after a heart-to-heart with the Solitude board but the north Belfast club are demanding answers from the officials as to why Patterson was sent to the stand.

Patterson who was on the bench for the first time after serving a lengthy ban, will now be slapped with an automatic eight-game suspension subject to a request for a hearing, and was therefore ready to throw in the towel.

"Eddie Patterson and our management team are adamant he did nothing wrong but he felt he was harming Cliftonville Football Club if he stayed in charge," said director of team affairs, Gerard Lawlor.

"We are backing our manager 100 per cent and we will appeal this ban.

"Eddie didn't sleep on Tuesday night and he was ready to stand down for the good of this club but we convinced him to stay on and fight to clear his name.

"On other occasions we have told Eddie he has been out of order and he accepts that, but on Tuesday night, we are convinced he was an innocent victim.

"He is the most professional and committed manager I have ever seen at this club but this was no idle threat; he was lower than I've ever seen him.

"We would challenge Brian Turkington and Stephen Weatherall to come forward and tells us all why Eddie was sent off because we don't know at the moment."

Meanwhile, Reds defender Declan O'Hara has apologised to Cliftonville for costing his side a place in the County Antrim Shield final.

O'Hara saw red midway through the first-half after a late challenge on David Scullion. Until that stage, the Shield holders had more than contained the Glens but moments later, Gary Hamilton broke the deadlock and the east Belfast men went on to win 2-1 after Colin Nixon cancelled out Francis Murphy's equaliser from the penalty spot.

For O'Hara, it was certainly a night to forget as he was soon followed down the tunnel by Patterson.

"I saw the Glentoran lad come across me and I do admit my foot was high but both of us when in the same way and I was protecting myself more than anything.

"The challenge was late, I admit that, but there was certainly no intention on my behalf to 'do' him. I'm not that sort of player and I would like to think people realise that.

"All I can do was apologise to my team-mates for letting them down and leaving them in the lurch."

Belfast official Turkington, suffered the wrath of Patterson, on the touchline in his first game back from a lengthy ban. He now faces another disciplinary hearing at the Irish FA.

O'Hara misses Saturday's league game against Armagh City also faces a further two-match ban for violent conduct.

Glentoran could be fined after one moronic 'fan' threw what looked like a cricket or baseball at Patterson as he trudged off the Windsor Park pitch.

Belfast Telegraph


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