What does a local Sheffield striker have in common with Luis Suarez’s infamous World Cup bite, Paolo Di Canio’s outrageous referee shove and Eric Cantona’s Kung Fu kick?
The frustrated Handsworth Turf Tavern striker is Jordan Turner, who was sent off with a minute to go in a Meadowhall Sunday League game against The Devonshire last December for foul and abusive language after disagreeing with a refereeing decision.
The situation turned when the then 24-year-old took John Reeves’ cards whilst the head official was attempting to caution another player, and threw them -with one hitting the referee on the nose.
“It was wrong and I shouldn’t have done it, but I never meant to hurt him and unfortunately one card scratched John,” Turner said.
“It was a spur of the moment reaction. I never meant to chuck them in the referee’s face - I wasn’t even looking as I walked off the pitch and threw them in a random direction.
“I was foolish and I’m very sorry. I’ve spoken to the referee since and he’s agreed that I didn’t intentionally mean for a card to catch him in the face.
“It was a freak accident.”
Jordan was immediately banned from playing football and attended a disciplinary hearing on January 6.
After analysing all the evidence, including eye witness accounts of the incident and medical evidence of Jordan’s ADHD, the board took just eight minutes to make their decision - a ban of five years.
The labourer, who started playing football when he was seven, said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked and so devastated. It was a complete shock.
“I couldn’t move or say anything. I was told to expect a ban of around 12 games to a year which is fair enough. But their ruling was ridiculous.
“I would have had seven years originally but they took into account my ADHD diagnosis, which can affect my behaviour with occasional unintentional outbursts.
“It’s heartbreaking because I love the game. I don’t understand it, because I didn’t physically assault the referee and I know of players who have done much worse - some have attacked an official and got less. There is no consistency with their bans.
“Look at Luis Suarez biting, and Eric Cantona kicking out. They didn’t anywhere close to my ban. I just don’t understand how this decision has been decided.”
Two weeks later the verdict went to appeal and Jordan was told not to be present, with club secretary Max Ross attending on his behalf.
But in February, the striker received a letter saying he had failed to attend and the ban would not be lifted. So the father of two turned to local UKIP councillor John Booker for help.
“Jordan has done something silly but to be given that ban is total madness,” Booker, the Ecclesfield West ward representative, said.
“The incident has been massively blown out of proportion and it’s extremely harsh for an extremely talented player.
“I contacted John Reeves personally and he said that he was shocked by the decision and it had all got out of hand. The referee explained that he wouldn’t usually have reported an incident like that, but he had to as a mark was on his face.”
Mr Booker asked the FA for a review of the case. But after initial positive correspondence, the national football disciplinary board ruled out a change to the ban - despite a proposal of Jordan helping out in the community.
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“What’s worse about the ban is that Jordan can’t contribute to any team in any form - that rules him out to help key local football projects in the community, coaching and helping youngsters,” added Booker, aged 51.
“I have lots lined up for him like coaching at Sheffield Rangers, helping out in a junior league and helping out in a future project to bring the community together through football.
“We really would have benefited from his skills.
“The FA’s decision is apparently final and it isn’t helping anyone. Here we have the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive and letting Jordan rot for another four years is not helping anyone.”
Since the ban, Turner has suffered financially as well as mentally and emotionally: “Right now it feels like a prison sentence,” he said.
“Playing really helped with my medical condition because it helped focus my mind. But now I feel really flat and down.
“I can’t even contribute to the community with my skills and there isn’t a lot for me now because football was my life. I had even been approached to play in the Evo-Stik league, but any dream of that has been thrown out the window.
“I love the game so much and now I’m just in a slump.”
Mr Booker, who was elected in May, added: “I am hoping that the FA come to their senses and realise that Jordan has suffered enough.”
Turner will be free to return to football in December 2018, when he will be 29.
A spokesman for Sheffield & Hallamshire CFA said: “The County FA has followed all the appropriate procedures and guidleines laid down by the national governing body, The Football Association. Jordan did appeal against the suspension to the FA, and the appeal was dismissed. The case is now closed and as such we are unable to make further comment.”