SHEFFIELD UNITED: Police quiz lane ‘abuse’

Sheffield United v Oldham Athletic'NPower League 1'Lee Croft remonstrates with a ballboy after the game
Sheffield United v Oldham Athletic'NPower League 1'Lee Croft remonstrates with a ballboy after the game

SOUTH Yorkshire Police are to investigate claims that Oldham Athletic midfielder Lee Croft verbally abused a ball boy during Saturday’s League One fixture at Bramall Lane. C

Croft, who denies any wrongdoing, was involved in an altercation with the youngster after Nick Blackman had put Danny Wilson’s side ahead from the penalty spot.

Officers spoke with both parties after the match which finished 1-1 courtesy of Matt Smith’s 97th minute equaliser. However, despite reports to the contrary, United are not conducting their own probe into the affair.

Wilson and United captain Michael Doyle acknowledged they were “unaware” of the matter when questioned afterwards.

Croft, who was confronted by a supporter following the final whistle, protested his innocence. “The ball boy was wasting time and he kicked the ball away when I went for it” he said. “So, in my frustration, I have had a go at him and said something which didn’t go down too well with the fans. I thought that was it but a fan ran on the pitch and told me to apologise to the lad so I did. I felt sorry for him but he didn’t want to know; he pushed my hand away. What do you want the players to do if you are losing the game and the ball boy won’t give you the ball back? We are passionate and want to get back in the game and he kicks the ball away.

“I didn’t use any foul and abusive language. I am just passionate about the game. Maybe I shouldn’t have wound the fans up when we scored by putting my finger to my lips but they had given me stick.”

Oldham said the player has categorically denied any allegation of verbal or racist abuse.” “The club and his team mates are fully supportive of him. The club will not be making further statements in relation to this matter.”

Meanwhile, the winners of Wednesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie between United and Notts County and Meadow Lane will face Coventry City in the Northern Area quarter-finals, week commencing December 3.