By Chris Wright
Yep, this again. Oldham Athletic winger Lee Croft has categorically denied accusations that he racially abused a Sheffield United ballboy who deliberately attempted to waste time by kicking the ball away when the two sides met in League One on Saturday.
Croft has refuted the allegation, saying: “I’ve run over to get the ball, he’s kicked it away and in my frustration I’ve said ‘what are you doing?’ and had a go. I’ve not said anything to offend the lad, I wouldn’t do that.”
His manager, Paul Dickov, has backed his player:
“I’ve spoken to Lee about it and he categorically denies it. If something has happened then we will deal with it because we won’t put up with it. But Lee Croft has not got that (racist abuse) in his locker.
“I’ve been told a lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon very quickly. The kid himself has said he doesn’t know what was actually said.
“I’m never going to condone anything like that but, knowing Lee as I do, I trust him completely.”
27-year old Croft was seen attempting to reconciliate with the ballboy after the game, offering a handshake as they left the pitch at Bramall Lane, though the young lad was visibly reluctant to reciprocate the gesture.
“[The ballboy] didn’t want to know and pushed my hand away. As far as I’m concerned the matter is finished.
“Why should I be in trouble when all I’ve tried to do is get the game restarted quickly? Can I complain about [the United fans] abusing me all game? I’ve not done anything wrong.”
Both the FA and South Yorkshire Police are now looking into the incident.