Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flood of Criticism Forces Coleman to Issue Apology; Accrington Boss Sticks to Carlisle Match Venue Claim

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flood of Criticism Forces Coleman to Issue Apology; Accrington Boss Sticks to Carlisle Match Venue Claim

Article excerpt

ACCRINGTON boss John Coleman has stood by his criticism of Carlisle being able to play their 'home' games at a neutral venue following the flooding of their ground - but has apologised for any offence his comments caused.

Carlisle's Brunton Park was left under water during the recent flooding in Cumbria, which damaged many residential homes and businesses earlier in December. The Cumbrians' first 'home' game since the flooding was played 85 miles away at Preston's Deepdale - a 3-0 victory against Notts County - and they are scheduled to face Plymouth at Blackburn's Ewood Park on January 2 and then meet Yeovil in the FA Cup at Bloomfield Road in Blackpool eight days later.

Coleman said on Tuesday he was "upset about how the (Football) League's handled the Carlisle affair", citing the fact his Accrington side were being forced to make up their postponed games at a later date and not all teams would have to face the trek up to Cumbria this season.

The Football League responded saying there were "clearly exceptional circumstances" between Accrington's waterlogged pitch and Carlisle's ground and surrounding areas being flooded.

They also said they "wouldn't agree a club gains an advantage in the competition by playing its home matches at a neutral ground."

Coleman clarified his comments in an open letter.

It read: "Firstly can I start by apologising if I have caused any offence with my comments where I criticised the Football League over the handling of Carlisle United's potential fixture crisis.

"The quotes published were just a small snippet of a much longer interview.

"In that interview, my sympathy for the people who have suffered massively from the floods was made abundantly clear.

"My main point over this whole affair is it is now pot luck over whether a team plays Carlisle as an away fixture or on a neutral ground - how can this be fair? "I am not suggesting for one minute t this is favouring Carlisle in the actual game - it clearly favours the opposition, which makes the victory over Notts County even more creditable.

"I appreciate Nottingham Forest were at home on Saturday but surely moving that game to Sunday and reversing the final-day fixture would have been a more viable option. …

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