Belfast Telegraph

Portadown have taken nasty 'kicking', says boss Arkins

By Graham Luney

Defiant Portadown manager Vinny Arkins feels that some individuals within the Northern Ireland football family have an agenda to kick the Shamrock Park club while they are down.

Arkins, who has taken temporary charge of the Ports following Pat McGibbon's resignation, is fuming with the Irish FA Disciplinary Committee's decision to dock his side three points in the Robert Garrett case.

"There's a feeling it's us against the world," said the Ports legend who is adamant that the Irish FA website issued incorrect information relating to the timing of suspensions.

Garrett played and scored in the 3-1 victory over Ards last weekend when he should have served a suspension after collecting five yellow cards.

Ards have now been handed the win on a 3-0 scoreline and move up to seventh in the Danske Bank Premiership, with the Ports now eight points adrift at the foot of the table. The mid-Ulster side were also fined £350.

Ports officials believed the suspension was to commence a week later but the Disciplinary Committee concluded that Portadown “knew or ought to have known the current rules with regard to suspensions”.

But a fuming Arkins said: “Myself and Pat started to feel the world was against us and we probably never stood a chance. You start to believe that other people have an agenda.

“It’s easy to kick a club when they are at the bottom of the league. I’ve felt for a long time that very few people were prepared to help this football club.

“I’ve said to the players we have to move on and regroup but I believe there are people who don’t want to see Portadown get out of this difficult period. Certain people want to punish us and see us go down. It’s up to myself, the players and everyone who cares about the club not to let that happen.

“Just when we are struggling people put their boot on our neck harder and keep pushing.

“I was told Robert Garrett was free to play and the official Irish FA website confirmed it. This issue was raised by me on three separate occasions and each time I was informed that the Irish FA website indicated Robert was not suspended for the Ards game.

“It’s unfortunate for the players as we are a miles better team than when we faced Ards earlier in the season.”

Arkins will need to pick his players up for the trip to Glentoran tomorrow, adding: “I’d been preparing without Robert and now we are looking at a rejig.”

The issue of Garrett’s eligibility was raised by Ards prior to the Premiership game between the sides and formally brought to the attention of the IFA by the Northern Ireland Football League.

Belfast Telegraph

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